Footwork Trilogy Conclusion (diary entry)

Hook Punch (close) darker



This morning’s lesson was my client’s final two hours of a 10 hour course on Western Boxing for Martial Arts Cross-Training. We revised head movement, which had been his primary interest when he first booked my services, and then focused the majority of the lesson on integrating footwork patterns. We looked at the L-Step and then the V-Step. Regular readers will note that this completes the trilogy of my lessons this week that have focused on the latter footwork. This subject was covered in my MMA class, yesterday’s Muay Thai class and now in today’s Western Boxing class. As promised in my last diary entry, here is rundown of my interest in this particular footwork:


I was first introduced to the v-step when I was training in Muay Thai under the now sadly deceased Tony Hayes (two-time British champion and founder of Hayes Muay Thai/Warwick Warriors gym). Tony had a Western Boxing background before he studied Muay Thai, which might have influenced his terminology and approach to some degree. However, he was an ardent preacher of Muay Thai’s value over virtually anything else, so I doubt he would have liked me saying that too much. The v-step was a big part of his training method and made a lot of difference in the way I moved. We used it at the stand-up range and especially in the clinch. Later, when Matty Evans began training me on a one-to-one basis I was taught the value of using angles. This came up in the Fence training and specifically in to stand-up grappling. I later took this over into some of my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training, discovering it was hugely beneficial prior to going to the ground. Whilst on the ground I had a few light-bulb moments where submissions became a lot tighter and more effective when angling the hips. Finally I learnt it with more intricacy in Western Boxing when I began an instructor course with Tommy Thompson’s TVP. As I began developing my own teaching, I have seen the massive importance of standing off an opponent or enemy’s attack line during most stages of a conflict. Looking back to history I have learnt so much simply by watching the likes of Willie Pepp use v-steps to create a triangle of pain for his opponents. The v-step works brilliant at most stages of a fight, addressing both attack and defence. It has few weaknesses and is very adaptable.


However, we first trained the L-Step. Taking our influence mainly from Sugar Ray Leonard, we focused on a defensive strategy. We used the straight hook aka hooking jab to set up a series of jabbing punches coming in high, low and then back in with the straight hook/cross combination on the L-Step movement change. We also looked at feigning before turning and finally added on a slipping combination at the beginning of the drill.


Next we moved onto the previously mentioned V-Step and addressed attack, defence and shortening the movement. The lesson was finished with two rounds on the focus mitts, putting much of the control in the fighter’s hands as he dictated footwork.


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