Saturday, 1 May 2010

The Empty Stance

Finally, may I present the last stance in the series, at least for now. Just to recap, there are 5 basic stances in wushu (aka kung fu).

  • Horse Stance
  • Bow Stance
  • Resting Stance
  • Drop Stance (Flat Stance)
  • Empty Stance (Cat Stance)

The Most Difficult of the 5 Basic Wushu Stances

The empty stance, otherwise known as the cat stance can be found throughout many Chinese martial art styles, and therefore comes in several styles. Because the bending leg is carrying all the weight upon it, and the thigh is parallel to the ground, the calf and thigh muscles work extremely hard to keep you static. Tye “Nuke” Botting of's TFK Martial Arts Forum commented that 'it should be the hardest [stance] to hold for any length of time, or indeed even to get to at first.' This is especially true if you do the stance the way it's executed by wushu competitors as I will describe below.

Method to Achieving the Empty Stance

  • Start with feet shoulder width apart.
  • Turn your right foot out at about 45ยบ.
  • Bend the right leg so that the right thigh is horizontal/parallel to the ground (or at least as close as you can get it to be parallel).
  • Place the front your left foot forward lightly on the ground so that it is in line with your right heel. The left foot should not be flat on the floor.
  • If you do the stance correctly, you'll be able to lift you the right leg off the floor without falling over.

Additional Notes About the Empty Stance and Stance Training in General

There are two schools of thought when it comes to training, and it's not just with stances. You can first try to build endurance, then add speed or strength. Alternatively, you can build strength and then work on endurance. I favour the second school as does Tye “Nuke” Botting who made a valuable note:

'That is, do the stance as exactly correct as possible, then try to do it longer and longer....At first, like with the cat stance, this may only be for even a fraction of a second....Doing it right and then longer is much better than doing it longer and then working to be more right.'


Correcting Problems with the Empty Stance
Practice and Application of Wushu Stances
Choy lay fut and Stance Training - Flexibility & Applications
The Empty Stance Deep Form

As usual, feel free to leave a comment or contact me through


Gemma aka AnonymousJ

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