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Friction: the best way to move during a fight
In terms of spatial movement, we have already mentioned some of the most important aspects to consider:
Static and dynamic balance (read How to improve balance: tricks and exercises and The concept of Dynamic Equilibrium)
Rooting (read Kung Fu rooting: the pyramid concept)
Basic footwork (read [restrict]Footwork methods[/restrict])
Note - This article has been asked by one of our Core Course practitioners on Patreon (see how to attend our home study classes here Learn Kung Fu online: a beginner-to-expert course).
Now, it is time to address the topic related to the friction with the ground: is it better to jump or to remain attached to the ground? When? Why?
The friction with the ground
4 reasons why is wrong to jump in combat
In many martial arts and combat sports, the fighters choose to "continuously jump":
In certain contexts (especially the sport-related ones, read The 6 types of martial clash), it could be a good tactical choice (we are fast, dynamic, we can impose our inertia, etc.)
But in most cases, we have to inevitably face decisive issues
Let's see some of the limits of the "uninterrupted hopping":
We are easy to move - When we are completely off the ground it is very easy to move our inertia; we have no grounding and techniques like the throws become incredibly dangerous (read also The 3 phases of a throw)
We consume a lot of energies - Jumping for an entire fight, against a good opponent, consumes a lot of energy; to do it we need a level of preparation that only professional athletes have (and that even in that case, they can maintain for a limited time)
Our mobility is limited - When we are completely off the ground we cannot change direction or move (this means that, for example, we could not be in conditions to avoid a striking technique); if we jump all the time, it means that almost 50% of the time we are not in a position to move as we want
We are slightly more predictable - If we jump continuously, we are much more subject to the direction of gravity; this means that, in relation to points 1 and 3, a good opponent will be able to take advantage of our forced vertical mobility (even only to increase the strength of an attack, adding it the inertia of the fall)
We continuously risk an incorrect landing - No matter how skilled we are, outside a dedicated environment (eg. a ring), in an unorthodox scenario (in a self-defense situation), every time we jump while moving, we risk landing on an unexpected surface or obstacle (eg. an oil stain); it is not about being clumsy but simply not being in a predisposed environment (eg. there may simply be little light, read What is the difference between real fights and combative sports?)
When jumping is a good choice
Jumping is not automatically always wrong, there are specific moments where it is without doubts the best option.
Let's make a few examples:
When we want to jump on the opponent
When we want to explosively avoid a specific attack
When we need to cover a big distance
When we want to change abruptly our pace
The common point of all these cases is the singularity of action, it is always 1-2 consecutive jumps and never a useless uninterrupted hopping.
Only during training we can (must) use long jump sequences (read 5 jumping exercises ideal for beginners / warm-up):
To build stamina
As a warm-up
To condition our legs to be explosive
What is the best way to move in combat?
The correct way to move, in 6 Dragons Kung Fu (but not only), is to "glide" on the ground:
Our heels need to be lifted ((they must gently touch the ground))
We must always maintain a balanced contact with the soil (ready to express our rooting)
We must always be sprung, immediately and explosively ready to slide, jump, walk, run (etc.)
A note by Master Kongling - The inattentive observer might think we are hopping but this is not the case at all, our feet do not lift from the ground until there is a valid reason.
In-depth video courses
Combat mobility: how to - The secrets of high-quality functional footwork
Basic 6 Dragons Kung Fu Exercises - The best exercises to learn to move instinctively in the right manner
Advanced speed and reflexes training - How to build real speed (for combat purpose)
Static and dynamic balance: how to - All the steps to develop one of the most complex combat skills
How to develop a good timing - How to gain control over your pace and impose it on the opponent
Advanced combat tactics - The most effective strategies and tactics to prevail during a fight
How to rapidly learn Kung Fu: guard stance - A basic guard stance for combat
The weighted vest - A good training tool to use in combination with jumps
Reply in the comments and share your experience:
How do you move during a fight?