Motion Science

Level I * Lower Body * Foot and Leg Maneuvers

Foot and Leg Maneuvers are one of the Level 1 basics of Motion Science and one of the basics of Kenpo Karate. Maneuvers are specific movements used to evade, defend against, and/or attack an opponent. They involve traveling techniques using footwork as well as changing body positions and posture using the upper torso. This section focuses primarily on footwork maneuvers.

Following are the basic types of footwork studied in Motion Science.


Step Through-Walking the Forward Bow--Starting from a forward bow, step forward with the back leg  into the opposite forward bow as you plant down.  This can also be done moving in reverse. This maneuver uses the principle of back-up mass by itself.


Step Through - Walking the Neutral Bow--Same as above except step from moving from neutral bow to neutral bow. This maneuver combines the principles of back up mass and torque.


Twist Through--From a neutral stance, execute a front crossover and then rotate to a neutral stance which will result in the opposite side being forward. This maneuver separates the power principles of torque and back-up mass.


Back to Front Switch--Switching involves changing which side of the body is addressing the opponent.. For a back-to-front switch, starting from a neutral bow, move the front foot to the back foot and then move the back foot to the starting position of the original front foot.. This results in you being in the opposite bow (left to right or right to left). All switches can be done from the front or from the back.


Front to Back Switch--This is the opposite of a back-to-front switch. 


Jump Switch--This is the same as the above two switches except that both feet move at the same time; hence, you must jump. Make sure you do not change your height during the jump. The first two switches take two counts to complete, while the jump switch takes one.  It is a faster way to switch.


Step Drag--From a neutral bow step forward with your front leg into a wider neutral bow; then drag your rear leg the same amount of distance that your front leg traveled,   resulting in a return to the original neutral bow, one step forward. For a reverse step drag, step backward with your rear leg and then drag your front leg back the same distance. (Note: a push drag is similar to a step drag except it is done in one action and takes less time.) In step drags and push drags, the stance is opened first and then returned to normal.


Drag Step--This is the reverse of the step drag.  The stance is closed by bring the feet together and then opened to original position.


Front Cross Over--Cross-overs are used to move forward or backward while maintaining the same side forward.  With a front cross-over, from a neutral bow, step forward with your back foot in front of your front foot, planting down with your toes pointing in the same direction as they had been. Then step forward with your back (formerly) front foot, planting down in the same neutral bow, one step forward. For a rear cross-over, step backward with your front foot in front of your back foot, then similarly follow with the other foot.


Rear Cross Over--This is the same as a front cross-over except that the foot moving first crosses behind the other foot instead of in front of it.


Cover--Covering allows you to turn and face an opponent behind you while  getting off of the line of attack. From a neutral bow, step with your front leg across your body (e.g., from a left neutral bow, step with your left leg to the right). Then turn 180 degrees to face behind you. You should now be in a right neutral bow facing in the opposite direction and slightly off of the original line.  This is used to move away from a rear attack.


V Step--The V step is used to move into an opponent to the rear. The rear foot, or foot close to the rear opponent closes to the front foot and then returns toward the opponent.  This allow the correct angle of entry to the opponent to be selected.


L Step--While the V step changes 180 degrees of angle, the L step is similar but changes 90 degrees of angle.
  Hop--Hopping might be required if your starting position has you (temporarily) on one leg, such as in a crane stance.
  Jump--Jumps might be required if both feet are susceptible to a single strike or if an obstacle needs to be avoided.
  Sweep (varied)--Sweeps are used to attack the leg or legs of an opponent to disrupt balance.
  Check (varied)--Checks are similar to sweeps except that instead of striking your opponent's leg causing him to lose balance, you block his leg, immobilizing it from striking you.

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