One of the first things you must learn when striking is how to move. Too many people make a good solid strike and just stand there. In Boxing, you may well hear a trainer shout out to the boxer – “don’t stand there and admire your work”. What that means in simple terms is do not stop and look at how good your punch/strike was, because there is a good chance that the person will strike back and even worse, have a group of friends who intend to finish what was started and certainly not with your best interests at heart. In Russian Martial Arts and certainly in what I teach, movement is an essential component. You want to feel that you are moving naturally and with the awareness of your surroundings.
In any combat situation you need to ensure you always have the advantage and that should start long before any confrontation has started. Be constantly aware of your surroundings, but do not be paranoid. Learn to spot threats before they occur. Now there will be situations where you may be unable to move because you are in a confined space and I have dealt with this in previous articles, but your first concern, when you can, is to EVADE.
Evasion is the best form of defense, especially when you don’t have to block any attack with your limbs; as of course, they are free to counter. A good way to practice is to make a strike and then step to the side – if you punch with your left hand, step to the left, so you strike and then step. From here you can work on a simultaneous strike and step. Now do the same with the right hand and step to the right. Remember this is a drill and not something you may do in combat, but what I want you to understand is the action of striking and moving. You must now practice all variations of striking and moving, so you can strike with the left and step the opposite way and then learn to bring your foot back. So if you strike with the left then you can drop your right foot back (assuming you are standing with both feet aligned) and obviously reverse with the right hand strike.
Now you can work with a partner and have him or her initially stand still as you make a strike to the head for example and then move as described above and also using your own ideas. Next have them strike you very slowly and see what feels natural in the sense of where and ho to move. Work slowly, as I always say at first and learn to feel the movement naturally – don’t try to manufacture it, just work on what you should do by feel and then have your partner throw multiple strikes – kicks, punches etc. In a short time you will learn to move instinctively and then you can add multiple partners to practice multiple attacks. I have learned from practical experience that movement is essential and in fact it has saved my life!