CTS / Footwork Friday / Martial Arts

Footwork Friday: Triangle Variations

Part of good footwork is good cardio. If you’ve watched any of the smaller weight classes in MMA, you’ve seen that a high level of fitness is required to move a lot. One of the ways that I like to increase the difficulty level of my footwork practice is to work a couple variations of the reverse and forward triangle. In addition, the variations keep the footwork drills fresh. Repetition of the footwork is necessary, and it’s important to find ways to increase the diversity of a drill while maintaining the importance of the drill. Reverse and forward triangle are foundational footwork for Counterpoint Tactical System and a number of Filipino martial arts; so, we cannot practice them enough.


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 to accurately learn these techniques.

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The reverse triangle is the first angular footwork that I learned, and it is the first footwork that I teach. It’s the basic that I go back to when sparring. If I’m thinking through a striking pattern, I return to reverse triangle while thinking. It is my default footwork, and from all the footwork Friday posts about it, anyone can see how much I use reverse triangle.

Reverse Triangle Start

One way to add a bit of intensity to the footwork pattern is to tack a knee on the last step. As the foot moves out along the triangle, shift your weight to the forward foot, and bring the back knee forward into an upward knee strike. Be sure to point your toes down as you knee. Then, after the knee strike, return your foot back to the pinnacle of the triangle. This should set you up to move to the other side. Repeat on the other side.

The forward triangle is the chili to the reverse triangle’s cheese fries. Both are good separate but so much better together. And if you eat some chili, cheese fries, these exercises are needed. Forward and reverse triangle are a match made in heaven, and it’s best to work them together. That way you get used to moving both towards and away from the opponent. Mixing and matching these two are enough to create a solid foundation of angular footwork.

Forward Triangle Start

For this variation, when your foot steps backward, shift your weight onto your back foot, and draw the front foot back to your knee. When you go to set your foot down, put it back at the pinnacle of the triangle. Repeat on the other side. The front foot can act like a pendulum, or it can be raised up into a knee shield.

As usual, take it slow at first to get the feel down. Once you feel comfortable with this, speed the steps up. Not only do I use this as a good warm up, I typically increase the intensity till I get a little sweat going. You can take it as far as you want to go, but I recommend thinking of these variations as additions to a cardio regime. I also do these variations out of the X pattern. Simply pin the pinnacles of the triangle together, and you have the X pattern. Add in the knees or foot movement to increase the complexity. Then, increase the speed. Get moving!

Starting Point


One thought on “Footwork Friday: Triangle Variations

  1. Pingback: Footwork Friday: Training Clusters | St. Louis Counterpoint Tactical Systems

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