Taekwondo Stances

서기 · Seogi

An essential component of any movement is how one stands. Different stances have different advantages.

In this article, the units in which stances are measured is one shoulders’ width.

Attention Stance, 차렷 서기 (Charyeot Seogi)

The attention stance is not used for fighting; it’s used only ceremonially when bowing to instructors or other students. Though similar, it is distinct from two stances which are used for fighting: the closed stance and the vertical stance.

With this stance, the back of the feet should be positioned together, and the front slightly apart.

Attention Stance

Parallel Stance, 나란히 서기 (Naranhi Seogi)

The parallel stance is used in preparation for patterns or other sequences of moves, and sometimes in transitions.

The weight distribution is even, and the feet should be one shoulder’s width apart.

Parallel Stance

Walking Stance, 걷는 서기 (Geonneun Seogi)

The walking stance is one of the basic combat stances. It can be used both offensively and defensively, as it is a strong stance, but it is also slow to move out of and so is not often used when kicking.

The stance is between two and two and a half shoulder’s width long, and one and a half wide. The outer side of the forward foot points straight forward, and the back foot points along the diagonal. The front knee should be bent so that the knee joint is directly above the heel of the foot. The back knee should be almost straight.

Walking Stance

The analogue of this stance in Taegeuk Taekwondo is called the 'forward stance', 'front stance' or 'long stance'.

Sitting Stance, 앉는 서기 (Anneun Seogi)

The sitting stance is another basic stance, which can, like the walking stance, be used both offensively and defensively. It is a strong stance, particularly from the side, but again it is difficult to use when transition, particularly when moving forwards. Most transitions into and out of the sitting stance step sideways.

The stance is two shoulder’s width wide, and the weight distribution is even. The knees should be bent, so as to lower the centre of mass and improve balance. The outer sides of the feet should point forwards, not the inner sides.

Sitting Stance

The analogue of this stance in Taegeuk Taekwondo is also called the 'sitting stance'.

'L' Stance, 니은자 서기 (Nieunja Seogi)

The ‘l’ stance is one of the basic stances which is useful for defensive movements. The alignment of the body is more towards the side than in other basic stances, giving a defensive advantage. However, unlike the other basic stances, it is quick to transition from and to, so it is also useful for fast offensive movements, such as kicks. It is least useful for many offensive strikes and punches, because less power can be directed through to the arms than with a larger stance.

The back foot points sideways and the front foot forward. The stance is one and a half shoulder’s width long and one shoulder’s width wide. Both knees are bent, but the back knee more so, because the weight distribution should be seventy percent onto the back leg, and thirty percent onto the front.

'L' Stance

The analogue of this stance in Taegeuk Taekwondo is called the 'back stance'.

Closed Stance, 모아 서기 (Moa Seogi)

The closed stance is sometimes used for fighting and othertimes used for ceremonial purposes such as the start of patterns, as in Wonhyo, Junggeun and Toigye. Because the feet are close together it can be used to transition between movements.

The feet are placed right next to each other, and you should stand straight.

Closed Stance

The analogue of this stance in Taegeuk Taekwondo is also called the 'closed stance'.

Fixed Stance, 고정 서기 (Gojeong Seogi)

The fixed stance is a stronger variation of the ‘l’ stance. Its width is the same, but its weight distribution is even and the forward foot is further forward. This makes it difficult to unbalance, and gives the user a sideways posture, making the stance good for sideways offensive and defensive techniques. Like many low centre of mass stances, it is not so useful for kicking, but the sideways posture makes kicks involving turning more appropriate. This stance allows you to maintain a sideways posture whilst moving forwards, combining many good features of the walking and sitting stances, though it is not useful for reverse techniques.

The stance is one shoulder’s width wide and two long. The weight distribution is even and the feet point perpendicularly, along the line of motion and to the side.

Fixed Stance

There is no analogue of this stance in Taegeuk Taekwondo.

Bending Stance, 구부려 서기 (Guburyeo Seogi)

The bending stance is used to defend against low-section attacks whilst at the same time preparing for a kicking technique. It is used in patterns such as Wonhyo and Yulgok.

The back foot points sideways and the forward foot is level with the right knee, with the sole of the foot facing the knee and the foot pointing horizontally. The forward leg is bent at the knee, which angles to the diagonal.

Bending Stance

The analogue of this stance in Taegeuk Taekwondo is called the Crane Stance.

Vertical Stance, 수직 서기 (Sujik Seogi)

The vertical stance is similar to the closed and rear-foot stances. It is used for gaining height, and so is often used with downward techniques such as downward blade-hand strike as in pattern Hwarang. Because the feet are close together it is excellent for use in transition between two other movements.

There are two variations, which are used in the same way. Whichever variation is used seems to be a matter of personal preference

Variation 1

The first variation is similar to the closed stance and the attention stance, but the feet angle outwards further. The back of the feet are together, and the front of the feet point outwards.

Vertical Stance
Variation 2

The second variation is similar to the first but with one foot moved forward slightly.

Vertical Stance

'X' Stance, 교차 서기 (Gyocha Seogi)

The ‘x’ stance is dissimilar to most other stances. It has two significant variations, both of which cross the feet over in some way. Variation one is used for landing distance or height jumps, such as in patterns Yulgok and Toigye. Though variation two is used for stepping sideways in a defensive position, such as in pattern Po-eun.

Variation 1

The forward foot points outwards from the forward line, and the back foot is behind it on the ball of the foot. Both knees are bent and the back knee leans into the front knee. The weight distribution is mostly on the forward leg. In jumping, the forward leg of this stance is the leg that moves first.

'X' Stance
Variation 2

The back foot supports most of the weight, and the other leg passes in front, and is on the ball of the foot.

'X' Stance

The analogue of this stance in Taegeuk Taekwondo is called the 'cross stance'.

Rear-Foot Stance, 뒷발 서기 (Dwitbal Seogi)

The rear foot stance is similar to many close-foot stances in that it gives height to the practitioner, and so could be used for downward or upward movements effectively. The rear foot stance though, puts much of the weight on one foot, making it useful for stepping transitions or quick kicking. The rear-foot stance is used in combination with kicking in patterns such as Junggeun.

The feet point perpendicularly to each other. The front foot is raised onto the ball of the foot, and the back foot is flat on the ground. The front knee is bent and the back knee is slightly bent. The distance between the front and back feet, if the front foot were flat, should be about the width of a fist.

Rear Foot Stance

The analogue of this stance in Taegeuk Taekwondo is called the 'tiger stance'.

Low Stance, 낮춰 서기 (natchwo seogi)

The low stance is very similar to the walking stance, but is designed to give the practitioner additional distance in the stance, or to block a low technique as in pattern Junggeun. Because of their similarity, walking and low stances will often be used in combinations, such as in pattern Gwanggae.

The stance is two and a half to three shoulder’s width long, and one and a half wide.

Low Stance

One Leg Stance, 외발 서기 (oebal seogi)

The one leg stance is very similar to the bending stance. The difference is that the one leg stance is designed for looking forwards, whereas the bending stance looks sideways.

One Leg Stance

Oblique Stance, 사선 서기 (saseon seogi)

Also called: Diagonal Stance, 대각선 서기 (daegakseon seogi)

The oblique stance is similar to the sitting stance, except one foot is moved slightly forward.

Korean Date

The date today is,

4350 년 3 월 30 일 (4350, Month 3 Day 30) (25 May 2017 CE)

This is the date according to the traditional lunisolar calendar of Korea. (Note that this is not an authoritative calculation; I’m still working on the details.) The years count back to the legendary founding of Korea by 단군 왕검 (Dan-gun Wanggeom).