Saturday, 24 September 2016

Special Footwork Technique 3: Following Step

Today's footwork technique is found in Karate and Kungfu. I have originally found it in Taijiquan in a sequence of steps called "Push Four Corners". Long before that, however, I have found it in some of Karate's katas.

The function of this step is to throw your weight into the punch you deliver.

It throws body weight as far forward as possible with as much momentum as possible. The difficult part of this movement is that you end up having only one foot to stop this forward charge from going too far. Judoka can easily exploit the situation of having your weight on your lead foot, so you will most likely find that teachers of Japanese Karate will discourage you from using this step in a fight.

Nonetheless- it is a better way to close the gap between your opponent and you than bending your body to reach over to him (or her- I swear I mean either gender whenever I say "him"!)   

In my Taijiquan forms I start off with this back-legged stance found with the lute playing move and shoot my hips forward onto my front foot.

 The forward momentum is channeled into my fist and it shoots out like a passenger in a head on collision who has neglected to wear a seat belt. The fist clenches at the end of course for that extra burst of power.

When doing a Canon Punch (Chinese Uppercut) I use the same method. The upward shot with my fist is synchronised with my weight arriving at my front foot.

I have adopted this type of footwork after incorporating Taijiquan and Xingyiquan into my fighting style of Wenhsiuquan. It ended up looking less like kickboxing. Practicing this type of movement is also less strenuous than with Jeet Kune Do/ Kickboxing movements and feel a lot more earthed and relaxed. 

I found with my first couple of months learning WSKF Karate, however, that the habit of my rear heel raising whenever I have stepped into a forward stance during kihon practice gets noticed by Senseis and they are not pleased with it. 

That is only with kihon and kata, though. In kumite I get left alone with it. For kihon purposes I have found that the heel-raising issue is solved when I do not throw my weight into the punch during kihon. This robs the punch of a considerable amount of power, but keeps you rooted and more resistant to grappling techniques.

In spite of this step not really being taught as part of kihon in Karate schools a number of katas feature this step:

Heian Godan
Pinan Godan

The Shukokai Kata Matsukaze:

Gojushiho Sho

Bassai Dai

Enpi and Kanku Dai

Compare these katas with the Xingyi form you see here.

Xingyi Five Elements

That concludes my three-part series of posts on special footwork techniques. Until we meet again- stay well!

This is the last page of my book on Pulling and Pushing!

The cover of my book on Defense

Here is the blurb to the book on defense now. Next week you will get the first on the content.

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