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The Foot Rule
Self-Coaching Boxing Basics

I am currently training an older man recovering from hip and knee surgery in basic boxing footwork. This has brought me to reconsider my coaching methods, geared as they are towards athletic young men. The following is a revised method for coaching basic boxing footwork, which is a four-way step and drag, in a way that should help serve as a self-coaching aid.


Stand, straddling a line on the floor, such as a tile line, seam in a concrete floor or sidewalk or a line of tape.

Step forward halfway with one foot, not fully extending in stride. Your steps should be short drop-steps no longer than your foot. The big toe of the foot should almost touch the line.

Pivot that foot 30 to 45 degrees so that the foot points across the line diagonally. This keeps you from destroying your knee when pivoting.

Turn the lead foot outward at the same angle.

Continue to look ahead. Do not face where your feet are pointing or you will have little power and could easily by kicked in the balls.

Knees are slightly bent.


Your hips and shoulders should be relaxed over your feet, not square to the opponent. This is very hard to cure in wrestlers and football players.

Your shoulders must be relaxed. This is very hard to cure in karate men.

Your hands must be raised, without raising tour shoulders or elbows.

Your hands must be slightly extended so that the arm describes a V. Spread your opposite hand like a fan, place the thumb on the shoulder [not the chest, big guy] and the pinkie on the forearm, to check that you have your guard properly extended.

Look through your hands, not over your hands.

The reasons for this posture and guard

-deny your vital targets from the antagonist your face

-to be coiled for actin, with no need to “chamber” or ready for an action

-facilitate side-to-side motion without readjusting your feet

-to facilitate pivoting

-to permit one to step around the opponent with the rear foot while keeping the lead foot close

-to permit access of opponent targets with the rear hand at full leverage


To step forward, you slide or heel drop the lead foot forward about the length of the foot and then drag the rear foot the same distance. This equidistant drag is the hardest thing for people to learn.

To step to the left, you move the left foot to the side and drag the right foot an equidistant space.

To step to the right, you slide the right foot first and then drag the left foot the same distance you stepped with the right foot.

To step back, slide your rear foot back and drag the lead foot an equal distance.

To pivot, grind the ball of your lead foot into the floor, relax the rear hip and as you pivot, let that rear foot drag around.

To step around, leave your lead foot where it is and step or slide the rear foot behind the opponent, pivoting lightly on your lead foot with an open slide, not a heavy grind.

To check your posture one need only do two heel slides:

Slide your rear foot forward. If the heel hits the lead heel or lead toe, you have disabled your rear hand and your lateral stability is compromised.

Slide your lead foot across. If the lead heel hits the toe of your rear foot than your feet are too close together and your lineal stability is compromised.

It generally takes a healthy young man 2 to 6 weeks to achieve a default relaxed boxing posture.

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