By Iain Abernethy
Throughout the various katas we can see many differing stances being assumed. It is common practise for karateka to spend many hours trying to perfect these stances, which is no easy feat! Gichin Funakoshi (founder of Shotokan) in his book Karate-Do: My Way of Life wrote, "The Horse-riding stance, for instance, looks extremely easy but the fact is that no one could possibly master it even if he practised every day for an entire year until his feet became as heavy as lead." So why do we set ourselves such an arduous task? And what purpose do the stances serve anyway?