Tsugi Ashi Keri refers to kicks that incorporate a shuffling movement as part of the kick delivery strategy. Shuffle kicks typically involve a rapid movement toward or away from your opponent. This movement is initiated by lifting one leg slightly and then concurrently pushing with the opposite leg. This allows the lifted leg to glide forward or back while only in slight contact with the floor. It is a very rapid and efficient way to move forward or back.
All of the kicks in this section are performed by using this (or a related) shuffle motion to initiate the kick.
Tsugi Ashi Mae Geri
This kick is performed by lifting the front leg and pressing forward with the back leg in a typical shuffle movement. Once the front leg lands again your weight is shifted to this leg and the back leg rises to deliver a Mae Geri. The primary use for this movement is to close distance and then strike with a kick.
When you shuffle ensure that your hips and shoulders are aligned directly along the Octagon 3-4 axis. If not your center will be misaligned and your structure could be affected upon impact with a target. Without this proper alignment, your hips cannot properly support the forward-directed motion of your kicking leg. Pay close attention to these alignments. Your Center Plane should be focused directly on your opponent’s Mother Line.
Tsugi Ashi Yoko Geri
The shuffling movement for this kick is a bit different than the typical shuffle maneuver. Here the front leg lifts quite high and the back leg presses forward so that it lands in the same position as the front foot had previously occupied. A Yoko Geri is then delivered using the front foot.
Your weight must be shifted forward as you shuffle so that you do not lose your balance upon landing. You might practice just the shuffle aspect of this kick by keeping the knee bent and not delivering the kick until you can do this part of the sequence correctly while maintaining excellent balance.
You must be careful not to deliver the kick before the back leg has safely become rooted again or you risk being thrown severely off-balance. It is possible to kick while both legs are off the ground, but that is a different kick that you will learn later. For now, ensure the back leg is firmly planted before delivering the Yoko Geri.
When practicing this kick you would normally return by shuffling back to your original position. This may not be wise in a conflict where it may be important to immediately return to a position with both feet on the ground or where you identify an opportunity that can be exploited by moving forward.
Tsugi Ashi Mae Mawashi Geri
This kick employs the same shuffle strategy as the Tsugi Ashi Yoko Geri but a Mae Mawashi Geri is employed as the kick. As the shuffle is occurring the front knee is positioned so that the subsequent kick can be immediately delivered to its target. This is best accomplished by thinking that the rising front leg is pulling the back leg forward. In other words, the front leg is forcing the back leg to shuffle forward. Now when the back leg reaches its destination the front leg is fully prepared to kick.
Tsugi Ashi Mae Ashi Geri
The Tsugi Ashi Mae Ashi Geri is related to the Tsugi Ashi Mae Geri, except that the front leg is used to kick instead of the back leg. The shuffle pattern used is the same as that of the Tsugi Ashi Yoko Geri. This is used to both cover distance and strike with a rapid front leg strike. The Tsugi Ashi Mae Ashi Geri is often used to strike a retreating opponent or someone who is simply backing away. It is also often used in combination with a regular Mae Geri. The shuffle version is used and then, as the front leg descends and then becomes rooted, the back leg comes forward with a Mae Geri.
You should again pay strict attention to the alignment of your hips and shoulders relative to your central plane. Your hips and shoulders should be aligned with the local octagon 3-4 axis so that your kick can be readily delivered toward local angle 1.
Tsugi Ashi Tettai Mae Ashi Geri
With this kick, the shuffle pattern is reversed. You slightly raise the back leg and push backward with the front leg so that you shuffle back (‘Tettai’ means ‘Retreat’). When the back leg lands the hips are pulled inward to align with local angles 3 and 4 and the front leg raises to deliver a Mae Ashi Geri.
If practicing repetitive iterations of this kick then shuffle back to your original position. Otherwise, you may wish to move off of your opponent’s Center Line or somehow impact their structural integrity.
Tsugi Ashi Mae Ura Mawashi Geri
The Shuffle Front Heel Hook is delivered very much like the Shuffle Front Leg Wheel kick, but a Mae Ura Mawashi Geri is delivered instead. This is a fairly long-range kick and is often quite effective at masking the true purpose of the kick (opponents often think it will be a Tsugi Ashi Mae Mawashi Geri kick). However this kick can be easily blocked by an opponent who presses a forearm into the back of your extending thigh so this kick is best delivered when your opponent is off-balance, confused, using a low guard position, or out of position.
Tsugi Ashi Hiza Geri
This kick is quite similar to the Aruki Hiza Geri, except the front leg is used to step forward and the back leg then rises to deliver the kick. This movement is useful when moving to the side of an attacking opponent. It closes some distance, moves you off of center, and allows for an effective short-range strike. You may opt to pull the opponent forward and into the kick or to press their shoulders back to weaken the opponent’s abdominal muscles as a prelude to the kick.
The initial step can be done as a simple step or as a shuffle if you need to close more distance.