Some time ago I started what was intended to be a series of posts on the “Cross Stepping Post”. Part One introduced two of the movements and the intention was to let the reader try these out for a couple of weeks before covering the thing as a whole. Part Two gave some advice on learning part one. As with most of my plans, real life intervened and a year has gone by! Here is part three, the full sequence. (or rather, one side of it!)
For part three we will only consider the footwork, which is the essence of the thing. There are some hand movements that can be added but it is better to concentrate on your footwork, balance and co-ordination for now.
• Setup. Begin with your right foot slightly advanced and your left foot angled out. Your spine should be straight, your belly and bum pulled in. Your knees are slightly bent, your shoulders are relaxed and your arms hang down by your sides. Try not to look down at your feet. If you have some familiarity with Tai Chi or other soft or internal martial arts these conditions will be familiar. If you are not familiar with this body condition consult the Tai Chi section of my book or other good works on the subject. I have shown the lead foot pointing forwards, but the toe can be turned inward, a the lead foot may even be parallel with the rear.
• First Move: Step Back. Still with your feet in the starting position it should be possible to lift your right foot from the ground without noticeably shifting your weight. If you are new to this you probably cannot do this. This is one of the objectives you will aim for.
For the first move you raise your right foot and place it behind your left. Your calves should brush or touch. The right foot is raised “flat”, without the heel or toes lifting first. It is placed flat behind the left. This will take practice, so persevere.
• Second Move: Forward Foot Kick/Step. For the second move the left/forward foot is raised and the heel passes down along the inside of the right foot. As the left heel passes the right heel the left foot straightens up. The left foot is brought forwards in a sort of sweeping action and is placed on the ground. The final foot position is a mirror of the start/setup position. You should have maintained your balance throughout this sequence. The chances are you did not, but this will improve with practice.
Third Move: Forward Foot Across. For the third move, the left foot is raised and placed down ahead of the right. The heel is turned in and the toes out. The lead leg will touch the rear knee. Note that for the previous steps the forward foot has been used. The right/forward foot is stepped back. The left foot is now the forward foot and is moved in the next two steps.
• Fourth Move: Back Foot Kick/Step. The next move involves the rear foot, which in this case is the right. I think of this move and the previous as “the reset” since it takes you back to the setup position.
The rear/right foot makes a semi-circular step forward. Again, lift the entire sole rather than the toes or heel. Place the entire sole down. This move returns you to the start/setup position with your right foot advanced, although you may have changed location slightly.
• Transition. The next move is the “transition” step. This will take you from a right-forward stance to a left-forward stance. The action is the same as the third and fourth step, but in this instance the right foot steps before the left. The rear foot steps forward so that you are back in the starting position, but this time with the left foot forward. You now repeat the sequence on the other side. Your left foot steps behind the right. The right then withdraws and advances etc.
Here is the sequence as a single image you can print or load onto your phone.