Fancy Footwork and Minimal Footwork

Happy-Papi

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This is not really a comparison on Fast Fancy Footwork Vs Minimal Footwork on which is better. Maybe for most of us during our early stages of learning MA is that we all tend to have lightning fast fancy footwork but as we get older, we basically slow down. Like one of my old teacher, he often reminded me to move my feet more but when we spar he was basically anchored to the ground but I still got pounded.

Probably you may also have noticed this. Ex: TKD is a very fast, rigorous moving MA but I've watched a good Korean TKD MAist who barely moves then BOOM! Also with CMA Masters, they just stand there and BOOM! Same with many arts like Karate, Judo, Aikido, FMA, etc. and even boxing. I watched some of these high/skilled rankers teach their students and encourages them to use fast fancy footwork but rarely uses them for themselves.

During the half part of my training I was forced to minimize the movement of my legs since I had to carry stuffs like tools and packs weighing 15 to 40 kgs. on unstable grounds while we train and as I got older, it just became became 2nd nature especially now that I'm fat and old. I'm no master and I'm not even good but probably because of the huge lard that I carry, HAHAHA!!!

I like watching MA movies and my usual favorite especially in Chinese Kung Fu movies is when a Master simply stands while dodging the attacks of multiple enemies and gives them a "one strike-one kill" move. Saw Bruce Lee done this too in his movies. Even Steven Segal (I'm a huge fan of his movies) and Jacky Chan... Seen this also in competition where the higher ranking MAist uses minimal movements but wins. Saw one huge very good Judoka kid who barely moved, grabbed the lapel of his opponent and simply gave a good leg sweep and BOOM!!!, the opponent was on the air and fell down like a rag doll. It was awesome!

I'm sure that many of us "oldies" once have lightning footwork but are basically anchored to the ground now, lol. I really envy those older MAist who still have speed and lighting footwork skills and can still keep up with the boys.

Haven't you notice this???

For younger MAist and newbies: work hard on your footwork because without good footwork, your foundation will be weak.
 

K-man

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Fast fancy footwork is mainly used in the sport area where you are moving in and out of range. There is no way I am going to be chasing someone all around the place. If they want a fight I'm where I am and I will use tsabaki as required ... but I will not be using fancy footwork. :asian:
 

seasoned

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My old instructors always said "don't do what I do, do what I did to get to this point in my training".


I've seen it both ways, "Footwork Vs Minimal Footwork" and both have worked, heck even I have prescribed to both over the years. But, when it comes to the real deal, just being in the right place at the right time is more then sufficient.
 

Zero

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While balance and speed is always important, fancy footwork in itself I agree is primarily a ring thing. I am not so concerned with flashy footwork, but the ability to move fast and evasively, cover the ring and get out of the corner or off the ropes is an important skill, as is the corollary of closing down the ring on an opponent. You generally do come up against bigger and/or more powerful opponents from time to time even in the same weight categories and not having to go head to head can save you from a lot of punishment.

But as you said, one of my own coaches when I was a lot younger would drill me all the time but he would just stand there and wait for you to come in and then do what had to be done (or as you say Boom), that said he was also a huge bloke. He would now and then come out of the middle to close you down but he was not generally going to bother chasing you about.

Being fitter and a better mover than bigger/older and more experienced fighters can definitely help win a fight or at least help stop you from going down.

As good old Dirty Harry said, "a man's gotta know his limitations". A great saying applicable to martial arts. I guess as you age to a degree where you can't do the foot shuffle quite like you used to, is when you start being a smarter (different) fighter, not be drawn into being tired out but bide your time and pick your chances.
 

lklawson

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There is no "Fast & Fancy Footwork" nor is there "Minimalist Footwork." There is only the right movements, at the right time. It might be a combination of steps, short steps, a long step, or none at all. It might be a little slow, very fast, on the beat, or before.

This is especially true with weapons work and the longer the weapon, the more obvious it becomes. Because range is compressed with unarmed work, and very close with small weapons, such as knives, footwork can often appear small or abrupt. But move up to swords or staffs, and it becomes more obvious. The footwork doesn't really change all that much, it just gets "bigger" because the weapons force the range out. Techniques which would require a linear or thrusting motion, such as boxing jab, a reverse punch, or a punta lunga (fencing Lunge thrust), or a forward thrust with a long-staff still require the same core style of footwork and body mechanics. Techniques which require a circular or rounding type of body mechanics, such as a Hook, a Rounding Blow (19th Century bare knuckle boxing), a machete slash, or a half-circle with a long-staff, still require the weapon to move about in a sort of arc and the body still has to accommodate that, particularly when the body must change physical locations in order for the weapon to connect with the target. While a horizontal outside-to-inside "chop" with a machete seems superficially different from a similar directional attack with a long-staff (because in many ways it is), they still have certain body mechanics in common. The most dramatic changes between the two are the length of the weapons and therefore both the timing and the distance (and therefore foot/body movements) become expanded and more easily observed.

