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When I started learning Shorin-Ryu, I remember my Sensei emphasizing footwork -- proper stances and stepping. He said that if your footwork is good, your Karate will be good.

That was some time ago, but last night when I was teaching beginners I found myself telling them the same thing. Without good footwork, it is pretty much impossible to become skilled at Karate.

Footwork gives you a firm foundation. Without a firm foundation, it is impossible to move well and develop power. (I realize that at an advanced level, being off balance is important, but even then good footwork is required).

Footwork is also important when it comes to shifting your weight. If your footwork is weak, your weight will shift in a haphazard way, and you will be unintentionally off balance.

Footwork is not something to teach in a hurried manner. If you skimp on teaching footwork when you have beginners, you will spend much more time trying to correct them later.

And as soon as you teach striking and blocking together with footwork, the student will tend to focus on the hand techniques and neglect his or her footwork. So just teaching proper stances and stepping is really important.


Charles C. Goodin