If you have to cover a large distance in a short period of time, the lead step is one you may want to utilize. This step can cover not only distance but can also create height as your leap lowers towards the opponent.
Like the spin step, the leap step starts with one foot forward but ends up with the opposite foot forward. This direction of movement is linear and vertical, however.
Do you remember skipping as a kid? This is the way to start practicing the leap step. In skipping, to move forward you hop on the front foot before you land further forward on the other foot. That fun little hop gives you a bit of momentum and maybe a smile as well.
So the leap step is really a single “skip on steroids”. Let’s walk through the pieces of a forward leap step, starting from a right N stance:
- The main energy comes from your back leg. From the right N stance, your left knee shoots forward and upwards. With this momentum, let the right foot leave the ground.
- As your right foot touches the ground, step forward and down with the left leg into a left N stance.
Note that the movement starts with the back leg, not the front leg. Emphasizing an upward direction of the back knee will increase the height of your leap. (This can let a shorter person strike the upper body of a much taller person.) Emphasizing the forward direction of the back knee increases the length of the leap.
A retreating leap step is used to create a lot of distance in the face of an oncoming attack. From a right L stance, it will be the forward leg (that is, the left leg) that creates the momentum, and you should end in a right N stance much further back than where you were originally.
Here’s a short video on the forward version of the leap step; I’ll leave it to you to work on your own the retreating leap step. Have fun!