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Joe Lewis Karate Systems
"Footwork: Drills and Applications"

Review by Kip Brockett

Item #: JL8905
Length: 90 minutes
Price: $39.95

     I have to give this tape, and just about all tapes by Joe Lewis, 5 stars. The production value is top-notch and the material is well produced and uniquely Joe Lewis.

     Although this tape has been out for quite a number of years (I couldn't find a date on it), the material is timeless. Another great thing about this material is that it's not style-specific and can be used by almost anyone.

     The presentation is in the form of a seminar. Mr. Lewis is accompanied by two assistants- Jim and John Graden, both 3-time members of the World Champion US Karate Team. Each presents different footing options:

  1. Mr. Lewis- barefooted
  2. John Graden- shoes
  3. Jim Graden- karate foot pads
     The tape begins with Joe Lewis speaking of the importance of footwork. He states that footwork is the biggest weakness of most fighters and that Bruce Lee once made an interesting comment:
"A fighter without footwork is like artillery that can't be moved."
     As many of you know or may not know, Joe Lewis studied with Bruce Lee privately during his competition days and the influence is felt throughout the tape.

     Mr. Lewis spends much time demonstrating and explaining strategies such as the importance of eliminating your opponent's advantage, setting them up with lateral movement, and the different uses of footwork such as offense and defense, throughout the tape.

     The actual drills focus on explosiveness, continuity of movement, and rhythm. There are linear, lateral, and circular footwork patterns used in both solo and partner applications. Firepower is also added so as to always understand the purpose behind the footwork. Mr. Lewis even adds a drill borrowed from a dance step to work both the lateral step and rhythm!

     Some of the steps he uses in the circular series remind me of basketball and football drills with its draws and fakes.

     The last thing covered is the Blitz. Two different types of footwork are covered as well as counters to this overwhelming offensive move. If you're not familiar with the Blitz, it's basically a charging attack which overwhelms the opponent with strikes. It's a very effective maneuver of which Joe Lewis is a master. Ways of setting this up are also covered.

     Mr. Lewis rounds out the tape with two pieces of advise to fighters:

  1. Make sure you are tougher than your opponent.


  2. Don't get hit.
     The only dissenting factor is that some of the drills covered in this tape overlap with other tapes in his series. There's enough difference in this material that it's nothing to complain about in my opinion, though. And at nearly 90 minutes, there's more material than in most tapes on the market today. At the time I bought this tape it listed for $59.95, but it appears Mr. Lewis has reduced the cost to $39.95 now. (See website) Even at $59.95, the material is well worth it.

     I'll just end this review by stating that I think this tape should be a stock item in every martial artist's library. If your level of fighting does not go up with diligent training and application of the drills and concepts presented, then it's not possible for you to advance your fighting skill in this lifetime! How's that for a sweeping statement?


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