The Secret of Karate Footwork

Newsletter 631

The Secret of Karate Footing

Good evening!

It is evening as I write this,

so I still have time for a work out.


my favorite time for working out is past midnight.

The world is silent,

no distractions,

and I frequently close my eyes

and work on my sense of which way I am facing.

It improves hearing,

inner senses of where the body is,

and more.


I didn’t want to talk about that…

I wanted to talk about footing.

Before I do,


as I said last newsletter,

computer crash,

lost a LOT of stuff.



I feel good about it.

I lost of lot of baggage I’d been carrying around,

stuff I’d collected over the last couple of years.

Feel lighter.


you may have noticed,

but my computer started sending out notices.

I don’t know why,

but when I resurrect notification of payment,

it gets sent out as new mail.

Really odd.


so what.

The first time I got into footing was long before Karate and the martial arts.

I was in sixth grade,

and I wanted to run faster,

kick the ball further,

so I used to just sit and analyze the foot.

How the arch gives spring,

and the best way to put the foot down

to achieve that spring.

Which way to point the toes

whether and how to roll the foot

and, of course,

how to set the foot for the most traction.

Years later,

this stuff came back to haunt me in the martial arts.

I used to analyze the bend of the leg and the turn of the foot

for traction and spring in the sprint takeoff.

Well, what the heck is a stance,

but a sprint takeoff!

Not to run fifty yards,

but just to leap a couple of yards

close the distance

and take out the opponent before he could block.

I did this at Kenpo,

and it was great.

Got good at freestyle,

went to tournaments,

thought I was pretty good,

then I went to the Kang Duk Won.

The Kang Duk Won was a hole in the wall.

I’ve described it before,

but here goes again…

such a fond memory.

It was a box office of some sort in the front.

Front window cracked and held together by duc tape

Seating section was a picnic bench.

Rugs were losing threads all over the place.

Mind you,

it wasn’t dirty,

just worn.

You walk back past the mat,

which was ripped and stitched and duc taped.

And it was very dark in places,

from the pivot of a thousand gnarly feet.

In the back was more thready rug,

a bathroom with an old toilet that slanted probably 30 degrees.

A water heater that didn’t work,

and a hole in the ceiling over it.

Ah, paradise.

Now this thing with footing.

At the kenpo place we had a big heater for the winter,

and real air conditioning for the summer,

and thick mats so cushy to the tootsies.

Veddy cumfutable there. Doncha know…

At the kang duk won we had no heater,

and no air conditioning.

In the winter we warmed the place up with our sweat.

It didn’t take long, we worked hard because

we knew we would freeze until we warmed it up.

In the summer we just worked.

But, here’s the thing.

In the winter the mat was cold,

our feet were cold,

and there was no traction.

I always remember my feet slipping until I began to sweat.

And the way I stopped the feet from slipping was to think downward.

And I had to,

because if I didn’t think down,

push with the legs

and get the heck moving,

some other guy was going to be running over me.

And stopping,

once started,

was always an adventure.

In the summer it wasn’t so bad,

but when the mat got soaked by our sweat,

it was a whole new realm of problems.

So I learned to ground.

To brace against the ground for launch.

To screw myself into the ground to block.

And I had a hell of a funtastic time!

You can tell,

forty years later and I still think about the lessons there.

Not a polite place, except for the human beings.

A rough place,

a ghetto for the feet,

but it taught them something.


when I have the mothers lift their nostrils

at the idea of their little precious

getting a bruise,

or not hydrating properly

(designer water only, please),


heavens to Betsy…

a bloody nose.

I laugh.

I keep it on the inside,

but I laugh.

And I think of the times when it was snowing,

and I ran out in bare feet to work out.

Or working out on gravel,

or on some lawn slick with dew…

it’s the ability to sink my weight,

and I didn’t learn that at the kenpo place.

I learned a lot,

but the true grounding happened at the Kang Duk Won,

where it was man against elements,

and if you didn’t learn…

the elements kicked your beautocks.

Oinkley donkey,

I wrote a bit more at the Church of Martial Arts

about the first level (postulant, or seeker),

got the whole line up for the first level,

but it will be a week or so before I get donation buttons up there.

If you are interested in the Church of Martial Arts,

I suggest you subscribe.

And if you’re not,

then don’t mess with it.

Just keep going with Monster Martial Arts,

and have a good time.

If you are interested in learning things about sinking the weight,

and the original Kang Duk Won system,

then head for

Let me make a brief point here…

when you take a lesson at a normal school,

you are shown the moves,

and not given much in the way of why the movement is the way it is.

You memorize the moves,

and the science consists of…

if you hit his head his head will go back so kick him in the…


if you kick him in the peanuts then he will lean forward and you can hit him in the face.

That’s about it for real instruction.

Think about it.

Most schools, that is exactly the way it is.

It’s exciting,

and they make it sound like a science,

but it’s not.

A real science involves actually learning,

lectures about scientific reasons,

discussions of physics,

how the body works,

how the bones twist,

and why.

That’s what I do,

but a lot deeper than that.

I get into the why of the why,

why this is how it works.

It’s a whole new level.

That said,

Kang Duk Won has a whole bunch of bonuses on it.

Check it out.


have a great work out!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s