The Five Fundamental Shaolin Stances

The Five Fundamental Stances are the key to unlocking the Shaolin forms. If you can master these five stances then it will make it much easier for you to master any Shaolin Qigong and Kung Fu form. This month I focus on Mabu or Horse Stance as it is known in the West.

Ma Bu - Horse Stance
It could be argued that Mabu is the most important Shaolin stance. This stance is used in nearly every single Shaolin form. The only DVD of mine that it doesn't appear in is The Way of Qigong Volume 2, and that's because the form is a sitting one.


Acts as a gateway between internal and external forms.
Invigorates the body.
Strengthens the legs.
Strengthens the spine.
Is the key to unlocking the Shaolin forms.
Increases willpower.
Centers and grounds the mind and body.

Step by Step

1) Step your left leg out to the side so your feet are wider than your shoulders and slowly squat into Ma Bu.
2) Grab the floor with your feet and place your hands in front of your chest in prayer position.
3) Remain here for six breaths.

Check list

It's a good idea to check your stance in the mirror.
Is your behind tucked in?
Is your neck tucked in and are your shoulders relaxed?
Are you knees slightly pushed out so they are over your knees?
Are your eyes strong?
Is your centre of gravity in the middle?
Are you gently grabbing the floor with your feet. 
Don't tip the body but keep it straight.


If you have knee or back problems then you need to keep your stance high. If you find the stance is aggravating the problem then you need to stop. There should be no pain when you do this stance.

How to deepen your horse stance

Make your stance lower and increase the time you stay in the stance a little more every day. Don't allow yourself to rise higher. Even though you are not moving you will start to sweat. We call this static stamina. 


It's a good idea for Qigong and Kung Fu students to spend some time working on this stance in the same way that yoga students spend time working on their poses. Our body's tend to be lazy and want to find an easy way out but regular check ups will keep us on the right path. It's also easier to feel the Qi in the Dantian when we do Ma Bu which is why even a few minutes of doing this stance will help us to feel grounded and energised. 

Want to learn more?

I teach all of the Five Fundamental Shaolin Stances in my book Instant Health: The Shaolin Qigong Workout For Longevity and in my DVDs: Shaolin Workout 1 and Rou Quan.

Popular posts from this blog

What is Shaolin Kung Fu?

natural movement

the heights of hair