To date, all the stances you have learnt have been Long forward stance (zenkutsu dachi), Horse-riding stance (kiba dachi) and Sumo stance (shiko dachi). Each of these have been long, deep, well grounded stances. These long stances teach a student the importance of being well grounded and well-balanced during combat. Also considering most of a strike’s power comes from the stance, it ensures a beginner students gets the maximum power from their strikes.
You have likely heard the theory that most fights (in real life) end up on the ground? While this is not entirely true, where it does occur its predominantly because neither of the two combatants had any clue about the importance of stances in combat. Had one of them been in a strong, well balanced (and yet still highly mobile) stance this would rarely occur.
Now you have reached Orange belt and you have a grasp on the longer stances, you will be introduced to more advanced stances, two of these being shorter stances (Pigeon toe stance -Sanchin dachi and Cat Stance – neko ashi dachi). While these stances are shorter, they still provide a fair amount of stability, balance and strength for the student who has developed a sound ability in each of the previous stances (zenkutsu dachi etc). Their strengths however are their mobility.
You will also be introduced to Back leaning stance (kokutsu dachi), another deep, well grounded stance that has a different weight distribution.
Before we get into the details of the stances introduced at Orange belt it’s worth noting that karate uses many different stances. These stances differ in length, width, depth and weight distribution. Some focus more on mobility than stability and others the complete opposite.
Because of these differences, each stance has different strengths and weaknesses making them appropriate for different situations that can arise in self-defence.
Regardless of the stance, all stances should have a good balance between mobility and solidity. Mobility is when one can launch their body quickly through space. Solidity is when one can grip the ground with their feet.
When moving through in stances, the goal of the student is to use the Japanese principles of Ikimi and Itsoku. During the process of moving through in stance, Ikimi (the principle of being light and relaxed) is required. The moment one lands in stance, Itsoku (the principle of being stuck to the ground) is required. This means we may move with speed and land with strength and power. Students often get these mixed up, being too stiff during their movement (too much itsoku while moving) and then fail to land in a perfect stance the moment their foot hits the ground (too much ikimi once landed).