Stance. An attitude or position of the body.
Readiness. Level of preparation.
Stances are perhaps the most boring topic for Krav Maga students. I have yet to witness a fist pump and a “yes!” after announcing we are covering stances in a class. Someday. So, when a student asked me to write a blog on this topic I hesitated. Writing the blog, however, helped me clarify why we teach different stances. I hope it does the same for you.
In our curriculum, we teach three basic stances: Unprepared, ready, and fighting. This can be a challenge for students from combat systems like boxing, MMA, Muay Thai (all excellent systems) where they train from a fighting stance, a state of readiness where they know they are going to fight.
Self-defense is different. We do teach fighting stances because there are times when you are ready. Many assaults, however, occur when the target isn’t prepared. Attacks from behind, for instance.
The three stances are based on the various states of readiness.
Unprepared Stance. You are standing with no anticipation of a possible assault. Many assailants (like predators in the wild) prefer the element of surprise. From this position, we are very likely to perform a reflexive defense before we realize what is happening. (For examples of reflexive defense visit our YouTube channel.) As previously mentioned, attacks from behind (bear hugs, headlocks, knife threats etc…) happen when we are unprepared.
Ready Stance. Here we are prepared but the assault hasn’t happened and might not happen. Perhaps, the other person is yelling or getting too close. Our hands are up in a non-aggressive manner that might help deescalate a situation and puts you in a better position to block, deflect or strike if necessary.
Fighting Stance. Now, the fight is on. The assailant has attacked or made it clear that he will. You are in a fight.
Our stances reflect our various stares of preparedness. We don’t walk around during our daily lives in a fighting stance. That would be exhausting and make it very difficult to climb stairs, ride bicycles and make friends. You would, however, likely get a seat on the subway or bus.
Our job is to prepare you for real-life assaults. This includes teaching you how to defend from various states of preparedness. Hence, the different stances.