Advancing Your Footwork: Training Videos Included

In our previous two posts we covered the Foundation of Footwork and Principles of Fighting.  Now it is time to combine those skills and start learning how to use them in a fighting scenario.  Here are some intermediate drills to start building your skills up.

Many forms of martial arts use a footwork star to help with placement and spacing.  When it comes to attacking and retreating it is important to attack and retreat on different lines.  This optimizes your rate of success allowing your feet to become part of your defense.



To get started the Sawtooth Drill or Circle Drill #2 both make great warmups.  They help develop the muscle memory needed for the next step in this training.  Ideally you want to be able to use these stepping methods without having to think about them or look down on the ground to make sure you are in the correct place.

The next step is to get your footwork synchronized with the timing of your opponent.  The Elastico Drill and Speed Drill Part 2 are the building blocks for this next drill.

Pendulum Drill


Even though this drill is borrowed from another fighting system the concept is incredibly useful for armored fighting.  When applying these principles to other weapons keep your range in mind.  Longer weapons are better at longer distances and shorter weapons are better at closer distances.  However, the ebb and flow of fighting is universal across the different styles.

This article gives you a preview into the type of training found at Ironside Medieval Combat.  If you like what you see come give one of our classes a try!  We also offer online classes for those of you who live far away – Sign up for Online Classes.

We would love to hear from you. Let us know if these drills are helpful.  We also take requests for anyone wanting to learn more.  Find us on Facebook for all of our latest and greatest updates.

Principles of Fighting: Timing and Flow

One of the principles of fighting is timing and flow.  Timing is knowing when to apply your techniques in a fight.  Flow is the easy in which you shift from defense to offense, and from one combination to the next.  The application of these principles are the first steps into becoming an intermediate fighter.  Beginners are working on getting the basic steps and strikes done correctly.  Intermediate fighters start working on the application of those techniques.

Learning timing can be a little tricky at first.  Many fighters get impatient and want to boss the fight.  It is important to choose a pace setter for this drill.  This drill is about learning the timing of your opponent and when to time your advantage.



This drill is from new instructor Nelson Pinto. Elastico is an escrima drill. Escrima and unarmored sword fighting can teach great instincts, especially for a fighter that likes to play the range game. Elastico, in Portuguese, means rubber band and is referring to the back and forth movements of this drill. The version of the drill shown in the video is a beginner level drill. Once fighters get more experience then footwork and movements are added. When learning this drill have fighters stand so far away from each other it isn’t possible to touch one another. The first fighter leans in with a strike (it doesn’t matter what type of strike). The second fighter leans back as if they are dodging the strike. As soon as the first fighter’s strike passes the second fighter should lean forward to answer with their own strike. Remember the first part of this drill is about timing, going from defense to offense.

Once fighters are comfortable with their timing they can start to add variety.  This next drill incorporates a block and counter stike pattern. Practice the sword strikes without movement first before adding in Elastico and Footwoork.  Remember the purpose of drills is to form correct habits and build muscle memory.  That can’t be done if you rush through these.

Speed Drill


Ideally this drill should be done with a shield, however, we filmed it without shields so you could see what is happening better. This drill is designed to train muscle memory for going from defense to offense very quickly. Keep in mind a drill zeros in on very specific skills. The focus for this speed drill is one block and one strike. In Escrima the block is called the roof. As soon as you make the block drop your elbow to your belly button for the strike. Once you get the strike immediately bring your sword back up for the block again. As you practice this drill get your shoulders and body rotation into the timing. One should never fight with just their arms. The more you over exaggerate the motion when you are doing this slow and learning the easier it will be to train the smaller movements with speed.

When you get all of this down you can start to blend in other skills such as footwork.  Here is a way you can incorporate footwork with this specific drill:

Speed Drill Part 2: Adding Footwork


This drill is taking the striking movements learned in the Speed Drill combined with the steps learned from the Sawtooth Drill. Ideally you will want to work with a partner for this drill. However, it can be done with a training pell as well. Your partner will not move their feet in this drill. They are going to throw an on side strike then block your strike. You will start by blocking, then step in a direction to throw your strike. This is developing your transitions from defense to offense along with learning to take advantage of your opponent’s momentary weakness as they recover from their strike.

This article gives you a preview into the type of training found at Ironside Medieval Combat.  If you like what you see come give one of our classes a try!

We would love to hear from you. Let us know if these drills are helpful.  We also take requests for anyone wanting to learn more.  Find us on Facebook for all of our latest and greatest updates.

Footwork the Foundation to Fighting – Training Videos Included

Footwork is one of the most important, and most neglected aspects of fighting.  Footwork is literally the foundation that all the rest of fighting techniques is built upon.  These drills can be incredibly powerful if practiced with focus and intent.  These drills are just a piece of our overall training system called Iron-Warrior System.

When it comes to training we developed the DCV approach.  D stands for define.  C stands for choreograph. V stands for variety.

When it comes to learning footwork start with the basics.  This first drill is a simple stepping method that keeps the same leg in front at all times.  This allows you to keep a strong defense when moving forward or backward.  The Defined skill is forward and backward steps.

Basic Footwork Part 1

Footwork: Accressere and Descressere


The name for this stepping method comes from Italian sword work. Accressere means increase or advancing step. In practical application it is a small step moving forward or advance. Descressere means decrease or decreasing step. This is the choreographed part of the drill in a “perfect world” scenario.  Fighting in armor is different than fencing. When a fighter is wearing armor there is extra material and buckles on the inner thighs. That means it is important to keep your lets shoulder width apart to keep from getting caught on your armor. Also in a competition where grappling and multiple opponents is common having a wider base will make you more stable for surprise side attacks. Keep your legs shoulder width apart with your weight balanced evenly between your feet. Take small even steps forward and small even steps backwards. Small quick steps can actually cover more ground faster than slow big steps.

