Advancing the Rear Foot

Discussion on the three big Chinese internals, Yiquan, Bajiquan, Piguazhang and other similar styles.

Advancing the Rear Foot

Postby MaartenSFS on Sun Aug 26, 2018 3:51 pm

With all of this talk about footwork I thought that I'd share a thought..

My sparring was always held back by my poor footwork. It wasn't until I learned swordsmanship that I was able to improve. In swordsmanship one must always threaten the opponent with something in order to advance, or eat their sword between steps, which is a vulnerable time. Some good examples can be seen in the below video at 08:35 and 9:50 (and in slow-motion shortly thereafter):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFe_SiCXlUk

In the first example I accidentally hit the ground on the way in, but in battle that can happen and I still would have won the exchange with a broken tip. One exchange is usually all it takes. Note the footwork, though. In both examples I threatened my opponent and charged in to close the distance and land my strike. With unarmed fighting it is the same. Whenever one wants to advance the rear foot, the hands have to be doing something to threaten the opponent. A good example can be seen in the video below at 02:33:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pb94tMqpn84

Nowadays I use a lot more of this type of footwork both in armed and unarmed fighting. It helped me to improve my Shuaibeishou a lot. I had the power, but I wasn't always able to hit my target. It works great with wrestling too, where it is perhaps even more important in closing the gap, but there isn't really the danger of eating a punch on the way in, so what I was saying before doesn't apply as much in that context.

In an art like Tongbiquan, though, it just doesn't work without this footwork and I believe that that is where practitioners fail to really make use of their art. That and not training to make the strikes really heavy like the ones in my example in the video above. My student already knew what I was going to do, so he kept running away (wisely). In actual sparring I would explosively pursue him and then switch to something else to throw him off. Only by advancing my rear foot can I pull that off.

In conclusion, I believe that being able to advance the rear foot is one of the most important signs that someone can use their CMA skills in sparring. I hope that I was able to type my thoughts concisely enough for you to understand. Keep training hard. Don't be lazy!
Last edited by MaartenSFS on Mon Aug 27, 2018 3:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Advancing the Rear Foot

Postby Trick on Mon Aug 27, 2018 2:20 am

Your style of fighting sounds as “aggressive overpowering the opponent” style, it’s the style that probably most often work when fighting rudimentary fighters. During my Karate days I had the chance to spar with all kind of spirited fighters, the most “beautiful” techniques to lose against where those that could not be seen(non telegraphic), in some cases I knew what was going to come but yet when I came it was not seen only felt. If these guys faced opponents that tried aggressive overpowering style they just beautifully counter fought. Now these guys where high level competing on European and world championship level,not the kind of guys one probably risk to face in a self defence situation......As you put it to “threaten” the opponent, well in a fight/sparring on agreement between two combatants the pressure(threat) is two ways. In self defence the threat begins one way, from the aggressor.....
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Re: Advancing the Rear Foot

Postby MaartenSFS on Mon Aug 27, 2018 3:11 am

It may sound like that, but really I'm quite defensive when fighting more skilled or aggressive opponents.
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Re: Advancing the Rear Foot

Postby bailewen on Sat Sep 01, 2018 4:37 am

Looking at the clips I don't actually see a lot of footwork going on. It's all pretty straight line. The weapons play was fun. But still...kind of railroad track footwork still. I can see some decent work up top, and from the post I guess you are thinking about how to cover your advance with the attacks, but to me, "footwork" is all about triangles, and that's something I think you could use more of.

In the empty hand clips, fwiw, you can see the other dude doesn't really fall over (back...off his base) until you cut the angle. But he really cuts it himself. You mostly advance in a straight line fairly aggressively, and your partner tries to defend but eventually takes a random step off the line and you end up "t-bone"-ing his base. But I don't see you actively creating the "T".

Of course you never want to overdo it, because if you step off the angle in a big way, the other person will just step off to fix the angle. No one is going to give you a nice clean 90 degree angle into their base, but you can get a much smaller advantage pretty easily. The best thing, IMO, is to just try and maintain a very slight cut into their base.

I've posted this before, but in a different context:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zD17zl83Ko


Notice the triangular footwork. But when I make contact, it's still only like a 15 degree angle or so.
Click here for my Baji Leitai clip.
www.xiangwuhui.com

p.s. the name is pronounced "buy le when"
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Re: Advancing the Rear Foot

Postby MaartenSFS on Thu Sep 06, 2018 6:47 pm

Sorry for the delayed response. Thanks for the feedback. Footwork is something that is very important and that I could use more work on. I have improved quite a bit since then, but I still don't use circular footwork. I do use angles a lot more, after learning swordsmanship, but have not yet made the transition from sword to hand with triangular footwork, yet. Perhaps that will come later, but in the mean time, knowing when and how to advance the rear foot has made me a much more effective fighter.

I'd love to see some of your sparring videos, by the way. I remember that you used to have some but I could never see them from China.. :-\ Are you still living there, by the way?
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Re: Advancing the Rear Foot

Postby Trick on Fri Sep 07, 2018 3:19 am

Xingyiquan(that you study before you took up the sword?) has the angular work in its straightforwardness
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Re: Advancing the Rear Foot

Postby MaartenSFS on Fri Sep 07, 2018 2:20 pm

I got it from Xinyiliuhequan, but yes.
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