Learn Footwork Fundamentals With Trevor Wittman
Building a solid foundation in footwork is one of the most important things a fighter can do when learning how to strike. Sure...having the ability to trade punches may give you a tough reputation, but a seasoned veteran knows it’s better to be a ghost in the ring. Good footwork allows you to take less punishment and catch your opponent off guard while they are too busy trying to find you. Before you can float like a butterfly and sting like a bee, you’ll need to get your arms and your feet coordinated.
Throwing punches while walking may sound like child’s play, but Coach Trevor Wittman will tell you it’s one of the hardest footwork fundamentals a fighter can become proficient in when starting out. The action needs to be second-nature before steeping into a contest or you could be setting yourself up for trouble.
Punching While Walking
“Getting your upper-half to work with lower-half is one of the hardest things I have as a coach to be able to make fluid,” Wittman said.
Learning how to punch while walking is a pretty simple concept, at first glance. Start out by synchronizing your hands and feet as you step forward—the left foot comes forward and the left arm punches, the right foot comes forward and the right arm punches. Make sure to keep your core, hips and shoulders engaged while stepping forward and be aware of your stance at all times, said Wittman.
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The coach said to think of the movement in the drill as robotic. As you move your left foot, your left hip and shoulder should be moving forward too, and vice versa on the right side. You should be twisting your hips and torso in a slightly exaggerated manner—much like a robot (think Bender from Futurama). Wittman stresses locking your core as you move to get the full benefit.
“This is something you need to drill over and over. Every time you start, it’s going to feel weird if you’re at a novice level,” Wittman said. “ It’s even harder for me to work with a higher level athlete to get their body to do this because it’s like they’re relearning.”
Getting The Proper Base
You don’t want to drill this standing straight up. The coach said it’s best for your stance to be a bit narrow with your knees bent when performing this drill. While you may able to add a bit more power to your punch by having a wider stance, it impedes your ability to get out of the way of your opponent’s counterpunch. Having too narrow of a stance is problematic if you get caught by your opponent. Your body will most certainly tilt and fall over if the opponent connects with your head. Go for something in between that allows you to close the distance while not diminishing your punching power, said Wittman.
“We want to be able to have the best of both worlds,” Witman said. “Don’t be too front-heavy. Don’t be too rear-heavy. Balance your weight on both knees.”
Who Is Trevor Wittman?
After competing as a boxer for numerous years, Coach Trevor Wittman began working with fighters in the late 1990s. Wittman is best known for training UFC fighters like Kamaru Usman, Rose Namajunas and Justin Gaethje. He was named the Shawn Tompkins Coach of the Year award at Fighter’s Only magazine’s 2019 World MMA Awards. The trainer founded and owns combat sports equipment company ONX Sports, based in Colorado.
Learn the fundamentals of footwork Coach Wittman has spent years teaching his fighters! Check out “The Footwork Blueprint By Trevor Wittman and Justin Gaethje” and other great instructionals available at DynamicStriking.com!