I've been doing karate for 18 months and really like it. It's making me stronger and fitter. I'm getting more and more interested in the history of karate, and have started watching some old training videos / looking at photos etc. What strikes me (pardon the pun) is that most of their stances seem a LOT higher than the stances we train in. Shiko dachi and kiba dachi we are supposed to perform with the thighs parallel to the ground (or as low as we can get!). I find this really difficult on my inner thighs and knees. I find a strong tension that I can't stretch through when I'm trying to get lower and am constantly being told to "get down". I get that it makes your legs stronger, but so do squats and lunges. So I guess my question is, why do we train kihon and kata in such low stances if it isn't used in kumite so low, and the masters didn't seem to train that low either? Given this is how we train, how can I get lower over time?