Why does Lotus use Different Fighting Stances?




In Lotus Self-Defense you will notice that the stances we use in our self-defense techniques often differ from the stances we use when sparring. This apparent disconnect between the different parts of our style can be confusing for the beginning student.

To help in understanding, consider that Lotus Self-Defense is a style that uses concepts from many different arts. Since it originated in Thailand, Muay Thai is an obvious component. Other important concepts come from Kajukenbo, Judo, Aikido and Tang Soo Do.

When we spar you will see the fighting stances used in Thai Boxing. Sparring is done from kicking range. The feet are closer together for mobility-what you typically see from boxers. Muay Thai uses the high guard, holding the arms and hands high up in front of the head to protect the neck from high Thai round kicks that have killed more than one fighter in the ring. This type of guard leaves the trunk exposed and we train to exploit this apparent problem. We learn what I call “independent suspension” of the arms. This means that each arm is held in a relaxed manner while in this guard position allowing for quick downward elbow strikes with either arm to incoming kicks and punches. The other arm stays in position to guard the head. We frequently sandwich kicks throw at our mid-section between our rising front knee and a rapidly executed downward elbow strike. This use of the knee is a trade mark of Muay Thai. (See Oct 2006 issue of Black Belt Magazine. 7 Defensive Moves of Thai Boxing by Daniel C. Docto.) Lotus students are only too familiar with the pain that this type of “block” produces.

Lotus techniques use powerful Muay Thai skills and their mobile stances as to punish an attacker and as protection while closing the gap from sparring range to grappling range where the opponent can be disabled. These more mobile stances allow faster kicking, as well.

However, since not all assaults start with a flurry of kicks and punches, a person needs tools to deal with attacks initiated from grappling range. Wrist grabs, lapel grabs, bear hugs and the like.

Many of the 100 self-defense techniques of Lotus use more “traditional” karate stances for just this purpose. These stances find their roots in Kajukenbo and Tang Soo Do. Some self-defense situations require strong stability; “rooting”, as some styles call it. If defending on a slippery surface, just being able to remain upright may make all the difference. These stances can also be used to up-root an opponent and are one of the main reasons they are found in the traditional martial arts where they are employed from grappling range.

Lotus Self-Defense has a tool kit that includes tools for close-in use and tools that are used at long-range. This is why you see a variety of stances. There is no disconnect here, rather, a choice of which stance is better suited for use in which type of self-defense situation.

Written by Tim Hollembaek