CTS / Inosanto-Lacoste Kali / Martial Arts

Footwork Fun

TJ Dillashaw’s footwork was brilliant in his defeat of Renan Barao. Jack Slack and Vice Fightland provide the best MMA analysis on the web.

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.

How your brain visualizes you through sensory input.

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.

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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.

What footwork drills are a part of your personal practice? How do you increase your endurance while keeping your footwork going?


2 thoughts on “Footwork Fun

  1. I go in the basement every morning and shadow box from orthodox and conventional style each morning for three rounds on each side. Then I repeat the process only using movement with no punches or kicks for one on each side. The workout is done at real time of course, and my balance and movement has improved tremendously.

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