RULE NO. 1 DON’T GET OFF-BAL­ANCE

Black Belt - - SCREEN SHOTS -

Be­ing off-bal­ance is be­ing vul­ner­a­ble, and be­ing vul­ner­a­ble is an in­vi­ta­tion to be­ing dead. In ev­ery art, foot­work keeps you grounded (lit­er­ally) and there­fore solid on your feet. It also keeps you mo­bile and thus ready for what­ever comes. The goal of great foot­work is to en­able you to move so you’re bal­anced and so your op­po­nent can’t eas­ily off-bal­ance you.

In­her­ent in ev­ery at­tack and most de­fenses is the po­ten­tial for off-bal-

an­c­ing. Kick, and there’s the pos­si­bil­ity of get­ting caught by a foot sweep or leg grab. Punch, and your weight shifts, open­ing you to a stum­ble. Back away, and your at­tacker may move with you in an ef­fort to cause you to trip. And so it goes — which is why foot­work is sel­dom static.

In most mar­tial arts, you learn to not be afraid of be­ing hit, to ac­cept that train­ing comes with some bruis­ing. And that makes sense. It’s not that you want to be a su­per­man and su­per­woman able to ab­sorb any strike, nice though that would be. It’s that fear stems from re­peat­edly putting your­self in sit­u­a­tions where you’re off-bal­ance, which gives your op­po­nent the op­por­tu­nity to strike. As you learn to main­tain your bal­ance while avoid­ing those at­tacks, you lose your fear.

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