I’m back from a weekend full of Counterpoint Tactical System training. Iron Mountain was a blast, and I’m currently working on the write up of the seminar. After my test which included some espada y daga sparring, Master Zach Whitson commented that my footwork was looking better. I guess these Friday posts are helping. Last Friday, we reviewed the reverse and forward triangles and the side step in preparation for the ranging drill. Now, let’s look at the ranging footwork pattern.
Disclaimer: The footwork discussed below is from Counterpoint Tactical System as I’ve learned it from Master Zach Whitson. Any errors or inconsistencies are mine. The spirit of this series is me studying footwork in more depth. I don’t claim to know everything, and I will make mistakes. But, again, those mistakes are mine. Also, this article is for reference only and should be used as a secondary source only. Please, see a Filipino martial arts instructor if you wish to accurately learn these techniques.
The ranging footwork drill is a blending of reverse triangle, side step, and forward triangle. The flat pattern of the drill looks like an asterisk without the vertical line. Students start out with feet together on the middle dot with the red lines in front and the yellow to the rear. One foot moves along the pattern while the other stays in the center with one exception. Each angle is further broken down into three steps: short, medium, and long. These distances will vary with body type, age, mobility, and overall health. Depending on what you’re trying to accomplish, the natural stance can be either the medium or long step. In the example below, we used the long step to move into the natural stance. When teaching this, I start my students moving to the left as a subtle reminder to work the left side, which is why the left reverse triangle is labeled number one. Students should be able to start the drill with either foot. We start the pattern moving along reverse triangle, but one could start with the other angles as well.
As I said, I like to start my students out going to the left. Joe and Kyle start stepping to the left on the reverse triangle. Once they get the third step, they drag the foot back to the starting position. Notice that during the reverse triangle, the stationary foot stays in the center of the pattern. The only time the stationary foot moves is at the end of the side step, and then it returns immediately to the center of the pattern.
I recommend using this footwork to explore your own movement. What is a deep stance for you? Depending on range, you may need a longer stance to connect. This will require a longer recovery time as well. This drill will familiarize you with your own attributes.
I use this as a warmup before class, and I like it if the whole class counts the steps together. The first step is one, and when we get back to the center, we start over. Watching a group of students do this together is a great sight.