Footwork is footwork, measure is measure, and tempo is tempo. It just gets matched appropriately to the weapon (or none) that you are employing. :)

Of course, I concede that the "style" can alter the footwork norms. Swetnam's Rapier footwork looks very little like Thibault's Rapier footwork, to say nothing of comparing Thibault to various specific styles of Kenjitsu. But even then, they still have to contend with the basics of movement, distance, and timing and there's only so many ways a human body can move.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

Zero

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There is no "Fast & Fancy Footwork" nor is there "Minimalist Footwork." There is only the right movements, at the right time.
Kirk
I generally agree with this and all of your post and agree that for throwing techniques correctly there are only so many forms of movement due to biomechanics. That said, I think Happy-Papi was also - or primarily - commenting on a person's movement between actual throwing of techniques, there was a marked difference between how Ali and ol' Smokin' Joe moved across a ring. There are different ways of moving and footwork when fighting that equally get the job done (such that there are various differing "right" movements for a particular time) but yes, certain instances do call for the use of certain moves - and footwork (if you are backed into the ropes or corner covering up I doubt to ever see you doing the "Ali shuffle", not even the great man did this).

Although I train with the likes of nunchuku and katana (and I did compete in fencing (foil) throughout high school) I am no weapons expert by any means so my experience and above comments are mainly from a sans weapons fighting perspective.
 

jks9199

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There's also a matter of efficiency. As we acquire experience, we tend to develop more efficiency in our movement; I can do the same thing with less effort. For example, I may use a very small step and lean where one of my students needs a much larger step. And as I watch my instructor, sometimes it doesn't seem as if he's moved at all -- just that the guy throwing the punch at him missed and got hit because my instructor moved so efficiently...
 

Zero

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There's also a matter of efficiency. As we acquire experience, we tend to develop more efficiency in our movement; I can do the same thing with less effort. For example, I may use a very small step and lean where one of my students needs a much larger step. And as I watch my instructor, sometimes it doesn't seem as if he's moved at all -- just that the guy throwing the punch at him missed and got hit because my instructor moved so efficiently...

Yes! In my case I keep telling myself it is efficiency (although I have a nagging doubt that it may actually be the onset of laziness!).
That said, there can be a fine line between efficiency and laziness...
 

lklawson

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Yes! In my case I keep telling myself it is efficiency (although I have a nagging doubt that it may actually be the onset of laziness!).
That said, there can be a fine line between efficiency and laziness...
Henry Ford is alleged to have once said, "If we have a particularly difficult job to do in the factory, I put a lazy man on it. Within a day, he has found the easiest way to do the job and the rest of the factory adopts that method."

I don't know if he actually said that, but it's a fun "quote" nonetheless. :)

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

Cyriacus

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Henry Ford is alleged to have once said, "If we have a particularly difficult job to do in the factory, I put a lazy man on it. Within a day, he has found the easiest way to do the job and the rest of the factory adopts that method."

I don't know if he actually said that, but it's a fun "quote" nonetheless. :)

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk

I was getting ready to say that laziness = efficiency, but you beat me to it.
Ill instead contribute that theres the easy way, and the way you prefer. Martial arts are one of those things where alot of people pick the way they prefer. Laziness = Good :)
 
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Happy-Papi

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Fast fancy footwork is mainly used in the sport area where you are moving in and out of range. There is no way I am going to be chasing someone all around the place. If they want a fight I'm where I am and I will use tsabaki as required ... but I will not be using fancy footwork. :asian:

When my son was a newbie in MA he usually joked to his MA buddies that the easiest way to kill dad is to run around and get me to chase them because I will get tired fast and die of exhaustion. Never happened because I was too lazy to join their chicken race but still nearly died of exhaustion. Give me water please, HAHAHA!
 

Xue Sheng

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Watched a couple of Chinese police Sanshou matches awhile back and it was interesting to watch. Many were bouncing around like American boxers but there was one who did not. He would stand there and then move in, get hit a couple times and move out. HE did this a few times and then he charged in hard hit a couple of times and the opponent fell down. He had what I would call virtually no foot work, but he had good root and a lot of speed and power. Actually his approach made me thing a little bit of Xingyiquan
 

Touch Of Death

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Watched a couple of Chinese police Sanshou matches awhile back and it was interesting to watch. Many were bouncing around like American boxers but there was one who did not. He would stand there and then move in, get hit a couple times and move out. HE did this a few times and then he charged in hard hit a couple of times and the opponent fell down. He had what I would call virtually no foot work, but he had good root and a lot of speed and power. Actually his approach made me thing a little bit of Xingyiquan
Sounds fancy to me. :)
 

_JLC_

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When I was practicing a Kung Fu, we did quite a bit on footwork. It was more along the lines of getting slightly closer to your opponent to set up a kick, or be in a position where you can launch a kick faster then they can.

We did things such as "switching" stance (left leg fwd/back) as a mini skip forward with momentum and closing the distance, cat stance (evading a kick just by drawing front leg back slightly, then easy to launch a counter and your body is kinda set to be exposive), and a series or side steps/half steps depending on what attack they throw to put you in an ideal position rather then just by going straight back to a kick.

Nothing very complicated, but it did seem to help us a lot in our light sparing that we did :)
 

K-man

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Interesting that you mention 'switching'. I had a teacher some years back who coached the Australian Karate team. He was very big on 'switching'. We spent hours on it and it never felt right for me. Maybe if you have 'fast twitch' muscle it may be different. On the other hand, when I did compete, I did the draw back into cat stance often and still teach it to this day in a SD context. :asian:
 

chinto

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I think it depends on if your talking about self defense on the street or in a ring. the hopping moving around thing works well for many in a ring, on the street, well not so much. I have seen many skilled fighters use very little movement, and I have seen some use a lot. Some things work better for some then for others. its I think partly experience an what they are trained for.
 
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