Often, in class, seminars, and at camps, I see folks executing techniques without moving their feet. You cannot reasonably expect to have effective technique or defense without moving your feet. How do you expect to hit the other person without proper footwork? How do you expect to defend yourself without moving out of the way? While it is understandable that training partners may have some fear in accidentally hitting each other, they should work together slowly in order to execute proper footwork in conjunction with the technique, both on the offensive and defensive side. That said, here are two reasons to move your feet:
(1) If you’re not there you won’t be hit: The footwork drills of Filipino Martial Arts are there for a reason. Regardless of the drill, they are designed to teach you to move in various ways and directions so as to avoid, to the greatest extent possible, getting hit or to lessen the impact of a hit. If you’re not there, you won’t get hit. You may be training with a very quick opponent who can hit you at will but over time you will learn to move and counter. When you’re training, you should be practicing moving your feet, not just the stick or knife techniques. Look at the below video of Muhammad Ali’s elusiveness and movement in his younger days. While his movement is in the sporting context, the principle remains the same….MOVE. This is especially important when defending yourself against a stick or a knife attack.
(2) If you don’t move, you won’t be able to hit: if you don’t move your feet, how do you expect to get into range to either set up or execute a hit/poke/slash? Your chances of a successful engagement goes way down if you don’t utilize proper footwork and close the gap, especially against an opponent who moves well. If you don’t practice moving into range after a defensive maneuver, how do you expect to succeed if you ever get caught in a real life encounter?
Notice Master Chuck moving in with his left foot in order to hit poor Andy? Video here.
It is vitally important that you constantly move when working with a partner so as to make this second nature and not be caught flat footed.
Bottom line: move to avoid getting hit and move into position to hit!