‘Unsoku’ or ‘Footwork’ is an essential element to all ‘Fighting Arts’, and within ‘Japanese Budo’ it becomes part of the ‘Kihon’ structure. We see it within all the ‘Kata’, and it goes without saying that without it, ‘Kumite’ become ‘limp’ and most likely ineffective.
‘Unsoku’ is essential for being able to fight with ‘skill’ rather than speed and strength . We must, therefore, develop strong technique and good footwork. Using footwork efficiently allows for controlling distance and timing, for advantageous position relative to the opponent.
Good ‘Unsoku Waza’ allows us to be mobile, but perhaps more importantly, we can ‘load’ our technique ‘internally’ as opposed to reliant upon physicality.
We all know that we use pressure from the floor, causing a chain reaction through the body. This allows ‘power’ with less output of energy. We use our feet daily (those of us who are fully ‘able bodied’), without thought, yet within ‘Karate’ it often seems a ‘stumbling block’!
We need to save our energy (‘Tameru’), therefore, It is essential to connect the ‘chain’ from the feet, through the legs, torso and the attacking ‘weapon’. Any rocking backwards, or obvious ‘loading’ stops the instantaneous reaction, and potentially creates a moment of ‘Suki’ or ‘Kyo’ within us.