The Foot Sweep: Making a Classic Martial Arts Technique Relevant

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The Foot Sweep: Making a Classic Martial Arts Technique Relevant

One of the huge benefits of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) training has been the modernisation of the martial arts. This is definitely a good thing because modernising the martial arts helps with improving training methods. There is one drawback though. Namely, there are a few old school (so to speak) martial arts techniques that can become somewhat forgotten due to the emphasis on MMA. One such technique would be the classic foot sweep.

Foot SweepThe foot sweep is found in scores of traditional martial arts. It is not commonly taught in many MMA programs and this is unfortunate. It is perplexing though since the foot sweep is found in both Muay Thai and in Judo, two arts that are a major part of MMA training. Granted, many Thai boxing classes opt not to teach the foot sweep due to the injurious nature when a foot sweep is performed as a kick.

So what is a foot sweep?

We are getting a little bit ahead of ourselves here. A foot sweep is a takedown or partial takedown performed by pulling, kicking, or otherwise dragging an opponent’s foot. In Muay Thai, this is traditionally done by kicking a fighter’s ankle as a counter to his kick. Since he is on one leg, the foot sweep is quite dangerous.

That said, there are other times a foot sweep can be performed and done so in a far less dangerous manner. Off balancing an opponent and dragging the foot can take him off balance. In a self-defense situation, someone may try to grab you, you could sweep his foot out making it very difficult for him to move efficiently and you can quickly run away. Of course, in more serious situations, the foot sweep could be used to break the structure of an assailant so you can strike more efficiently. Often, this is a technique used in traditional Muay Thai, but trained fighters know how to counter so they will not get knocked over all that easily.

One thing about foot sweeps is they require an understanding of the proper angles to hit in order to disrupt the opponent. If the angle (often based on the triangle position of how the person’s stance may be), is hit correctly, the person will fall over. Often, it is necessary to attack the feet in combinations in order to hit the correct triangle point. Each time an untrained person struggles to escape a foot sweep, he/she will become more likely to be swept.

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