Fight Night Zagreb: UFC On the Fly – Episode 1
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Philadelphia legend, Will Martinez is back at WCC 18
It might sound a bit daft but the majority of people in the martial arts fail to use their feet when training. In fact, they probably fail to use them at all, except in circumstances when the feet use themselves!
Using the feet to their potential
Of course, everyone uses their feet in martial arts but the trouble is most fail to optimize the use of their feet. It’s rather like training in big platform boots where you can’t feel what’s going on and as a result movement is compromised. The irony is that even training in bare feet the majority of martial artists fail to use their feet when the opportunity to really feel what is happening is spurned.
The foot/ankle complex is constructed of more than 30 bones comprising 28 joints which allow a huge amount of movement; twisting, bending etc…. Most of this movement potential is circumnavigated by the adoption of rather static ‘flat-footed’ stances which limit the foot action possible and subsequently movement potential for the whole body.
This has several drawbacks, not least that ground reaction force is compromised and therefore resultant force generated in strikes. Another important failing is the reduced stability as you are not ‘in your feet’. This is a term more akin to Chinese Martial Arts but important for all martial artists and refers to being ‘grounded’ or ‘sinking’ your weight.
My earlier analogy with the platform boots is relevant here and could be extended. So if you are ‘in your feet’ you would be IN a pair of slippers rather than ON the platform boots. This may not be obvious and probably sounds like a load of old tosh but can be demonstrated quite easily.
Sanchin: mobility and stability
This much misunderstood stance (and kata, for that matter) provides an excellent vehicle for investigating ‘sinking’ your weight optimally and feeling what is happening in your feet. It requires you to use your feet properly, or put another way you must be ‘in your feet’ (slippers rather than platforms) and providing the structure to do so.
First, stand behind a friend, place your arms round their middle and lift them up, note how heavy your friend feels. Then get this person to bend at the ankle (the knee will follow), weight forward (over the ball of the foot) and feet spread the weight can ‘sink’ into the feet. Now lift your friend in the same manner as before.
Amazingly, your friend will be heavier! This does not mean that they have suddenly put on weight but rather they have allowed their weight to drop lower and to be supported by the feet. So long as the weight is forward and NOT on the heels movement from the feet is easily achieved, this means that Ground Reaction Force can be transferred into a punch as you press into the floor and the twisting bending motions of the feet can be accessed.
So throw out the platforms and put on the slippers to optimize your feet for your martial arts training.
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