Training to be light on feet

Discussion in 'Taekwondo Sparring' started by Keigo, Aug 5, 2015.

  1. Keigo

    Keigo Member

    Hey guys, been awhile since I last lurked in these forums. Hoping to get some advice on how to get lighter on my feet. I noticed how some people seem to just 'float' while they bounce, like they are weightless. Just to give a better idea of what I mean:

    Comparing their movements, TPE seems so light and weightless. I've been trying to strengthen my core and legs (specifically glutes and quads), but I still can't seem to achieve this weightless bounce... Any tips appreciated!

  2. Mario Ray Mahardhika

    Mario Ray Mahardhika Active Member

    If what I see on that video is the same as what you see, then you need:
    • Jumping/moving training, done along with step training (foot switching, slide, forward, backward, etc.)
    • Jumping/sliding kick technique training, e.g.: idan, front foot (peta/ap bal), backward step roundhouse, etc.
    • Alternating kick technique training, i.e.: narae chagi, both forward and backward. Most if not all national athletes are capable of doing this technique very well that makes them look as if they're flying when doing it
    AFAIK no strength training needed for this, heavier muscle will in fact makes it harder for fast movement. You will need endurance training instead so that your legs don't get weary too fast.
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  3. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Well-Known Member

    Ladder drills.

    People who seem weightless don't bounce. They slip. Watch the movement again, the head hardly moves up and down, the weight is kept low and is lowered further when the slip happens. The weight is dropped and the feet pulled lightly away from the ground at the same time, reducing friction.

    Bouncing upward is tiring and inefficient. Slipping is the way to go, and I think it is what you are recognising in the vid.
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  4. Keigo

    Keigo Member

    Thanks for the replies guys. Sorry I should have been clearer, not sure if we're looking at the same movement now that you mentioned it heheh. Not sure if I'm using the right terminology, I understand slipping as more of a forward/backward/sidewards movement, and bouncing as more stationary, so I was referring more to moments like 4:36 - 4:38 in the video where they aren't really moving.

    I've been trying ladder and footwork drills, but I cant seem to achieve this sort of level:

    What I noticed is, he is able to maintain his centre of gravity at a pretty constant level, whereas mine goes all over the place I think. I also seem to have trouble hopping off a single leg, which is why I thought I needed to strengthen more :p
  5. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Well-Known Member

    This. Concentrate on holding your centre of gravity low and stable, and pull your feet up toward it. Actually moving the centre of gravity is extremely strenuous, especially when moving on one leg.

    For strength and explosiveness, plyometrics are the way to go.

    The 4:36 point in the video is pure explosive leg power built from exercises like this

    Though he is not the best example - every landing should be soft with plyo, the muscles should be absorbing and decelerating, that's where the benefits come from.
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2015
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  6. canadiankyosa

    canadiankyosa Active Member

    Keep in mind, plyometrics is not simply jumping. Plyometrics are loading the muscles and then springing up (just bending knees is not loading the muscles). Think of just that: a spring. If you just push down on the spring, it launches up. Now, throw the spring down and watch how high it launches. Plyometrics is not the initial jump up. Do any kind of pre-jump. On landing (lightly and with as little contact time as possible), bent the knees slightly and launch up again. A punch is the same thing. Before launching a punch, slightly tense the muscles and then punch while immediately relaxing the arm. Technically, moving the arm along the initial line is not needed to create power (example is the hook punch), but that is another topic. Lightness on the feet is gained by thinking feather and not rock. If you want to learn to move on your feet, any martial artist who wants phenomenal footwork will take up one thing especially: ballroom-style or waltz dancing.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2015
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  7. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Well-Known Member

    Or, a Taekwondoin can practice pure dedicated Taekwondo footwork and get much more applicable and efficient results.

    There is remarkable little similarity between ballroom and Taekwondo footwork other than coordination and practice is required for both. They are very different skills.
  8. canadiankyosa

    canadiankyosa Active Member

    Many top notch fighters and martial artists (McCann, Grover Christensen, Buresse, Lee, Dempsey, etc) highly recommenf dancing to promote lightness agility in the ring. The ones who do take dancing are said to progress much faster with even 6 months of regular dance lessons. I cannot afford them, but I might take them if I had $$$.
  9. Keigo

    Keigo Member

    Do you think hip stability exercises help with this? I have trouble with keeping my centre of gravity stable, seems to keep shifting.

    I'm able to land softly if I attempt only a single jump each time, but I get the same problem with that guy in the video when doing simultaneous jumps with as little contact time as possible. If I land lightly, I end up with lots of contact time. If I try to go for least contact time, I cant seem to land lightly. Any advice for this?

  10. canadiankyosa

    canadiankyosa Active Member

    Last edited: Aug 8, 2015
  11. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Well-Known Member

    And high level Taekwondoin spend their time practicing the sport they are training for because developing excellent footwork is part of it. It is one of the things you don't need to go outside the sport to learn.

    A lot of negative things can be said about competition Taekwondo, but poor footwork is not one of them.

    I'd save your money and your time.
  12. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Well-Known Member

    Hip and core exercises help. Practicing TKD helps. Sparring with awareness of COG helps.

    As little contact time as possible without creating a striking impact on the ground. Force your muscles to take the weight. We don't know your physical condition, so take it easy and consult a qualified trainer.
  13. canadiankyosa

    canadiankyosa Active Member

    An added note about "core" misconceptions. Since this is a, many times improperly, term used in exercise, people think it means doing crunches, planks (which are useless unless you plan to lay in that position), etc. There is much more to the core than the abdomen. obliques, and lower back. I would suggest reading up on it:

    He has some very good thoughts on many things we are taught. For instance, I can guarantee pushups being done by most, if not all students, in most fitness and martial arts clubs are done wrong.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2015
  14. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Well-Known Member

    This is one of the reasons why I said find a qualified trainer. The teaching structure of MA means it is full of people who have no idea what they are doing from a scientific perspective regarding physical development.

    Not an issue for me because I choose my trainers carefully and work every day to increase my understanding.
  15. Keigo

    Keigo Member

    Thanks for the suggestions, took me awhile as that was a lot to digest :D

    I've started on the first part (jump up and step down), but just thought I'd clarify on the second progression, do you mean to jump down backwards? Also that link on core misconceptions was a very good read, thank you canadiankyosa, I will probably try some of those exercises too.

    I'm not sure how it is like there, but here, it's hard to find a TKD instructor with professional qualifications in sports science etc. So I have engaged a personal trainer to help me better understand that aspect (she's also a TKD black belt!). I've been meaning to ask her about this too, but I've been missing my sessions lately :oops:
  16. canadiankyosa

    canadiankyosa Active Member

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