Footwork is a mystery to me. As I tire, my footwork declines faster than my arm/hand motions. The obvious answer to this is that I practice the upper body motions more than the lower body. I wonder if fine motor skills play into it as well. Most people develop a wide variety of motor skills with their arms and hands as they group up. Few develop skills with their legs beyond walking and/or running. In America, this is changing with the increasing popularity of soccer (football, for the overseas folk), Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu, and yoga. Tae Kwon Do practitioners have better than average leg dexterity as well.
None of that helps me, though. I am a fan of all of those activities and a practitioner of none. My previous leg dexterity was limited to walking, running, basketball defensive drills (which I haven’t done since 1996), the teep, and the Thai leg kick. My forays into intramural soccer, jiu-jitsu, and yoga were not long enough to increase my fine motor control.
My foundational footwork comes from the angle/triangular methods of the Filipino Martial Arts – specifically, the Inosanto blend. Counterpoint Tactical System builds upon that footwork. At the beginning of my CTS classes, I like to warm up with some footwork drills. For my current level of the curriculum, I’m working on kicking combinations, and that has helped develop better fine motor control. The endurance part has not changed though. Footwork and kicking drop off faster than arm motions with growing exhaustion.
This is one of the puzzles that I am trying to solve in my own training now. Walking the footwork patterns has been from the start and is currently one of my personal practices. I call it walking as short hand, but the progression is to start walking the pattern to warm up and increase speed to workout. Then, I slow down a little but still enough to keep the heartbeat up and break the patterns while maintaining the correct footwork form. The final progression is to add upper body striking with the footwork.
The newest method that I’ve been trying is to walk the patterns after hard, exhausting cardio workouts. I don’t go very fast, but I try to keep moving. The theory is to get used to recovering while in motion. Going from the workout into stretching is transitioning from movement into static poses. The experiment is still pretty new so I don’t have any insight as to whether it’s helping or not.