This may seem trivial to some, but burgeoning mixed martial artists always have difficulty with the fighter’s step (my own terminology). Hell, I see professionals that have limited mobility because of it.

The difference between the average pedestrian and a fighter is the pedestrian can walk forward without having to return to a particular position before they take another step.

The simplest explanation for this is that they don’t have to worry about getting punched in the face, or kicked in the thigh, or tackled to the ground.

Fighter’s assume a staggered stance (one foot forward, one foot back, feet shoulder width apart) so they’re in a position to defend against attacks or perhaps launch one of their own.

When you take this particular stance it presents the fighter with a whole new set of principles for movement that the average person never has to deal with.

The Normal Step vs The Fighters Step

When a person walks forward they transfer their weight continuously from one leg to the other.

Assuming that an opponent is within striking distance a fighter has to move forward in a much different manner.

The fighter has to take a smaller step forward, remain in his stance, and reset his balance before moving again.

How to Take a Fighter’s Step

Like I said before when a fighter moves forward it entails a completely different set of motions than what a typical person would have to deal with.

When I first started boxing my instructor would comment that I had my feet “stuck in the mud.” In other words I had a difficult time moving. Unfortunately he nor any of my other coaches ever articulated to me how to actually move my feet without looking like a clutz, so I had to figure it out on my own.

After spending a lot of time on it I came up with a fairly simple set of rules.

To move forward:

  1. Transfer your weight to your back foot
  2. Push (important!!!) off your back foot
  3. As you push off your back foot STEP with your front foot

What About Moving in the Other Directions?

To move backwards:

  1. Transfer your weight to your front foot
  2. Push off your front foot
  3. As you push off your front foot STEP with back foot

To move to the right:

  1. Transfer your weight to your left foot
  2. Push off your left foot
  3. As you push off your left foot STEP with your right foot

To move to the left:

  1. Transfer your weight to your right foot
  2. Push off your right foot
  3. As you push off your right foot STEP with your left foot

Some Final Thoughts

The typical MMA fighter will keep more of his weight on his back foot to account for takedowns and leg kicks so you may find it more difficult to move backwards and to your right (orthodox stance) at first.

That’s why you practice.

So get these steps down.

Speed up as you go and then add in your strikes.

Please forgive me if this has been too simplistic for most of you, but I see fighters who have trouble moving in certain directions all the time.

Having the ability to move in every direction comfortably will dramatically increase your options during a fight.