Quit Moving Backwards When Training!

All right, so this is mostly for our reality-based self-defense fans. Any other sport science that trains, this isn’t going to work for you. Obviously if you are controlling the ring, moving backwards is a very sound tactic.

If you saw the Manny Pacquiao vs Floyd Mayweather fight, the fact that Floyd Mayweather could move backwards and had really good footwork made him dominate that fight.  No matter what your opinion is on it, Mayweather knows the boxing rules better than most people.

For reality-based stuff, for the “on the street” or “in real life” situations,  moving backwards is probably one of the worst training things you can do, and one of the worst habits you can build into your training.  If I have a knowledge of the space – I have unlimited space, I’m in a gym, I know what’s going on – moving backwards is safe because I know what’s behind me, whether it’s ropes, whether it’s mats, whether it’s the people watching, I have an understanding of what’s happening.  In a controlled environment, the environment doesn’t shift rapidly.

I have to take this and equate it back down to grade 3.  In grade 3 me and my friends figured out that if I distract somebody and one of my friends ducks behind them, if I push that kid, they will fall over my friend, and it’s a very good tactic.

This just doubles up with what we are doing now.  When you are training, you should move any angle other than backwards.  Backwards is the only direction you’re not going to get peripheral vision, backwards you can’t track, you can’t map, you can’t keep control of because we are forward-facing creatures.  We are designed to fight forward – through our evolutionary processes, the things behind us and beside us were always our friends.  We are pack hunters.  There was no need for me to worry about behind me because behind me was somebody on my team, somebody in my tribe, somebody who was going to help me hunt, or go to war.  All we had to worry about was up front. But now, with our training and all of the things we are doing, we tend to move backwards all the time.

In real life I never had free rein of space.  I always had curbs and parking meters and and broken bottles and bars and other people and their friends and traffic in the way.  Moving backwards is probably the most dangerous thing you can do.  I’m not saying you can’t do it, if there’s no other way to go and you have to go backwards, do it.  But it shouldn’t be plan A, just like dropping to the ground in a fight should not be plan A.  What you want to do is move to any angle offline, anywhere in space that exists where you can track with your eyes and turn.  Having somebody “watch your 6” serves a big purpose because it’s the only place you’re 100 percent vulnerable all of the time.

So as an example of this I was escorting an man out of the bar I worked at.  He was gonna fight me, that was his plan, as a doorman my job was to get you out of the bar, my job was not to fight you, so I was getting him out of the bar.  He was walking backwards, arms spread, in the “monkey dance”-type adrenaline response.  As he was walking backwards, he wasn’t paying attention to where he was going (we were on a very busy street). He stepped back off the curb, and as he stepped off the curb he got hit right by a cab.  The cab hit him, he hit the thing, he rolled over the top, fell over to the side  The guy luckily was fine, but again, he wasn’t tracking what he was doing. All of his focus, all his tunnel vision, his adrenaline response, was coming right at me.

So wrapping it up, if you’re training, try to drill that moving backwards is a flaw.  You should never be moving backwards, you should  always be aggressing towards the target, moving around, or laterally. Backwards should be your last resort.


One Comment

  1. Sam June 8, 2017 at 5:49 pm - Reply

    Floyd was moving side to side and making tight pivoting steps not moving strait backward. Not disagreeing with your general premise just saying that Floyd was utilizing footwork angles and distance management all things that I think are useful to learn in proper context.

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