Zenkutsu Dachi (Front Stance) Stepping
Zenkutsu dachi is one of the first karate stances you will practice. A good strong front stance is essential in your karate practice, as this is where the foundations of your karate begin. Zenkutsu dachi is used by many as a conditioning exercise, obviously, when fighting or in self defense, this stance would not normally be used, but the benefits from training this way should not be understated.
1. The stance should be approximately two shoulder widths long, from back foot to front foot, This varies slightly from person to person and apporximately one hip width.
2. Between 60% and 70% of the body weight should be on the front leg.
3. The two basic body positions, when practicing front stance are Shomen (square) and Hanmi (side facing). The shomen body and hip position is predominately used for oizuki (stepping punch) and gyakuzuki (revese punch), in the earl days of karate practice. The hanmi body and hip position is predominately used for blocking in the early days of a karatekas training. But there are certain strikes with the front arm, that use the side facing position, eg. Kizamizuki (jabbing punch), uraken (back fist), etc.
4. When in zenkutsudachi, keep the chin pulled in, the crown of the head pushing up and the stomache pushing down.
5. Keep the same height when moving forward and backwards.
6. As you step forward or backward, try and move in a straight line. To be able to move in a straight line, you first need to be in a stance that is not too wide. Shoulder width is more than sufficient. Ideally between hip width and shouldre width.
7. When stepping forward, start the movement by pushing the front knee forward, then everything else comes into play, ie, legs, hips and upper body.
8. When stepping backward, start the movement by bending the back knee as you start to move back, then everything else comes into play, ie, legs, hips and upper body.
9. When stepping backwards or forwards, DO NOT rely on the body weight alone, to drive you, use your legs to push yourself forward and back.
10. If stepping forward with the right leg, once you are at the halfy way point with the knees together, drive off from the floor with the left leg.
11. The same applies when stepping backwards. If you are stepping back with the right leg, once you are at the halfy way point with the knees together, drive off from the floor with the left leg