The Universal Fight Stance

[This is an archived post from Mad Science Defense, currently on indefinite hiatus, and may not reflect the usual tone and content of Author J.R. White and/or the Storyteller at Large Blog. If you have arrived here via links from a website elsewhere in the tactical and combatives training community, we wish you the best in your skill development journey.]


The Universal Fight Stance

Many stances in martial arts are derived from sports. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, because competition hones the stance to perfection. The best stance wins, but the only the stance best suited for the rules of that particular contest. In fact, the wide array of stances in martial arts is a direct result of the large array of rules under which competition is conducted.

The Greco-Roman wrestler’s stance keeps the arms very tight against the sides because he has to worry more about his opponent getting an underhook than about punches to the face. The boxer’s stance holds his center of gravity higher than a wrestler’s because he doesn’t have to worry about someone shooting underneath it to take him down. Some traditional martial arts hold the hands closer to the waist because punching to the head is not legal in their contests. As I’ve noted before, Context matters.

A good fighting stance for the real world needs to have three things:


Your stance must allow you to move easily, allowing you to dodge in all directions, evade strikes, counter attack and flee as necessary. A stance that allows you to load the legs for rapid movement will also allow you to generate more powerful strikes. Violence happens fast, so you’d better be able to move.


During a fight you will have to withstand force being applied against you. You need the ability to absorb impact, stifle takedowns and manage the recoil of your firearm without losing your balance. (And, yes, there will always be a trade-off between mobility and stability.)


The stance needs to flow as seamlessly as possible from a non-violent posture into the various self-defense options without causing sudden changes in posture and balance. It should also not send an obvious “I’m about to kick some ass” signal to a potential aggressor, as this may unnecessarily escalate the encounter.

Fighting is an athletic endeavor, and it doesn’t matter if you’re fighting with a gun, knife, bare knuckles or a pointed stick, you need an athletic stance. So which stance is best for fighting to defend our lives? I think the Universal Fight Stance is a good choice.

Check out the video below, and remember to share your thoughts. (And to see one of Chris Beeby’s fights follow this link:

Until Next Time!

Justin White

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