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This is actually relating to stage combat, but I suspect that traditional martial arts hold an answer to the problem. During a production of To Kill a Mockingbird, I need to fake stomping someone's elbow. I of course don't hit them with the stomp, but I need to strike the floor with some force to create sufficient noise and seeming impact. The problem is that I've been finding that the repeated impacts are causing a pain in my calf, specifically at the back near the knee. Normally, in a fight, some of the impact would no doubt be absorbed by my target, but I can't do that here. I've done the stomp with sandals, barefoot, and in the boots I'm wearing for the show, and it seems the same with all of them. Is there a trick to avoiding injury when the stomp doesn't hit a soft target, but rather the ground?

Solutions which I've tried so far are:

  • Doing the professional wrestling method of adding lateral movement to avoid it all being downward strain — it works to a degree, but it still hurts a bit, and it creates more of a scuff noise than a stomp.
  • Letting my foot rebound more from the impact — I was told that it looked unrealistic
  • Hitting with the ball of my foot and letting the impact spread itself down as I move to the heel — creates a double sound due to how my boots are.

I suppose that I can continue as I am — we open this upcoming weekend, so I've only got to do it about nine more times — but it bothers me that I apparently seem to be messing something up in the line of martial arts. Stomping a downed opponent was just something I never covered when studying, so I don't know much about technique.

  • What part of your foot is contacting the stage? Heel? Intentional ground stomping through stance transitions is a part of some kung fu styles, and it must be done in a way that makes the weight sink with the stomp and the entire sole should land flat. Perhaps you can repurpose this movement? – The Wudang Kid May 19 '15 at 16:18
  • I have been putting most of the impact through the heel, justifying it with that it absorbs the impact through lengthwise bones rather than risking a horizontal force on the thinner metatarsal bones. I started moving to a whole-foot stomp in part to create more noise and in part to reduce the pain, but I hadn't noticed a difference. – Macaco Branco May 19 '15 at 17:29
  • How extended is your leg, and how high up on the calf? If it's actually right at the knee, you may be hyperextending. – JohnP May 19 '15 at 22:02
  • It's at the top of the calf, right in the mass of muscle where it starts to taper from the fleshiest point. And my leg is slightly flexed, maybe a 170 degree angle. – Macaco Branco May 20 '15 at 2:07
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Put one or two inner soles in your shoe.

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    That's a surprisingly practical answer. I will try that. – Macaco Branco May 20 '15 at 9:48
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    I like to keep things simple. – Captain Kenpachi May 20 '15 at 11:40
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Ultimately, I went with another professional wrestling standby of hopping a half inch or so in the air and distributing my weight between the two feet. As a bonus, it also makes the stomp look a bit more vicious because I'm theoretically putting my whole body weight into it.

I find myself wondering whether this problem actually does exist for martial use of the foot stomp. Yes, sometimes your target will move out of the way, but I think that, usually at least, you know far enough in advance to be able to not stomp with full force or to absorb the impact with more of the rest of your leg, say by bending at the knee to change it into a foot-plant from which you can kick on the opposite leg. Things to consider...

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    I was experimenting with this, and I found that weight position relative to the foot either reduced or increased instability. The more I got directly over the impact point, the less stress I felt. The more in front or behind I got, the more I felt the impact. – JohnP May 26 '15 at 18:35

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