The entire point of footwork, whether it be forward, backward, or side to side, would be to create a better angle between you and your opponent. MMA drills that focus on footwork can successfully allow you to develop advantages that will allow you to execute your jabs, hooks, and uppercuts much more effectively. In the following sections, we’ll talk a little more about what those are.
Here are some of the more strategic footwork concepts that you should know as an MMA fighter:
– Step and Slide Forward: This footwork technique is designed to force your opponent to either strike or move, something that will show you their reaction time.
– Step and Slide Backward: This footwork technique is designed to draw your opponent closer to you. It can also be used to determine if they are an aggressive or defensive fighter.
– Advance Shuffle: This is used to surprise an unsuspecting opponent by closing the distance quickly and aggressively.
– Retreat Shuffle: This is more of an escape shuffle that can also be used to lure an opponent forward.
– Movement to Left or Right: Any footwork that causes you to move to the left or right would be used or the same reasons as moving forward or backwards.
Note that these footwork concepts are something that should be mastered before stepping in the ring. In the sections below, we’ll talk more about the MMA drills that you can use to better these areas of your game.
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MMA Footwork Drill #1: Step and Slide Forward
With this drill, start in your regular fighting stance. From here, distribute all of your weight to your rear as your take a step forward. Be sure to keep your hands up as you move. Land softly on your lead foot while sliding your rear foot forward. Be sure that you land with your feet about
shoulder’s width apart.
Portland MMA Footwork Drills: Thai Rhythm and Rear-Replace Rhythm
MMA Footwork Drill #2: Step and Slide Backward
With MMA footwork drills like this one, start in your fighting stance and slowly shift your weight to the front as your take a step backwards. Once you land softly on your rear foot, slide your lead foot backwards until you return back to your basic fighting stance. As you move, be sure not to slide your leg so far backwards that you break your shoulder’s width stance.
MMA Drills #3: Advanced and Retreat Shuffles
These are basically the same as the previous drills, with the only exception being that your speed should be constant. The key with these drills is to make sure that you apply both explosiveness and springiness when applying them, which can be done by keeping your weight mostly situated on the balls of your feet.