Fancy Feet: Basic Footwork Drill with Carlos Condit
When it comes to fighting, there are a few key points that essentially make or break your style. Fighter characteristics you may be able to use undeveloped at the amateur level, but when it comes to professional fighting, these developments of a fighters skill set are crucial to the success, and longevity of their career. One of these essential skill sets is footwork. Footwork comes in many forms, being seen in offensive, defensive, and neutral situations in any fighting competition. Regardless of which Martial Art style any competition you look at involving strikes, will have a reliance on footwork.
“The Natural Born Killer” Carlos Condit, is an elite striker with longevity in MMA having over forty professional fights on his record. Condit was an international fighter prior to going undefeated in the former WEC organization, being the organization's final Welterweight Champion before WEC merged with the UFC where Condit is still signed as an active fighter. Having a fight resume against a list of some of the toughest fighters such as Rory MacDonald, Nick Diaz, GSP, Tyron Woodley, Robbie Lawler and more, there is no way that even a “natural born killer” couldn’t face these people without having a prime understanding of footwork.
First is the basics, like always. There is no more basic type of footwork than stepping.All fighting techniques involve even the most basic foot movement, such as stepping on the jab, and pivoting on the cross punch. Muay Thai round kicks generally involve a small step, and traditional karate kicks require stepping or pivoting of the feet as well.
As anyone can see, if you even want to be able to throw proper striking techniques, you must have at least a child’s understanding of footwork. Take someone who doesn’t know how to fight, or at least has yet to be trained properly, and put them in a fight situation, such as a boxing match or an MMA; they tend to forget they have the ability to move freely, using their most basic ability to step as they move their body weight, in the least effective fashion, if moving anywhere at all. As people new to striking become more comfortable throwing techniques, as having techniques thrown at them, footwork will begin to see the most improvement.
As fighters gain an understanding of basic footwork, they can move on to more strategic footwork movements to create angles in which they can attack opponents in more vulnerable positions. Footwork is one of the first things people learn about when starting any Martial Arts, and after becoming a decent fighter, it is an attribute that those decent fighters continue to develop in order to elevate themselves to the elite levels.
When used defensively, footwork can be an extremely useful tool to not only protect a fighter, but put them back into an offensive position quickly and effectively. Fighters with no experience tend to use their footwork defensively by backing straight up. This usage of footwork is one of the most ineffective as it is short lived for many reasons including the fact that many fight competitions involving strikes take place in a closed ring where fighters will end up sandwiched between the barrier and the advancing fighter. Even fighters with decent experience, when facing someone with intimidating power, switch their focus from moving directions, to defending their face, resulting in them moving straight back and quickly cornering themselves up against a “wall”, and who can really blame them?
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The irony is, if fighters want to increase their ability to defend, footwork is the way to go. As I was always told by my striking instructor, “If you were on a train track, and you see a train coming.. Get off the track!” Side stepping is a very useful ability when defending an opponent's attacks as it not only moves the fighter out of the way of strikes, but it also puts them at an angle where the defending fighter can now switch back to an offensive position. UFC Veteran, Carlos Condit has top level footwork, and in his latest instructional, “Combat Tested Striking Combinations”, he shows you a basic footwork drill to help you build a foundation for your future as a dynamic striker.
As the video starts, Condit wastes no time in explaining how to do the basic box drill for footwork. Keeping a well balanced fighting stance, Condit starts by pushing of his back foot to move forward, what would be towards an opponent, he then pushes with his front, left foot, to move himself to the right, emphasizing to the viewer the importance of always landing in the same, comfortable fighting stance and feeling the “feedback” of the movement as you move, and as you land in your stance.
Condit continues the drill, pushing off of his front foot to move back and away from what may be an oncoming strike. He ends the first cycle of the box drill by pushing off his back, right foot to move himself to the left, finishing in the same spot he started in making a full square, hence the name, the “box drill”. Upon finishing the first cycle, Condit repeats the motions moving in the other directions in order to get a full understanding of the movement, and to increase the ability to move in any direction when needed.
As he performs the final few repetitions of the drill, the former UFC Interim Champion reminds viewers to sit in their stance, constantly feeling as if they could take off running, or quickly move at an angle on their opponent. Condit, although naturally talented, has put in years of work to have the understanding of footwork he has. Thanks to the “Natural Born Killer” you can gain the same understanding of footwork and other stand-up qualities as a UFC fighter without having to put in as much time, but don’t you can be as good as he is without putting in the work!
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