How to Do Horse Stance in a Real Fight

The horse stance is a source of much confusion in the martial arts world. Everyone seems to have a different idea about how to do a “proper” horse stance.

Unfortunately, most of these ideas only view this position as an exercise and not a fighting technique… which is a huge mistake!

In this video, I share a different view. You can watch or read below. Mount up! 🙂

How to Do a Horse Stance in a Real Fight

The question has been around forever. “How do you do a proper horse stance?”

But that’s the wrong question! The correct question is, “WHY are you doing a horse stance?”

Good question!

Some people say horse stance is just a conditioning drill. Some say you would never drop down and hold such a low stance in a real fight.

No kidding! Guess what? You shouldn’t hold ANY stance in a real fight!

No matter what you do, if you stand still in a real fight, you’re going to get smeared on the pavement like cream cheese on a bagel. So, here’s a rule—

You should always move THROUGH a stance, not TO a stance.

If you look at a horse stance as a transition, not a position, then you’ll find yourself in a horse stance all the time. After all, a horse stance is just a moment in time when you spread your weight out evenly over both legs.

That’s it! There’s nothing magical or fancy about it. You’re in a horse stance when…

  • You drop down to hip throw somebody.
  • You duck under for a double leg takedown.
  • You stand up to break someone’s closed guard.
  • You break someone’s arm over your leg.

It’s everywhere! The only trick is to recognize it. But be careful, because this low stance is a horse of many colors. You will find yourself doing it in different ways.

Horse Stance Hip Throw

Hips back horse stance

For instance, in a hip throw, you probably stick your hips back. But when you’re standing over a fallen foe, you probably keep your hips straight.

So, back to the original question: “How do you do a proper horse stance?” Should your hips be back, straight, or in?

Horse Stance Arm Break

Hips straight horse stance

Well, now you know—there’s more than one way to use a horse stance, which means there is more than one way to do a horse stance, which means there is no such thing as the one, proper way to do a horse stance!

Which means you should be practicing all off them! Try this…

Horse Stance Drill

Holding a horse stance for 5 or 10 minutes is impressive—but that’s not really a fighting skill! Instead, try dropping into a horse stance and moving it around.

Slide your hips back and forward. Move through your cat and front stances. I would even add a shuffle. In short, move around like you’re in a real fight.

The goal is to be flexible and mobile in a low position instead of frozen. If you can do that, then you’ll be ready for anything. For more tips on flexibility in the martial arts, click here.

If you’re still asking how low to go, how wide to stand, or where to put your knees and feet, remember—

Ask why first, how second.

Let your brain tell you what to do and your body tell you how. That’s the secret to horse stance. And everything else!