fifty-fifty stance

I train for short periods with the following methodology. I watch each lesson and pick a particular teaching and drill. For example I learn a particular movement trying building it from previous acquired understanding. I go back frequently to previous lessons. Sometimes I feel that the correct feeling is achieved for very short periods. For example recently I had a glimpse of the importance of the forty degrees of the rear leg in the fifty-fifty stance.


sifu kelley's picture

If you get a moment maybe you could share a bit more on your new understanding of the stance and how this fits with your previous practice. Other students may find it useful. Thanks!

A wider angle of the rear leg compromises hip, knee and big toe alignment and freedom of movement. The pivot function of the joint is compromised as well.



In my youth I practiced karate shotokai and simultaneously aikido.

In my early twenties I discovered tai chi chuan and the Cheng Man Ch’ing form. The form was taught to me by a student of Master Don Ahn (who happened to be a ballet dancer – the form was simply wonderful to watch in its exactness). I felt great to practice it. My practice was frequently interrupted mainly because of professional duties.

Many years later I tried Chen style for a short while which was like a cool breeze in hot summer but soon I returned to what I felt more familiar with.

My belief was that in the bow-arrow stance the rear leg had to be positioned at a 45 degree angle. A narrow angle to me was a conundrum until I had discovered de importance of this subtlety which is in accordance with the eighth of theThirteen Points to Unify the Body




Why a 40 degree of the rear foot instead of a 45 degree?

I must correct the above posts on fifty-fifty stance. I have written these words and had almost post it a few days ago. Last Sunday class made me reflect I was not being fair with what’s being taught and learned for more than thirty weeks by now and for sure I would change my words, at least, the way I exposed it, however I maintained it unchanged except for the notes in brackets.

1 – A 45 angle compromises stepping – feet merely touching the floor. With a front foot at 5 degree and the back foot at a 40 degree, I mean the possibility of moving forward/backward swiftly engaging with an opponent in a realistic way (here I would grab on what’s been taught and, within my comprehension, say that – amongst other features - fifty-fifty stance easily “brings” readiness).

2 - The seventh, instead of the eighth, of the 13 points is naturally acquired: Qua – maintain the energy in the centers of hip joints. The eighth point – drop shoulders over hips - I think may be not so much compromised with a rear foot at a 45 degree.

3 – Nine solid and one empty on feet, knee pointing to the big toe and the wrapping “are there” simply by loosening our body and harmonizing it with gravity force. (I'll grab again on the “built framework” here at Chi Factory and leave a thought on the one – maintaining the yang - and the eight of the nine solid and one empty on feet)

I could continue to enumerate structural advantages (compared with the traditional tai chi rear foot at least to a 45 angle - exception to the Wu style with its inclined forward stance) of this 40 degree angle of the rear foot and the 5 degree of the front foot from the bottom of the feet to the top of the crown of the head but I’ll simply finish with a thought related to the absorbing and projecting qualities on this fifty-fifty stance (and for that matter - expand, condense, open and close).


sifu kelley's picture

Good for you!