I have been told that I need to "get out of the way" of incoming kicks and change the angle to attack.

Can anyone suggest some drills to work on this when training alone? I have a wave master and a reflex bag (on a stand), an agility ladder, and I have plenty of room to do footwork drills, etc.

  • Welcome to the site! I edited your question slightly to make it more on point. Could you provide some details of what equipment and space (if any) you have access to? Feb 7, 2017 at 7:38
  • Hi! Thanks! I've got a pretty good setup st home- a wave master and a reflex bag (on a stand), plus plenty of room to work on a triangle-drill etc. Thank you.
    – ksp08
    Feb 9, 2017 at 0:53
  • Can you edit your question to add those details please? Feb 9, 2017 at 8:17

2 Answers 2


Yes! Work on your stances.

Your stances are responsible for facilitating getting you from one place to another. If you are in a stance, your thoughts should be "where can I easily move from here?", because that's exactly what your opponent will capitalize on. There are a few basic stances: back, front, horse, cat, parallel, natural, walking. Your school may have different names, but whatever they are, practice them, and get a feel for their pros and cons.

For example, is your weight predominantly on your rear foot? Then you're going to have difficulties moving back. Are you leaning forward? You're giving a gift to your opponent who can kick higher at you with less risk. Are you in a horse stance so that your back is back and you are squared with your opponent? You can move side to side, but moving forward and back is not so easily done. And so on. So for each stance, imagine an incoming kick or strike: where can you easily move and either get out of the way, or counter with something else.

There's no one perfect stance; good fighters change them up all the time, and that's the next thing to work on: changing up your stances. Move from back stance to front stance, and back again. Switch your stance, so that you are right-facing, and again so that you're left facing. Your goals in this drill is to change as fast as possible so that you shorten the time to change, that reduces the window of opportunity for your opponent.

In combination with practicing different stances, and changing stances, is to move your position while keeping your stance or move your position and change your stance. Either way, the key is moving. Slide up or back, slide from side to side. To hide your intentions to move, fighters often bounce on the ball of toes. Good fighters change the rate at which the bounce, but beginners need to be able to move and change stances while bouncing, and so, this should be a priority. When you get good at this, then work on changing your tempo.

If you are an absolute beginner, then you should do these things without a technique. But if you are intermediate, or more, experienced, you should be doing these techniques on a bag or with a partner (but since you qualified your question for solo work, a bag or air kicking is the way to go). So, work on your combinations, your aim, your defenses, your awareness of where you can go, your technique, your stamina.

Much can be done without equipment, you just need some space. But you get better mileage with a hanging or standing bag, and of course, a partner.

  • Thank-you for your advice. I sparred last night & tried to move away from attacks I could see (that's a whole other issue) but I guess I'm not pivoting enough- instead of moving to 90 off the attack in a stance, I was just sort of sidestepping but not enough to avoid the techniques. I'm working on not trying to block everything- I had bad defense as a gup then overcompensated, so now I get faked plus I'm taking too much contact when I fight high ranks. I will work on stances at home and set up some lessons with my master instructor to work on this. Thank-you very much for your help. :)
    – ksp08
    Feb 11, 2017 at 16:40
  • Hard to say what your problem is. But beginners often have this difficulty because they spar reactively. Meaning, their offenses are opportunistic and their defenses react to what's thrown at them - usually a block. Their stance locks them into the floor, so they have less mobility. If this describes you, then work on being light on your feet; be able to move freely into any of the 8 primary directions (so, 10:00 / 2:00; 3:00 / 9:00, 5:00 / 7:00, and 6:00 / 12:00 oclock positions. First two move behind and to the side of your opponent; next move to the side; next back and to the side.
    – user6519
    Feb 14, 2017 at 15:54
  • 6:00 you slide or step back, and 12:00 you slide or step into your opponent. These are all done using stances and steps. The lighter you are, the more you can achieve them. Once you are comfortable moving around, next is to throw a technique after moving; or throwing a technique and then moving. After that, work on feints and creating openings. These last two are advanced concepts you shouldn't try until you are good at moving around. Once you can move around, your blocks become "just in case" movements - or they can support counters. An advanced topic, so just learn to move comfortably
    – user6519
    Feb 14, 2017 at 15:58

I would highly recommend circle walking - the basis of baguazhang practice. Even without the later martial applications, circle walking has improved my footwork and ability to move the body quickly as a unit, among many other benefits. And it is well known that a baguazhang fighter who has mastered the art is very hard to find - this doesn't happen overnight, of course - but if you want to be as inaccessible to your opponent as possible, I can think of no better martial art than baguazhang, and it's easy to begin with simple circle walking - it delivers powerful results, especially in terms of circling, stepping and turning.


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