Footwork: The importance of footwork cannot be underestimated or overemphasized. Proper footwork is essential to balance, timing, movement, power, and defense. Poor footwork results in a lack of balance, a lack of power, awkward movement, and bad defense. A good stance is impossible without proper footwork. Good footwork is essential to power punching. The power of a punch is determined by the fighter’s footwork, by how completely the soles of his shoes grip the mat. Proper footwork leads to more punching power. Poor footwork results in less punching power. It is the same reason that athletes in other sports wear cleats. Cleats grip the turf. They allow golfers and baseball players to hit with power. It’s the same principle.
...Think about how the roots of a tree grab the earth to withstand hurricane-force winds, and how a house cannot stand without a strong foundation. Strength and power come from the bottom-up, from the ground up, from the earth. This is groundedness, the first principle in the Art of Boxing. The Boxer must be sure-footed at all times. The feet enable the fighter to punch effectively without getting off balance; to move gracefully and still be in position to deliver the next punch with equal effectiveness. Fancy footwork, like dancing, is of no value. It wastes energy and gives nothing in return.
Proper footwork allows the fighter to always remain balanced, ready to move, ready to punch. The fighter is constantly shifting his weight from one foot to the other, whether he is moving his feet or not. Punching power rises from the ground through the feet, through the leg and up into the torso. With all punches except the jab, the body torques, adding power to the punch. With the Jab, the body thrusts forward (except for the backward stepping Jab), also adding weight and power to the punch. In either case, the force consolidates in the shoulder, and explodes through the arm and fist, but the fist and arm are purely directional. They don't add power. They aim it. Big arm muscles add nothing.
...Before punching, concentrate on the feet. Feel the feet pressing on the ground. Press them into the ground. Make sure you are still in the proper stance, knees bent, able to lean left, right, forward and back. Sit deeper in the stance and then come up to the position that gives you the best potential for movement, torque, and thrust. At first this may not be the most comfortable position, but the stance must allow for the power of a punch to rise from the mat through the fighter's entire body to the fist.
...Again, feel your feet pressing into the mat. This is where all your power comes from. Learn to feel as though you are attached to the ground. Feel the strength and immobility of the ground, and absorb that feeling up through your legs into your torso. Visualize that you are like a tree, connected to the ground and just as solid. Nothing can move you from this spot. So it is that in training we begin with the stance, and the stance begins with footwork.