Fine-Tune Your Footwork With Daniel Woirin
Head Muay Thai coach at the legendary Black House MMA Gym, Coach Daniel Woirin has helped shape some of the world's most elite MMA fighters. Fighters such as Anderson Silva, Lyoto Machida, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Pedro Rizzo have all trained at Black House. Here, Coach Daniel Woirin will share some of the skills he teaches to his fighters! To be an elite fighter you need to be able to make angles and counter your opponents advances. Here, Coach Woirin will show you how to properly pivot so you can get to their side and counter them with combinations of your own!
Using a pivot to avoid a head on collision with your opponent is an advanced skill. Many people are tough and can meet opposition head on and collide with the opponent to see who the stronger, tougher fighter is, but as you get more advanced and your opponents get more advanced you start to find the value in not taking and trading damage head on because at a high level everyone is tough and can end fights quickly if given the opportunity. Being able to pivot allows you to avoid your opponent where they are strong and make an angle on them to attack them where they are weak (the sides and behind them).
To start, Coach Woirin wants you to get into your stance. Coach Woirin assumes a traditional orthodox stance (meaning his left leg is in the front and his right leg is in the back). From his orthodox stance, Coach Woirin will take a step with his lead leg to the left, planting the ball of his foot into the mat and pivoting on that leg so bring his right leg behind him. So if Daniel is facing North, he will take a step with his left foot West and pivot on his foot so his right leg swings around behind him so Daniel is now facing East, still in his orthodox stance.
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If Coach Woirin needs to pivot the other way he will do the exact opposite. Coach Woirin steps with his rear leg to the right and pivots his lead leg around to the back, now assuming a southpaw stance (meaning his right leg is now in the front and his left leg is now in the back). Starting with facing North, Coach Woirin steps with his rear leg to the East, pivots on his foot so he can bring his lead leg behind him, facing West now in a southpaw stance. When doing your pivot Coach Woirin tries to make it quick, he wants it to be 1, 2 movement.
Coach Daniel Woirin then shows how to practice this with a partner. Both people will assume an orthodox stance for this drill. As Coach Woirin’s partner steps forward to attack, Daniel will do his pivot we just practiced without a partner. Lead leg steps left, right leg trails behind so now Daniel had an angle on his opponent still in his orthodox stance. Coach Woirin will then do the same thing on the other side except now his rear leg steps first, lead leg travels behind and he now has an angle on the opponent but this time in his southpaw stance.
Now that you can pivot around the opponent you must counter attack. It is not enough to just avoid them, you have to attack back at some point if you want to win the fight. As Coach Woirin pivots around the opponent he reaches his lead arm out to touch the opponent's head with a stiff arm. This stiff arm allows Daniel to control the opponent and lets him know what kind of range he is at, it is like an antennae probing and relaying information back to Coach Woirin.
Once Coach Woirin has practiced pivoting off to the side and touching his partner with his stiff arm a couple of times, Coach Woirin will look to use that stiff arms touch and find the range for his rear straight punch. When Daniel pivots he reaches out his stiff arm while he simultaneously makes his first step, Coach Woirin lands in his stance with his rear hand glued to his head still in his guard, ready to fire the straight punch.
Notice when Coach Woirin makes his second step during the pivot, he loads his weight into the back leg. By loading the weight into his back leg he can then drive off of that leg shifting his weight from rear leg to front leg to power his rear straight, regardless of his stance he can do this from pivoting either way into an orthodox or southpaw stance. Coach Woirin says that when he feels pressure in that back leg he knows he can explode off of it into his strike. Using this same idea, Coach Woirin can do his pivot, make his angle, load the weight into his back leg and this time instead of firing off his rear hand, Daniel instead throws a rear leg roundhouse kick to the leg, body or head. Notice that even though Coach Woirin is now throwing a kick he is still posting his land hand stiff arm out to the opponent to find his range.
Lastly, Coach Daniel Woirin shows that you can throw combos and not just single strikes after you pivot. The possibilities are endless and it really comes down to your preferred combinations. Coach Woirin demonstrates a rear throw away straight punch into his rear leg roundhouse kick as an option. Another option he shows is a rear leg kick, reloads his rear hand for a straight punch then finishes with a rear leg head kick. A final option Coach Woirin shows is a rear knee after you pivot. The options are endless and you decide what works best for you!
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