Once you have mastered this stepping method it is time to add some variety.  In this example the variety is changing the direction of the drill.

Circle Drill #1


To begin this drill you need to mark your center point with a cone, can of soup, hole in the ground, literally anything will work. Start with your dominant leg forward, and keep that leg forward. Take small steps around the center point. Make sure to keep your stance shoulder width apart, and never cross your feet. Make a full circle around your center point going both right and left. Then switch your feet and repeat the drill.

Basic Footwork Part 2

Once you have perfected the forward and backward steps it is time to add some new challenges.  The problem with the first skill is speed, or lack thereof.  The Accressere and Decressere steps are very defensive and very slow.  What happens if you want to move quickly?  Time to define a new skill.  These drills will help you develop switching your feet during a fight.

Sawtooth Drill


Often during a fight it is to the fighter’s advantage to switch their feet. This drill helps develop the footwork and balance for a fighter to switch their feet. Many new fighters have the bad habit of charging straight into a fight. This leaves them open to counter attacks without an easy way to retreat. Instead if fighters can switch their feet and step off line this will not only open opportunities for them to land a strike it will give them a way to retreat without getting hit. Remember drills are about doing  choreographed movements in a “perfect world” setting pay attention to details as you go through this drill.  When doing this drill keep your weight on the balls of your feet. Start with your dominate leg in front, and your feet shoulder width apart. Step back with your dominate leg, so you are standing square. Then step forward with your non-dominate leg. Your non-dominate leg should step in the same place the dominate leg started off. Repeat this pattern as you go down the line.

Once you have mastered this stepping method it is time to add some variety.  In this example the variety is changing the direction of the drill.

Circle Drill #2


This drill is taking the footwork taught from the Saw-tooth Drill and shifting it to a circle instead of a line. This drill is still focusing on training a fighter how to switch their feet in a fight. Keep in mind drills are designed to work a single focus point or single skill. Once mastered these skills combine into a system. For this drill fighters will start with their dominate foot forward and the non-dominate foot back. They will step back with their dominate foot, both feet with be square to the center point of the circle. Next step forward with the non-dominate foot. At this point the fighter should be in a fighting stance with non-dominate foot forward. Step forward with your dominate foot. The fighter should be in a square stance close to the center point of the circle. Last step back with your non-dominate foot. The fighter should now be in the same stance they started in. Repeat these steps as you go around the circle.

These two types of stepping methods are a essential in creating a rock solid foundation for fighting.  Combined with sword strikes they make for an incredible fighter.  This article gives you a preview into the type of training found at Ironside Medieval Combat.  If you like what you see come give one of our classes a try!

We would love to hear from you. Let us know if these drills are helpful.  We also take requests for anyone wanting to learn more.  Find us on Facebook for all of our latest and greatest updates.

DCV Training Method

There is a difference between being a fighter and a trainer.  Amazing fighters don’t always make the best trainers.  Amazing trainers aren’t always the best fighters.  However, we are part of a sport where experienced fighters greatly out number trainers.  Fighters are recruiting friends and family into this sport and are trying their best to teach the new generation.  For everyone working on developing their own training methods I would suggest the DCV method.  D stands for Define.  C stands for Choreograph.  V stands for Variety.

Start with Defining the skill or problem you want to work on.  Do you have a fighter who gets tunnel vision every time he fights?  The problem with tunnel vision the fighter lacks situational awareness.  That means the skills you need to work on for this example are hit and run, creating space, and head on a swivel.  Now that you have identified your skills you will need to zero down with one at a time.

The next step is creating a Choreograph scenario for a “perfect world” setting.  It is important to train and practice for the skills you want.  That is where drills come in.  They may feel slow and boring, but you are training your mind and body for a specific skill.  To reprogram the bad habits into good ones.  There is no shortcut to this part of training.

When Choreographed drills start to get easy and everything is working perfectly it’s time to add in Variety.  Variety slowly eases the fighter back in to real world situations instead of the “perfect world” of drills.  Variety can be increasing speed, intensity, footwork, a new strike or block, maybe even add more opponents.

Here is an example of the DCV method in less than a minute.  I was working on getting better with blocking, or hand check, with my non-dominate hand.  The drill started with a simple attack and block, back and forth.  When it became obvious I had the timing down my instructor started adding variety.  Eventually our drill evolved into slow sparring and a drill I had started off not being able to do.

A big thank you to Instructor Nelson Pinto for the self defense training.  If you want to learn more about Instructor Nelson Pinto’s fighting style visit www.farang-alliance.org.

Closed Fourth of July

I have always felt incredibly grateful for being born in America. However, my pride in my country swelled when I wore the symbols of my country fighting in a world championship. When I stepped onto the field I was not Janeal Ironside I was team USA. When my teammates stepped on the field they weren’t East Coast verse West Coast. My teammates weren’t male or female. We were all team USA. We were all working as hard as we possibly could to bring honor to that title. It was one of the few times I felt truly connected to the men and women who had traveled across the ocean to represent this amazing place we call home. Once experienced you can never really leave. No matter how bad it gets or how much we disagree with the policies our leaders make we are still part of America. One of the things that brings us all together is the celebration of the birth of this great nation. With that in mind we are canceling our classes on the Fourth of July. Go out and enjoy this time with your family and friends. We will see you in class this Saturday.

1845 N Circle Dr Colorado Springs CO 80909 719-947-2844 info@ironsidemc.org M-Th: 5:30pm-9:00pm Friday: 6:00pm-9:00pm Saturday: 8:00am-12:30 pm