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Your arms, elbows and hands are in a a position that will defend against attack while able to take an offensive counterattack. If you determine someone is entering your exclusion zone, your perimeter, you can drop them slightly, form a fist if needed or let them remain open for a strike. Move off to an angle forward, reverse, left or right to parry and attack of step in to the off side and attack.
You can twist the body if attacked and lean slightly to unbalance the attacker while their punch or strike misses. You can continue rotation until your now behind them and maybe off to one side.
You can then assume a heiko-dachi with the attackers back facing directly into your stable side stance which can also be viewed as a naihanchi stance, etc. but remains heiko-dachi from the front so it still exists as the fundamentally most diverse stance you can use.
All other stances can be assumed from the heiko-dachi. Take a look at the matrix of stances below and you will readily see how each can be assumed from a heiko-dachi to apply its appropriate technique in a counter attack, etc.