8 Basic Stances

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Shaolin Chuan


8 Basic Stances



8 Basic Stances

The 8 Basic Stances of Shaolin comprise the fundamentals for all systems of Chinese Martial Arts.  Here you will learn 8 forms which represent each stance.  The purpose of the form is to train you in the STANCE even though there are hand movements to accompany the stance.  Without proper stance training, your forms and self defense will suffer and be deficient.  However, with proper stance training, you will build a strong root which will lead to power, speed, and coordination. 

The 8 Basic Stances of Shaolin are:

Each Stance does have variation of the stance, but the root of the stance is in the orginal form of the stance. The beginning or starting position for all Shaolin is Ready Position & Ready Stance.  This is also were all of the forms finish too. 


  2. Description:  Ready Position - Heels together toes turned out 45 degrees, legs straight - back straight - hands at sides, forming Willow Leaf Palm. Ready Stance - The first movement of all stances is to remain standing in the ready position, fist both palms, then draw them up to the top of the hip, fist heel touching hip.

  3. NOTE: ALL Open Palms are Willow Leaf or Shaolin Palms. 



Horse Stance

  1. Horse Stance ~ Ma Bu ~ 50/50 Weight Distribution

  2. Description:  Start from Ready Position/Ready Stance.

    The left foot steps left, toe's first and two shoulder widths apart, the right toes turn in so the feet are  parallel.  Then, the right fist straight punches to shoulder height, fist eye up.  Then repeat the other side, the left fist straight punches to shoulder height, fist eye up, as the right fist pulls to waist.   Be sure to turn the waist, but the hips do not turn. If you see knee movement, this indicates hip movement. Repeat 1,000 times.  After you do punches, repeat the stance with Shaolin or Willow Leaf Palm Strikes, Willow Leaf Arm Clears, and Opening and Closing the fingers.  


Bow & Arrow Stance

  1. Bow & Arrow Stance ~ Mountain Climbing Stance ~  Gong Jian Bu ~ 80/20 Weight Distribution

  2. Description: Start from Ready Position/Ready Stance.

    Step forward with your left foot to twice your shoulder width.  As you step, the left fist comes out as if you were going to upper cut.  As you finish your forward step,  the left fist rotates out and turns into a temple block as the right hand punches straight out at shoulder level, fist heart down.  

    To repeat, step you front foot back and bring both hands to your side to ready position and repeat the opposite side.

  3. Note:  Be sure your heels line up.  If you were to draw a straight line on the floor, the front foot would line up with the rear heel.  Also be sure not to left the rear heel as you step forward.     


Hands Only

Feet Only

Rooster Stance

  1. Rooster Stance ~ Jin Ji Du Li Bu ~ 100/0 Weight Distribution

  2. Description: Start from Ready Position/Ready Stance.

    Drop both fists to the side, hearts facing forward, and circle the arms up to a 45° angle. Then, at the same time, bring the left fist to a temple block, sweep the left leg up to a Rooster Stance, and punch the right fist to the left knee.  Be sure your toes point straight down and your left thigh is across the front of the body. Next drop fists and your leg and circle the the hands back up to 45° and reverse the sides. 

  3. Note: Hold the Rooster for a moment to develop balance and stability while standing on one leg.  

  4. Variations:  Low, Sunken, or Lazy Rooster.


Tai Chi Stance

  1. Tai Chi Stance ~ Tai Ji Stance ~ 100/0 Weight Distribution

  2. Description:  Start from Ready Position/Ready Stance.

    First, open the right fist into a Shaolin Palm and thrust the hand across the waist to the left, continue the right palm circling up into a temple block position on the left side of the body.  Together, Step out with the left heel (put no weight on it), pull the right pull into a left temple block as you close the hand and make a fist, and palm strike with the left hand straight out from the waist, with the fingers pointing to the left and your palm facing up.  To repeat, take a half step forward with the left foot turned out, circle the fist to the waist, and circle the left palm across to the right and reverse the directions.  

  3. Note:  Make sure there is no weight on the front foot when the heel is on the ground.  You should do this exercise forward and backward.   


Hands Only



Feet Only