Zenkutsu Dachi Front Stance 

Zenkutsu Dachi (Front Stance)

The first shotokan karate stance used when practicing basics (kihon) while stepping forward and backwards is zenkutsu dachi (front stance).

This is classed as a basic stance and most people can grasp the basic fundamentals of this stance very quickly, although there are many advanced concepts with this stance later on in your karate practice.

Get into the habit of breaking new karate moves down, they then become much easier to understand the small detail.

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Zenkutsu Dachi (front stance)

1. Weight distribution for front stance is 70% of your weight on your front leg and 30% on the back leg.
2. Feet should be hip width to shoulder width apart and this width will decrease as you advance in your karate.
3. Stance length depends on the length of your legs, but one shoulder width and a half is a good guide to start.
4. Feet should be both facing forward as much as possible.
5. There are two hip positions when first practicing front stance, they are square and side on.
6. Roll the hips up and try not to let your hips stick out.
7. Keep your back straight
8. Try not to lock the back leg straight. Your back knee should be very slightly bent.
9. Your front knee should be heavily bent and you should not be able to see the toes of your front foot.
10. Try not to let the front knee fall inwards, keep it facing forward.
11. If you drop a line down from your front knee it should come down just above the ball of the foot.

Zenkutsu dachi should be practiced consistently, the stance should always be the same length and getting a good front stance is imperative for your future progression in karate.  Whether you are attending a karate dojo, or learning karate at home, I recommend you break all techniques down and repeat again and again. For stances it’s a good idea to hold the position for a minute or two and then change to a different stance and repeat.

Zenkutsu Dachi Front Stance

Linden Huckle

About the author

Linden Huckle has been practicing and teaching karate for over 50 years and believes first and foremost, karateka should enjoy their karate. He says 'there is nothing better than seeing a person develop into a great person through their karate practice, while at the same time enjoying karate.'

Linden Huckle