The term “bouncing”, often seen in Kickboxing, Muay Thai, Boxing, and Tae Kwan Do sparring in Martial Arts means something different than what we normally think of as bouncing. In MA it’s a very small motion that revolves around shifting your weight on the balls of your feet while lifting your heels off the ground to create a rocking motion as their entire body moves back and forth.
This is important because the movement masks the body’s tells of when an opponent or your character is going to attack and puts them in a position to stay mobile. Mobility is important, because the body’s ability to attack and defend is based on the ability to shift weight quickly, whether it’s dodging, punching, or blocking. No MA starts with the hands, it begins with the feet and training the body to work together.
It’s important to understand that most movies and television shows, we look to for advice on fight scenes will often show the actor as flat footed, instead of in constant motion. Flat footed is when the foot is flat against the ground, leading to stability in stance work but it also means the fighter’s movements are much slower.
This is actually a pretty safe technique, so try it out:
In an open space in your room, living room, or hallway, start by standing with one foot forward and the other behind on the line of your shoulders, the back knee should bend as you bring your back foot up onto the ball. This is called a “fighting stance” in the non-korean speaking version of Tae Kwan Do.
Now try it flat footed, then go back to the ball. Feel the difference as your body tips forward slightly from resting to active and you’ll start understanding what I mean. If you want to get adventurous try shifting your weight from the back foot to the front foot and then reverse it, do it slowly, then as you get more confident go faster.