Though there are several stances named Crane or Sagi Ashi Dachi, the one shown on these pages is the Crane Stance attributed to martial arts of Japanese origin. Like the animal from where it takes its name, the crane stance focuses on the ability of the student to keep balance while on one foot. This stance is primarily used in the execution of the side kick.
The important point to remember concerning the Crane stance is that it is necessary to bend the supporting leg at the knee both for balance within the posture and for fluid execution of the follow up technique. If the knee of the supporting leg is locked then it is very easy for the student to lose balance, this provides an opportunity for attack by the opponent. Also, if the knee is locked it is virtually impossible to execute any follow up techniques, this renders the stance useless.
When executing the side kick from the Crane stance it is often combined with a simultaneous back fist strike. That is, as contact is made with the side kick to the opponent, the opponent will fall forward toward the student giving an opportunity to strike the opponent in the head with a back fist.
Lastly, there are two variations off this basic stance. The first is shown where the foot of the raised leg wraps around the back of the knee of the supporting leg. The other, is where the foot of the raised leg sits flat against the outside of the knee of the supporting leg. Either form is acceptable and is determined by personal preference.