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How tall do you stand in technique. My Gm has always taught that we keep bent at the knees and low through virtually all techniques. I see so many pictures and video clips where people seem to almost lock their knees when standing and striking and when they execute techniques they are almost completely upright.

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In general I think this is one of the main characteristics that differentiates experienced martial artists. Beginners, even many brown belts or fresh black belts, tend to stand tall, with straight legs. When they have to control someone who is on the ground, they bend over from the waist.


I have a student who is always effusive in his praise toward me - he keeps calling me master and I keep telling him I'm not a master. When I finish a technique he often says, "Look at you, you look perfect!" What he doesn't realize is that all I'm doing is bending my knees, taking a balanced stance, and staying alert.


Of course there are times when you want to rise up, like when you're delivering an uppercut. But in general an experienced martial artist will keep the knees bent. The greater the resistance from the attacker, the lower our center of gravity goes.


Bending the knees protects them from being broken by kicks, helps us maintain our balance, and gives us greater mobility.


I think masters occasionally do demos where they are defending themselves from a very upright, tall posture, because they want it to look very casual, like, "See how easily I defeated this person."

Many times I see these vids of high ranked people who do this. Standing to tall when executing a technique puts the element of strength in your opponents favor.


Every time a student goes to do a technique and they are bent over at the waist I just remind them about their center by pulling them over.

Myself, i try to stay as squatted as possible. Never standing striaght up untill the need to be higher than the opponent like delivering an armbar or a cant on the wrist of someone alot taller than myself.. this is one of the basic essentials we strive for in class.. staying low keeps your center of gravity low, and you always want your lower than the opponents.
Lets not forget that staying low is great for developing power as your spring into strikes, rising up with full pivot and body behind your power strikes.

Choi Dojunim taught a natural stance, and in fact did not really talk at all about "stances" as seen in  many schools.  The idea was to keep the body ready and able to move, so a low posture, or reliance on a stance was inappropriate.  Keeping the knees slightly bent, for mobility, and the body mobile over the hips.  

  If an opponent is subdued, or being directed downward, a the knees are bent deeper at that point.

the op asked "in technique".  A natural stance awaiting your opponent, then drop your center of gravity during the technique is what we are taught. We (our dojang I mean) have probably only 3 techniques that are better performed from a more upright position, in which you getting lower would lessen the pain on your opponent's joint.  Here we bow from the waist slightly, not bend the knees.

I agree with Zack. I teach classical stances for precisely this reason. Beginners get their feet tangled when they begin moving. They find themselves in awkward, uncomfortable, unbalanced stances. So I teach front stance, back stance, horse stance, and movement in all these stances, so that students can apply them in technique.

By design, Hapkido is a natural fighting art that does not require too much reliance on "deep stances" that are impossible to pull off in real life.  I am interested on where this type of "classical" stance work gets its origin, as I have never even seen it emphasized much from the Ji groups, let alone any of Choi Dojunim's students.

Kevin, look at your own profile picture! The master is in a solid horse stance. Perhaps you don't think about such things because they are second nature. But for beginners they are not, and it's helpful to teach them traditional stances that are virtually universal to all martial arts.

No, Grandmaster Lim is walking into a "t-Stance" as I would call it, the only type of stance that we see used by Choi Dojunim other than transitioning to and from "cat" stances.  I deal with beginners DAILY - and I do not need to teach so called "traditional" stances that are not part of the art.  For Korean arts, such as TaeKwondo these types of stances might be universal, but not to Hapkido, beginners or not.

As the "OP" does not specify if fighting or in dojang, I will assume by your response you think that these are the same since you talk about "pain on an opponent's joint"?  Far more relevant than how low one drops is the relationship between the distance from the technique one has the body...the closer the body, the stronger the technique.  Allowing yourself to get too low reduces the ability to move effectively.

Exactly. All to often I see people execute techniques from an almost complete standing position. This forces you to use arm strength and can make it easier for your opponent to counter and get out of the technique. I see this mostly in TKD schools that teach Hapkido.




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