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Sparring>Tactics>Movement

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Movement

Intro

When you spar, if you do not move around continuously, you are a target. When moving, you are a threat. However, not all movement is good.

Sport taekwondo fighters are constantly bouncing, usually with their arms at their side. I call this the Irish river dance style of taekwondo. Due to the rules and scoring in sport taekwondo that rewards kicking, it is an effective way to move and score. If you bounce with your arms down in a street fight, if you do not trip over something on the ground, you will get hit, and hit hard. In the split second of confusion, the attacker will be all over you and you will be done. Also, the minute you start bouncing, the attacker will know you a taekwondo fighter, be prepared for your kicks, and know what to do to defeat you.

Tips on movement

  • Keep moving. Never stay in one place very long.
  • Movement helps you overcome stationary inertia. It is easier to change the direction of a moving body than a stationary one.
  • It allows you to react faster.
  • A moving target is harder to hit.
  • Keep changing guarding positions to cover all openings as you move around.
  • Constant motion allows a smooth transition from one technique to another with minimum time.
  • It lets you easily evade.
  • Shuffle rather than step. Move like a galloping horse, not like a hopping rabbit.
  • Feel the ground under your feet for a solid spot before shifting your weight (not necessary on a known surface).
  • Keep movements simple, especially when on an unknown surface.
  • Step in your own footprints, replacing each foot with the other like the way a cat stalks (not necessary on a known surface.
  • For power, turn the body as a unit, not as isolated parts.
  • Always work from a stable base.
  • Coordinate all movements to reach the target with minimum effort and maximum effect.
  • Do not telegraph movements.
  • Practice moving in bursts.
  • Practice leaping.
  • Move around in a circle when evading, not backward.
  • Use stepping, shifting, twisting, and turning to avoid attacks and set the opponent up for a counterattack.
  • Do is not afraid to move backward if the situation demands it. Learn to attack while moving backward.
  • Advance and retreat in short steps, then lunge.
  • Advance, then retreat to draw the opponent into an attack.
  • Use feints to distract movements. 
  • Use sidestepping to avoid attacks.
  • Use body dropping to avoid head attacks.
  • Integrate punches and kicks into your footwork.
  • Learn the opponent’s footwork and use it against him or her.
  • When reacting to an attack, make a large movement to avoid the main attack in case the first attack was only a feint.
  • Be careful of using an hourglass stance. This occurs when your rear foot is up on its toes.  One place where this occurs is at the finish of your cross or reverse punch. It is a dangerous but necessary position that adds power to the punch. 
  • Be ready to duck and cover. You should be ready to stay low and elbow block, weave under, or jab to correct your posture. Do not just stand there fully extended with nowhere to go.
  • In your stances and movement, do not put more than 60 percent of your weight on either foot (except in brief extreme situations).
  • One-legged stances, stilted stance, straight knee stances, and overextended forward stances, etc., are a big mistake both offensively and defensively.
  • Use quick, short, even-keeled adjustments as you move.
  • Stay on the balls of the feet for quick range adjustments, but settle into your punches. You get your punching power from the ground, through the legs, and off the hips.
  • When boxers step in to fire a combination, they often duck downward as they finish the last punch. In martial arts, this may become a problem since it exposes the head to a grab and subsequent knee to the face or chest.
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