I was wondering if an explosive forward movement can help in self defense to counter-attack an opponent, or to simply get to him before he surprises you with a weapon, or before he can even use the weapon he may have at hand.

I know that some people are faster at reactions than others, and it's not something easily done at the spur of the moment in general. However, there has to be something to do to be able to train quick, explosive closure type of movements.

What kind of training can help to develop this type of quick, explosive forward movement?

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    What kind of "explosive forward movement"? What kind of unarmed attack? What kind of armed attack? ... Your question is really unclear although I think there is a good question in there. Can you clarify what problem you are trying to solve? – Sardathrion - against SE abuse Jul 14 '14 at 6:53
  • I placed the question in general terms knowingly – shackra Jul 14 '14 at 22:43

"Closing the gap" unexpectedly is one of the major tactics in fighting, and with good timing can allow you to land a devastating attack even as the opponent attempts to hit you. You can potentially stayed clear of the business end of a weapon attack. There are several footwork patterns I feel are particularly important for this, each with different uses:

  • youtube a stepping, skipping or gliding motion as used for a long range front leg side kick, where the non-kicking foot steps to/behind the kicking foot - moving towards the target - then the kicking foot pushes off into the kick

    • this is a great technique for covering large distances quickly - it's a bit predictable, but if your opponent is charging too fast to dodge themselves, or doesn't have the skill to see what you're up to, it can well clean them up; a skillful and prepared opponent may jam your legs as the kicking leg tries to pass the support leg, tripping you over, or themselves close the gap to strike your exposed front side
  • youtube - very last move a sliding motion where both feet move forwards, and quite often angle or curve slightly away from the opponent so you pass to their side

    • this is the best movement for dodging an attack while advancing, and is a staple technique of aikido; with an initial movement straight towards the opponent you can draw their attack, then curve out away from their attacking weapon or towards their blind side to change the angles on them; this won't cover quite so much ground so tends to be used last minute, but has the least telegraphing of the steps I've mentioned
  • (looking for a video) the back leg stepping forwards explosively

    • this is a large commitment on your part, and if the opponent anticipates your movement and hits as you step they can get a very good hit in on you; it's hard than you'd think to step explosively and generate good power for the strike as you step like this... takes a lot of practice

For the second and third movement, a key factor in developing explosive speed is having the back foot angled and knee bent so the thigh extension drives the hips forward - if your foot is facing side on to the opponent you'll get less speed.

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    Outside of specific movements, I've also seen recommended standing sprints. Enlist a friend with a whistle. Stand at one end of an open space. When your friend blows the whistle, you have to sprint a short distance. You then rinse and repeat. It encourages you to develop the muscle memory to react automatically with full force. – Macaco Branco Jul 14 '14 at 12:36
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    @SeanDuggan: That's great - I often tell people that the best side-on fighting stance has the back foot maybe 30 degrees out from forwards and flat on the floor with knee bent; it should feel like you're ready to push off a starting block for a sprint. You want that back leg to explode and very efficiently propel you forwards. – Tony D Jul 14 '14 at 12:59

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