Basically there are three postures widely used in karate. The front-facing posture is mainly used in attack and the shoulders are at ninety degrees to the line of attack. The half-front-facing posture is mainly used in defence and the shoulders are at forty-five degrees to the opponent's line of attack. The side-facing posture, in which the shoulders are in line with or parallel with the line of attack, is used both in attack and defence.
With all three postures the upper half of the body will normally be straight and perpendicular to the ground, otherwise the balance will be endangered and the correct performance of most techniques difficult if not impossible. Naturally, the rare occasion does arise which calls for a non-perpendicular posture.
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