Martial Arts do - the long way of the fighting styles


Footwork is essential in stand-up and grappling fighting styles as it is necessary to keep the balance, avoid attacks, close or further the distance to the adversary, control spatial positioning and create additional momentum for strikes.

Many martial artists or masters have studied dance or ballet to improve their footwork skills.

Along with linear footwork, there are other unconventional movements such as the circular footwork and the triangular footwork:

• Linear

Linear movement is predominant in many styles as it considered the fastest and most economical way to overpower an opponent.

Japanese and Korean martial arts such as Karate and Taekwondo focus primarily on the speed of advance and retreat to overcome an adversary with powerful, focused blows.

Few forms of Chinese martial arts, such as Wing Chun, see it as a method to stay in reference to the opponent's centerline.

For grappling styles (Jiu-Jitsu, Judo), it allows to quickly take an opponent to the floor with as little movement or adjustment as necessary.

• Triangular

A triangular footwork allows to advance or retreat at a diagonal to an opponent, which would disorient him if he is not familiar with it, helping his practitioner to set into a superior position or attack or defense.

There are three types of triangular movement:
• male triangle pattern: retreating in a triangular pattern that is facing away from the practitioner.
• female triangle pattern: the practitioner advances along an inverse triangle facing opposite of the fighter.
• lateral triangle: moving in a triangular pattern to the right, and left of the practitioner.

It is widely used in martial arts that come from Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Aikido also employs it.

• Circular

Circular footwork is often considered more difficult to master than other types of footwork. It allows to advance towards an opponent at an angle in order to occupy his "blind spot."

This pattern is adopted by many Chinese martial arts, due to the influence of Tao philosophy.

Tai sabaki

In Japanese martial arts (Karate, Judo, Aikido, Kendo, Ninjutsu), Tai Sabaki (translated as 'body-management') designs a set of corporal movement techniques. Its goal is to step away from the line of attack (not from the adversary) and let the person ending up in an advantageous position to apply a counter.

An example is 'moving off the line' of attack using irimi and tenkan movements rather than to 'move against' the attack

There are four primary circular movements which allow to move to to one of the lateral, which is an advantageous position over the adversary.

Tai sabaki
Tai sabaki

This image is adapted from the book "Atémis et Jiu-Jitsu", by Robert Lasserre

Tai sabaki
Tai sabaki

This image is adapted from the book "Atémis et Jiu-Jitsu", by Robert Lasserre

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