How to Move Forward With Punches By Trevor Wittman
If you visit some of the combat sports gyms out today you might be taught punches "hands first" but the good coaches out there will teach you feet first. Where many coaches will say you have to think about punching with your feet and not with your hands. Tremendous striking coach Trevor Wittman shows in the video below how to walk forward while punching without switching stances.
This serves two purposes, one is to be able to find your opponent’s chin if they are backing off. Especially if you know or realized during the fight they can't fight well backing up. Second is efficiency, you use more power and less energy by using your legs for punching and bringing your power with you instead of being stuck in the mud and using only upper body power. Thus getting you less tired. Getting your upper half to work with your lower half fluidly according to Coach Trevor Wittman is one of the hardest things he has to teach as a coach.
Mechanics Of Walking With Punches
When walking with punches the movement pattern is different from the patterns that you get when walking normal, says Coach Trevor. When you walk you have hundreds and thousands of repetitions walking. Your left hand is working with your right foot, your right hand is working with your left foot for counter balance. Now when you start to walk with punches which is something you need to drill over and over again and everytime you start doing so it’s going to feel weird especially if you are at a novice level and you’re learning how to do this.
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It’s even harder for coach Trevor to work with a higher level athlete to get their bodies to this because it is like relearning basic movement patterns that they have ingrained in their whole lives. You have to be able to have your feet go with your same side hand when you punch but also learn how to engage your core, hips, and shoulders working together as one. That's where your leverage is.
So when drilling this Coach Trevor Wittman wants you to think very robotically so when you are moving your left foot, your left hip, left shoulder will all be working together. So when you are moving your right foot, your right hip, and right shoulder are moving together. So you get almost this robotic motion of the same side hand working with the same side foot. if you are locking your core it’s going to help you do these movements easier.
Next in the video Coach Trevor brings in UFC fighter Justin Gaetjhe for a demonstration. So he hasn’t done these in probably 8 years because they do a lot of mittwork and a lot of one on one stuff and Trevor Wittman always has his fighters challenge their feet so they drill it in the mittwork. When Coach Trevor sees that his fighter is creating a pattern and getting used to something, he'll challenge it and go into a new footwork pattern. However this fundamental footwork is important. So this basic drill is to have you walk forward, and throw a basic one-two as you are walking, moving the left foot with the left jab and the right foot with the right cross.
Narrow Stance Vs Wide Stance
As soon as Justin starts drilling, coach Trevor notices something he does not like and corrects it right away. One thing he doesn't like but it’s ok if you want to learn it quicker and as a novice is that Justin is straight up and has high hips. He’s tall as a building according to coach Trevor. Buildings fall down. A lot of people when he first started fighting liked the wide base stance because it feels better and the feel they can throw harder shots but you actually get stuck So the benefits of being in wide stance is naturally you can dig off the ground but it will feel that you are fighting out of sand, because you are stuck. If you throw a right hand you will end up pulling back with your shoulders instead of feet first to get out of there because of this wide feet-based stance.
What’s nice about the narrow feet stance is you can take huge steps, you can close the gap, you can move. What's bad about being narrow is when you get hit you tilt and lose balance. You have no anchors out and you have no base, so it is very easy to tilt and fall off balance. So you want to be able to have the best of both worlds. Now notice as Justin corrects his stance now his legs are bent, and he is not too front leg heavy and not too back leg heavy. Balanced weight on both knees. Both knees are grabbing the ground together and still maintains stance when drilling the jab cross going forward
Summary of The Drill
- Throw jab-cross moving forward in a line
- Move the same side foot, hip, and shoulder, as the punch and engage your core. Left hand with left leg and right hand with right leg
- Rotate with every punch do not stay locked, hand lands on target the same time foot lands on the ground
- Stay balanced on both knees and not in a narrow or wide stance
Trevor Wittman’s Instructional
The Footwork Blueprint is a 3-part series from Trevor Wittman that lays out an easy-to-learn system of footwork that ANYONE can use!