Gilad Gilad

Kiba Dachi, horse stance and lessons for entrepreneurs/startups

I recently returned from a Shotokan Karate (SKA) Winter Special Training that was held in Indianapolis. As always, I came back not only with bruises and sore muscles, but also with new insights about Karate and startups (read my earlier post on karate and business management).

Karate special training is held twice a year, one in the winter and the other in the summer. The winter training usually has 8 practices during a short weekend. One of these practices is the Kiba Dachi practice.

Kiba dachi (translation from Japanese – horse stance) practice has one drill and that is standing in the horse stance for 90 minutes. If it this is easy for you, then its a ONLY an hour and a half. The horse stance is exactly as riding a horse stance pose sounds – that is  parallel feet, bent knees and straight back. While there is only one “action” in the practice (get low and stay there) there are many goals and lessons that can be taken from it especially for the Startup world and entrepreneurs.

Leaving the comfortable standing pose and moving into a bent knees position holds a lot of discomfort and uncertainty. It is very much like moving, for example say from an expected monthly income to “I don’t know what is going to be next”.

After a minute you start to feel the quads and calves working. If you are in good shape – after 5 minutes. If you are true to yourself and you’ve bent the knees until the end, then after the first second you would feel those muscles working.

The first sign from the body that something doesn’t make sense shows after 10-15 minutes. This sign usually comes in the form of shaking of your left leg, and 2 seconds later the right leg joins the party. What do you do?

There is a big disruption (and discomfort) that vibrates your life, your body and your mind. The first doubt raises – can I make it till the end? When is the end? Maybe I should just quit and stand up, go back to my comfortable 9-5 job.

This is when you say to yourself, “Start breathing, take control over your body (your startup) and calm down.”

Time passes on -

20 minutes…..

45 minutes…..

The legs continue to shake but you manage to control the body by breathing deep and slow (don’t do rapid and shallow breathing). Then the second wall introduces itself. Pain!!!

The body screams at you, but you are part of your startup, you will not leave, you will not quit just because of inconvenience. Most people run away with their mind to a world of dreams. They are running away from the pain and from reality. In practice and in the business world – you need to be present. Be there!!! Over come the pain, look at your opponent, at your market, and stand to the development challenges and the growth goals.

There are many sporting analogies for the business world. The kiba dachi practice touches four points:

  • Be true to yourself
  • Don’t give up because of inconvenience
  • Control your business – it is all in your mind
  • Stand up to the challenges and pains, don’t paint it pink and mask your eyes with dreams

Gilad Shai

  • Sk

    did you say 90 mins. I think i can barely last 90 seconds. This is unbelievable – kudos to you guys. How many minutes did you last !

  • Gilad

    An hour and half. I can do it, you can do it, every one can do it with the right mind set.
    The only tool the body has to overcome the mind is fainting out.
    So, until you pass out be there!!!

  • Arvind

    nicely put!
    A good kiba dachi stance is a rare thing to see ;)