What footwork drills do you use?

Discussion in 'General' started by JPR, Oct 26, 2005.

  1. JPR

    JPR New Member

    I have a series of questions on attribute / skill development. Hopefully, by sharing experiences, we can help each other to improve.

    What types of drills you do to develop / improve your footwork?

    How do train footwork to keep it interesting? (Face it, stepping triangles isn’t nearly as fun as learning the next, neat disarm.)

    What exercises do you do to develop the strength / endurance / coordination to improve your footwork?

    How do you combine your footwork with your striking for coordination?

  2. arnisador

    arnisador Active Member

    This reminds me how boring I find it to set down crossed sticks and work that pattern (as I was asked to do at a recent class I was visiting). For beginners, I emphasize the basic 45 degree stepping pattern in the basic striking drill (the 12 angles of attack, though we use 10 in the WMAA). For the most part I then reinforce the idea of footwork within specific drills (block-check-counter, etc.) and techniques--knife disarms are a good opportunity for this.

    I was discoursing yesterday to my son about how we initially train a big step, but that as one progresses it can become just a small body shift, and that that's OK...eventually!
  3. JohnJ

    JohnJ Senior Member

    Great question because quite often people have a tendency to train footwork without any upper body mechanics or striking. They place a bunch of sticks on the ground and that is it. You must always accompany footwork with some sort of defensive movements be it with weapon or empty-hands unless of course you are doing some form of plyometrics. You must learn to visualize oncoming attacks and utilize parries, blocks and counterstrikes etc.

    It is relatively easy to develop coordination and if training solo, Amarra/Carenza can help. Also, COMBINING different types of footwork is essential. The Ilustrisimo system has very simple footwork. For example, I will take Retirada which resembles the boxers shuffle and combine it with striking combinations moving forward then back. Immediately after my last strike I go into Lutang or float footwork with a counterstrike.

    To improve counterstriking, I focus heavily on stepping at 45 degrees and striking then immediately go on the offensive with Retirada. I practice this to cover both sides so I can counterattack the weaker side when playing righty vs. righty. Obviously it works well vice versa. We refer to the triangular footwork as Tatlong Bao (3 Coconuts). Rather than use the standard of stepping back with lead foot and forward with rear, we step forward with rear foot and back with lead. The same theory applies as the transitions cover the triangle points just in a different order. I am sure other systems do the same. I use similar plyometric exercises seen in wrestling where I group my students in a circle and shuffle step (not cross overs) in clockwise direction. I call out a switch so they develop the ability to change their direction to go counterclockwise. We do this for 1/3-minute round and the switches become more frequent that people start to banging into each other. This develops what I call a “cradling” motion which is excellent against an aggressive person who chases you and even better for training against multiple opponents.

    Squat and lunge strikes are part of our repertoire for low-line hitting. And it is also important since these movements can strengthen your explosiveness. It is also key to learn how to break your attacks and timing. Broken attacks refers combination striking that attacks both open and closed sides as well as high and low levels. Then you add in entries to overwhelm your opponent. Broken timing is also crucial so make sure to break your beats/strikes. Again, combining this strategy with ALL footwork is integral to building no only effective footwork but effective fighting skills in general.

    I remember some basic grouping drills with Manong Sam Buot of Balintawak. And part of what we did was to mirror image the footwork. If he advanced an executed a strike, I retreated and applied a defense. As basic as this seemed, it was a good way to develop both strikes and defenses in leads or reverse lead.

    Hope this helps!

    John J


Share This Page