Fundamentals: footwork

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Fundamentals: footwork

Post  David A Ross on Fri Dec 02, 2011 1:23 pm

First, I will apologize, my terminology (in Chinese) is Cantonese dialect (Guangdonghua) - one reason I frequently post English equivalents

Second, while I am very clear and open about my cross training and the integration of technique from many sources I also have ALWAYS stated that the core and/or skeleton of what I teach is the Lama Pai system I learned from Chan Tai San. My feeling is that my base/core system gives me a "world view"; i.e. things like strategy, power generation, body structure, etc that allow me to integrate other material. That is to say I don't randomly integrate material from other places, I ONLY integrate material that is "internally consistent" with the core/base system and which advances it.

Hope that makes sense, I am writing prior to my first cup of coffee Smile

Our footwork is light and spring like. We can raise or lower the "center" (Dan Tin) based upon what we need; lower it to get rooted (often in grappling) or raise it to be light and quick and evasive. The two opposing forces of the dan tin lowering and the resistance provided by the ground produce a spring like quality (Tan Ging) in our legs.

In our conceptual understanding of the footwork, there is the "Jih Wu" or "meridian" which is a straight North-South axis. "joh wu bouh" or movement in a straight line (forward or backward) is the most basic (and least used) movement. However, understanding the north-south axis is essential to utilizing the other footwork patterns

From any position I must be able to move in the eight cardinal compass directions (ie Baat Gwa / Ba Gua). Also, understanding the relationship between the north-south axis (Jih Wu) and the eight cardinal compass directions (Baat Gwa) allows us to plot all angles of movement.

The "Seven Star" (Chat Sing) footwork allows us to cut the north-south axis at 45 degree angles and is the pattern I prefer when it comes to actual functional application.

Finally, my movement in relation to my opponent's position, particularly the cutting of the angles using the "Chat Sing" footwork creates cycles of "creation" or "destruction" - i.e. the five elements (Nhg Haahng)

The use of movement is integrally related to our two theories of defense
Sim (movement, evasion, dodging)
Jit (interception)

Perhaps this is a little too theoretical, but of course feel free to comment and respond!
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David A Ross

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Re: Fundamentals: footwork

Post  Justin Sturgill on Fri Dec 02, 2011 2:32 pm

Good post.

Forward back footwork is the easiest to learn and most natural. For beginning fighters this will be about the only thing they learn. It can also be very good for evasion but IME it is easy for a person to get stuck here. It works and when they try moving other directions it usually won't work as well at first, especially against a more experienced fighter. In general I think the easiest order to learn how to move is forward back first, then side to side. Moving in or back at angles is next. The angles can be the most effective but are also the hardest to execute.

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Re: Fundamentals: footwork

Post  David A Ross on Fri Dec 02, 2011 2:56 pm

You forward movement to close the gap and when you see opportunity

Backward movement has limited application. We generally say you can never move straight back more than 1 and 1/2 steps.

Moving backward in a straight line makes it easier for your opponent to attack you, they can always go faster forward then you can backward
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