Excerpted from Principles of Unarmed Combat by Mark Jacobs
When using lateral motion to avoid an attack, the attack can come either in the form of a head-on charge or a strike. Against the head-on charge, an attack we’ve described as a “rushing tactic”, if the opponent starts his charge from far enough away, you may see him coming and be able to time a side stepping movement where you wait until the last possible moment before your opponent makes contact with you and then execute a lateral motion taking one step to the side with each foot to move your entire body out of the way. If the
opponent is charging hard enough and you’ve timed this correctly by waiting until just before he reaches you, it’s likely the opponent will sail past you exposing his back and possibly tripping over or crashing into any object that was behind you.
This move can also be done moving just one foot to the side and leaving the other foot where it was in the hope that your opponent will trip over it. However, this is probably the more difficult and dangerous option. The main goal in avoiding the head-on charge with a sidestep is to remove your body from the path of your opponent. By leaving your foot and lower leg in his path, you run the risk that it can still be grabbed, stepped on or otherwise become entangled with your opponent’s legs. When using lateral motion to avoid a strike, typically a punch to the head, taking a single sideways step with one foot is often enough to make your opponent miss. Sometimes seen in boxing when “slipping” a punch, an example of this would be when you start out facing an opponent at 12:00 with your left side forward.
If the opponent has his left side forward and throws a left jab to the center of your face, an appropriate slipping motion might consist of taking a single, small step to your right, toward 3:00, with your right foot while simultaneously moving your head to the right. Keep in mind, these are small movements—usually not much more than one foot in length—done to allow you to avoid an opponent’s attack while still leaving you close enough to counterattack. The left foot doesn’t have to move because it’s not necessary for it to move in order for the head to shift over this short distance. Also, by simply moving one foot rather than two, less time is needed to recover and counterattack. Read More