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I've posted a new blog entry about the ranging footwork warmup drill we practice in Counterpoint Tactical Systems. Please check it out. New Saint Louis Counterpoint Blog post. Click here.

Views: 1177

Comment by Jerome Barber, Ed.D. on November 30, 2012 at 4:17pm


Springfield FMA Seminar Summary

 November 29, 2012 · 5:00 pm

Mr. Eric Primm wrote:

Ranging footwork is part of my personal training. I learned this drill back in 2010 at my first Iron Mountain Camp and have used it regularly ever since. It is a great warm-up exercise that reinforces the three primary footwork patterns we use in Counterpoint Tactical Systems (CTS). In this drill, you start at the center of the asterisk (see sketch above), and then take three steps along each of the numbered lines. The first step is short, the next longer and the last a little longer. Then you return to the center  of the pattern and start again down a different numbered path. It’s also important to switch the starting side. One day my first step will be with the right foot, and then the next time I’ll start with my left foot.”

The footwork  pattern described and the diagram presented are consistant with the movement ideas  from any number of FMA and Kenpo Systems that I have been associated with and I would only suggest that I would reverse the forward and backward designations.  The actual drill described is interesting  and I believe that I’m going to try it with several of my newer students to see if the results are similar to what  I have gotten in the past from my new students in terms of understanding and executing their evasive movements.

Mr. Primm stated that:

During the November Springfield FMA seminar, Master Whitson showed us this pattern and said that the pattern was also present in the CTS emblem. Master Whitson told us that there is no linear forward and back step in the pattern because we are working on getting off line of the attack.”

That idea might be true and works for Master Whitson, however, I have to say that I am from a different school of thought on the subject of linear stepping.   There are very clearly times when using the forward or rearward stepping maneuvers are preferred and very advantageous.    In addition I know of at least two (2) highly skilled FMA instructors who use linear movement, Gat Puno Abon Baet and GM Tom Bolden.  I will conceded that none of these folks used linear movements to the total exclusion of triangulation.

Mr. Primm also stated that:

90% of the CTS footwork is an attempt to get off angle from the opponent. Moving straight forward and straight back requires more of an adjustment than simply changing your position. With linear motion, you are just changing one aspect relative to your opponent – distance; by employing angular footwork, you have the option to change multiple aspects in relation to your opponent – distance, angle from opponent’s centerline, sight line of opponent’s weapon, etc. While linear footwork does have its place, the CTS practitioner prefers to step on the angle.”

Again, I have to disagree with the writer and his mentor Master Whitson.  When one is moving in a linear direction, you can most certainly change at least two (2) aspects of your body relative to your opponent and you can add a 2nd linear movement as well, resulting in a compound shifting of your body position relative to your opponent.   I have used that double movement frequently against overhead attacks.

I’d be happy to go out to St. Louis and give a seminar on linear movements in combination with the forward and reverse triangulation movements.  I am not saying that Master Whitson is wrong in his approach, because I have seen and heard this disagreement over in the worlds of karate vs. kung fu. It’s a variation of the hard vs. soft and linear vs. circular motions arguements.


Jerome Barber, Ed. D.

Comment by Eric Primm on November 30, 2012 at 5:39pm


Thank you for your comments. Just to be clear, I don't claim to speak for Master Whitson; I can only speak to my own experiences in CTS. If you're interested in his thoughts, he can be contacted here at his website.


I think that based on your comments, my blog post wasn't as clear as it could be. When I talk about linear footwork, I am talking about the missing line in the drawing that I made. If you look at the CTS emblem, this line is represented by a stick while all the other lines in the emblem are represented by blades. The ranging footwork drill is represented by the blades in the emblem.


You are correct that the use of linear footwork is appropriate at times. In Counterpoint Tactical Systems, we do have linear footwork. The drill I'm describing above does not contain linear footwork. This drill does not contain all of the footwork in the system; it just contains the primary footwork that we start learning at the beginning of the system. This drill is also stationary, and it is focused on teaching body position with respect to range.

I also don't mean to convey that angular is the only correct way to step. As you've noted, it is not. Right now, I'm learning seguidas from Pekiti Tirsia as part of my curriculum level of the system, and the movements for it are straight forward and straight back. I am still learning how to mix and match this with the primary footwork that I've learned. In most of the lessons and seminars that I've been in, we have worked angular footwork. In most of the sparring I've watched and participated in, we have worked angular footwork. It is not the only footwork.


I, again, need to clarify my writing in that I meant only footwork. I agree with you that adding a second motion compounds your movement. Again, for this particular drill though, we are stationary.


Thanks again for your comments. I will go back and look at ways that I can clarify my blog post.

Eric Primm

Comment by Jerome Barber, Ed.D. on December 1, 2012 at 12:12pm

Hello Eric,


Thanks for your clarification.  I understand that you were conveying an idea that came from Master Whitson and not speaking for him.  That said, I simply wanted to suggest that there are reasons for and uses of linear movements.  Over my 35 years of training in FMA and Kenpo as both a student and teacher I have used the 8 directional format for both footwork and striking drills.


From my perspective, not using the four linear directions limits the response possibilities of a defender too much, while making his actions very predictable.  With regard to the missing vertical or north-south axis in your diagram, that did not bother me because it could be representative a 7 strike – 7 position system of one of my instructors and that I have taught to several of my students who were adverse to moving straight forward into an attack as a counter-measure.

We can discuss these things and others as long as you want because I love a good exchange of ideas and information.  The key is to get everyone on the same page so that any real differences can be clearly seen and understood.    We can also discuss these things in greater detail via private e-mails if you would like to do that.

For instance I would be interested in knowing why you designate angles 1 and 2 as reverse triangles and angles 5 and 6 as forward triangles if your point of origin is in the center where all of the lines meet.  For me the terms would be flipped.  The numbering is not as important and could be kept as is or flipped.



Jerome Barber, Ed. D.

Comment by Eric Primm on December 11, 2012 at 3:41pm


I'm working on a blog post based on your last comment. However, due to work and life obligations, I haven't been able to put it up. But you've given me a lot to think about. I hope the training is going well.



Comment by Jerome Barber, Ed.D. on December 12, 2012 at 11:21am

Hi Eric,

I fully understand work and life obligations.  They get to all of us and in training philosophy, I always told my students that family comes first, work/school second and training third.  One of the obligations of a senior teach is to give advice based on their own observations and experiences and if I was able to do that then we both beneifited from the exchanging of comments.  I'm looking forward to your next post.  Good luck with your training.


Jerome Barber, Ed. D.


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