Karate Stances – Japanese Terms

“Dachi” or “Tachi” means stance in Japanese, and describes primarily the position of the feet in various Karate stances.¬†Stances are very important in delivering power and also quick responses in various situations¬†and are thus emphasis in Kihon (basic training). Strong stances can give a smaller person a significant advantage over a larger attacker.

Stances – Dachi

Bensoku dachiTurning cross leg stance
Fudo dachiFree stance
Hachiji dachiNatural stance (feet shoulder width apart toes slightly pointed out)
Han zenkutsu dachiHalf front stance (Short Zenkutsu dachi)
Hachiji dachiNatural stance (feet shoulder width apart toes slightly pointed out)
Heiko dachiParallel stance (feet shoulder width apart)
Heisoku dachiClosed foot stance (feet together)
Kiba dachiHorse riding stance (feet parallel)
Kokutsu dachiBack stance
Musubi dachiFormal attention stance (feet together)
Neko ashi dachiCat stance
Renoji dachiThe letter L stance
Sanchin dachiHourglass stance
Sesan dachiSide facing straddle stance
Shiko dachiStraddle leg stance (horse stance feet at 45 degrees)
Zenkutsu dachiFront stance


Fighting Postures – Kamae

The fighting postures (Kamae, sometimes also “Kame”) include the position of the arms and legs as well as the body angle and center of gravity. For example, Gedan No Kame is a
lower level fighting posture, with the legs in Shiko Dachi (thus the centre of gravity quite low), body angled at 45 (or even 90 degrees) and the arms
ready to respond to lower and middle level attacks.

Gedan no kamaeLower level fighting posture
Chudan no kamaeMiddle level fighting posture
Hanmi no kamaeHalf forward facing fighting posture
Jodan no kamaeUpper level fighting posture
KameFighting posture
Morote no kamaeAugmented hand fighting posture
Shizen dachi no kamaeNatural fighting posture