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plewis66
-14th November 2003, 08:39
On Monday this week, I finally made it Salle Kiss, where i had the wonderful experience of seeing a couple of pretty competent fencers (imho).

One in particular, in showing us some footwork, bowled me over. His ability to move rapidly and precisely with lght effortless action was something to behold.

I've been trying to emulate it ever since.

Now, when I've bee taught footwork previously, the description of stepping has always been as follows:

To step forward, first step with your front leg, then bring up the back foot. to step backwards, reach back with your back leg, then bring the front foot back.

This has always lead to me (and I'm sure this is just my missinterpretation) reaching forward with my front foot, putting it on the ground, transferring most of my weight (well, all of it if you think about it...only one foot on the floor!) to the front foot, then sort of using my front leg to pull me forwards. Sounds clumsy, but a close analysis of what I'm doing leads to this description. Watching (most) other beginners on the same intro course as me (not at Salle Kiss) shows me that I'm not alone.

Similarly moving back.

However, after watching Csabi (I think that was his name), and trying to emulate him, I just hit on a slightly different approach:

To step forwards, raise the front foot about 1cm from the ground, and push hard with the back leg, through the ball of the foot. When you are at the right distance, place the front foot down, and use the 'recoil' from the back leg to spring it forwards.

To step backwards, raise the rear foot about 1 cm, and push hard through the heel of the front foot, etc.

This seems to result in lighter, faster and more precise stepping, with greater control of balance.

It also makes sense of keping the heel of the back foot slightly cocked, and has lead to me keeping the weight off my front toes, and reduced the tendency to overreach and get unbalanced.

Also, on the step forwards, it means a step can be developed into lunge, simply by accelerating the push with the back leg, and keeping the front foot in the air longer, kicking forwards but low, at the point that the step becomes a lunge.

There's more of a feeling of the body being propelled by the active foot (back for forwards, front for backwards), and of carrying the passive foot.

Is this a better approach? Or is the improvement I believe I'm feeling just an illusion?

whizzkid1982
-14th November 2003, 10:23
this is an improvement. all footwork should use both legs in order to get distance, power, and precision. when you step forward make sure you put heel down first, then as you bring the toe down bring up the back leg.

Peanut_UK
-14th November 2003, 11:20
when you step forward make sure you put heel down first, then as you bring the toe down bring up the back leg.

There's a school of thought that thinks that your back foot should hit the floor at the same time as the toes of your front foot land(when stepping forward).

Apparently it's Hungarian, so it must be right. ;)

But I've just realised that's pretty much what Whizzie's said, so I'll shut up.

Australian
-14th November 2003, 11:35
Originally posted by plewis66
However, after watching Csabi (I think that was his name), and trying to emulate him, I just hit on a slightly different approach:

To step forwards, raise the front foot about 1cm from the ground, and push hard with the back leg, through the ball of the foot. When you are at the right distance, place the front foot down, and use the 'recoil' from the back leg to spring it forwards.

To step backwards, raise the rear foot about 1 cm, and push hard through the heel of the front foot, etc.

This seems to result in lighter, faster and more precise stepping, with greater control of balance.

It also makes sense of keping the heel of the back foot slightly cocked, and has lead to me keeping the weight off my front toes, and reduced the tendency to overreach and get unbalanced.

Also, on the step forwards, it means a step can be developed into lunge, simply by accelerating the push with the back leg, and keeping the front foot in the air longer, kicking forwards but low, at the point that the step becomes a lunge.

There's more of a feeling of the body being propelled by the active foot (back for forwards, front for backwards), and of carrying the passive foot.

Is this a better approach? Or is the improvement I believe I'm feeling just an illusion?

doing my footwork slowly i think thats kinda what i do, but its hard to be sure.

the idea is to be balanced, and smooth, and lots of little steps rather than larger ones

neevel
-16th November 2003, 23:22
The "propulsive" footwork is what you should be doing as you become more experienced. When teaching novices to get the sequence of action correct and avoid clumsily hopping, however, it is often useful to start them out with the more plodding, first-the-one-foot-then-the-other approach. Once they are able to always start a motion by picking up the proper foot first and stay controlled with small steps, they should be moved into conciously practicing the propulsive footwork-- otherwise they are being left with their training wheels on, so to speak.

-Dave

plewis66
-17th November 2003, 07:17
Ah! Makes sense. Thanks Dave.

In fact thanks al, it's nice to know I haven't spent the last week practicing something that's plain wrong!

Mark
-18th November 2003, 00:27
I think there is room for both.

If you want your opponent to attack you on preparation (so that you can parry & riposte) then moving your front foot forward without pushing early with the back foot is a good idea. There is no commitment in your step and you can easily pull the front foot back again if necessary.

If you are trying to score a hit with your step however, then pushing early with the back foot will help the hit to land early and hopefully before your opponent can parry.

Any thoughts?

Aoife
-18th November 2003, 13:58
Hmmmn, sounds like something I discovered about lunging... I'd been lunging my taking a large step forwards (somewhat slow and clumsy) and I watched some good fencers at a tournie, and saw they were propelling lunges off their back legs. Since I started doing that my lunges have gotten faster.

Australian
-18th November 2003, 22:51
yeah, with a lunge you should be looking to "flick out" with your front leg, and push out with ur back leg