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‘The Stepping V-Stance’
Willie Pep Style Foot Work, for Street and MMA Applications


I've been really enjoying trying to implement this style of footwork into our sparring with varied levels of success. From your perspective can you answer any of the following:

Is this footwork style worth the effort?

If so what differences should I be aware of as far as street and/or MMA are concerned?

Any tips on drilling or practicing?

Sean, this is stick-fighting and knife-fighting footwork. The stepping V is nothing but your triangular dueling movement. Pep just took boxing back to its fencing roots and applied it. The commentator on this video is very good, correct and has no idea that FMA people are practicing this all over America, yet failing to apply it because they don’t train contact like you guys.

The Cruz example is clutch for you with your Tae Kwon Do background as the shuffling base of your triangle can be used to launch kicks. The temptation for a kicker like yourself adapting to other forms of contact combat is to circle, as range penetration efforts without a kick will seem mechanically retarded for you.

The answer to your question is that Pep shows how blade and stick fencing footwork adapts to the ring, which is harder to move in than the cage—so also applies to the cage—and is paramount on the street where weapons and numbers are the rule, not the exception.

Two things about Pep’s specific style should be mentioned:

He did not hit hard, had a horrible KO percentage because he used triangular movement. However, in a knife fight power is not important. What he is showing is how to use boxing as knife fighting practice.

As far as sports, Pep’s style works better with MMA than boxing, because the shuffle step can be used to launch kicks and the head drop to the hip—which he did a lot—could be used for a takedown.

For knife fighting and boxing harder hitters, study Pep.

For MMA applications look more to Cruz.

In the combat space, circling is generally a passive surrender, coming straight on is stupid, and angulating is dominating. Angular foot work allows the person without the strength-power advantage to dominate the combat space. Circling requires him to be tall and coming in requires him to be more powerful. This is why weapon fighting exposes the truth in combat more completely than other forms, as every sharp blade is deadly.

Letters from Planet Meathead: A Fighter’s View of Postmodern Physical Culture

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