Deconstructing Taekwon-Do

Taekwon-Do’s Parallel Ready Stance

Taekwon-Do parallel ready stance

The parallel ready stance is used to begin most patterns as well as many other exercises in Taekwon-Do.

The outsides of your feet should be one shoulder width apart and your toes should point straight forward.

Taekwon-Do parallel ready stance - feet

Bring your fists in front of your abdomen in a natural motion (in other words, without any sort of snap to the movement). Your fists should be about 5 cm (2”) away from each other, and about 7 cm (almost 3”) away from your abdomen.

Taekwon-Do parallel ready stance - hands

Keep your shoulders relaxed. Your elbows should be roughly 10 cm (4”) away from the sides of your body. This distance can be adjusted slightly so the stance looks natural for your body. The way your arms hang should feel fairly natural; it shouldn’t feel like you’re sticking your elbows way out to the sides like you’re flexing your muscles or about to do the chicken dance.

If you want to get really technical about it, General Choi even prescribed angles for the placement of your arms (or course he did). If you start with your arms hanging by your sides:

  • Move your arms forward 30 degrees
  • Bend your elbows upward 40 degrees

Taekwon-Do parallel ready stance - arm angles

That’s it. It’s a pretty simple stance that doesn’t get a lot of attention. But now that we know how to stand properly to begin our patterns, I think we’re ready to move on to some real techniques.