CTS / Footwork Friday

Footwork Friday: The Sawtooth

Sawtooth 02

Footwork patterns develop attributes, and some patterns are more exercises than practical. In this post, we’re looking at the sawtooth. The sawtooth is a combination of two basic footwork patterns to build quick feet and adapt to changing direction while moving. I use this pattern as way to shake up my training and to build attributes. While this pattern isn’t for everyone, I recommend you give a try to see if it can help you.

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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.


If you’ve followed along with the other Footwork Friday posts, then you know my love of both forward and reverse triangles. These two basic footworks are the building blocks of interesting patterns such as the X pattern and the ranging footwork drill. While you move a lot with all of these patterns, you don’t really go anywhere. Enter the sawtooth.


The sawtooth combines the forward and reverse patterns by overlapping legs of the triangles. Add a couple more pairs on the ends, and you have yourself a sawtooth. Start your students at one end, and have them follow the pattern to the other side of the room.

This pattern isn’t one that you’ll find in your sparring matches, but the attributes of quick feet will be. I like the sawtooth because of the constant switching of the direction of movement. You’re not stuck in one spot doing the same movements over and over. As usual, I recommend starting slow and getting comfortable with the pattern. As you become comfortable, increase the speed of your movements. Focus on fast feet without breaking the pattern. You can go both up and down the pattern on each side.


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