Saturday, September 20, 2008


One of the requirements I needed for shodan was combinations. I need to demonstrate 25 combinations right side, 25 combinations left side, 25 take-downs right side and 25 take-downs left side. My training partner and I were concerned about this part of the test. We decided to practice combinations and take-downs for at least one hour a week during the six months before testing. We would arrive at the dojo before class began and practice. Testing finally arrived and when we got to the combination and take-down portion of the test our instructor told us that he did not need to see them. He further explained that the reason he did not need to see them was because he watched our extra practice during the previous six months. I do not remember if I was disappointed because I was ready for the combinations or elated that I did not have to do that part of the test. A lesson learned...our instructor was always watching.

When I am teaching class, I try to include combinations as part of the basics. We line up facing our partner. The partner steps forward with a lunge punch or push to mid-section or the head. The defender evades the technique and then uses a counter-strike. When students begin this drill they do a great job of evading the technique. They have a difficult time selecting the counter-strike (punches, knees, elbow, palm heel, ridge hand etc.). Over time the students improve their speed and strike selection. The students soon discover their favorite and most effective techniques. As an instructor, it is rewarding to watch the students abilities improve. This drill teaches "live side/dead side" and the importance of "cutting an angle".

We modify the combination drill for more advanced students. We start from a natural stance. The attacker can choose which hand to punch or push, which foot forward and if they want to step forward or not. The punches were faster and the distance was varied. This drill improves timing, target and distance. We took this drill one step farther. After the initial attack and counter-strike by the defender, the original attacker was to grab the defender. The grab would depend on what opportunities were available (wrist, lapel, gi etc.). The defender would have to continue with an escape and counter technique. This drill teaches an important lesson. In a self-defense situation, we must remember to keep going until the threat is neutralized. In the earlier drills, we stopped after the counter-strike.

Don't you just love drills?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

True, a good instructor is always watching for that is his/her job.

pratice in this type of way is great for developing quick reactions and getting used to someone striking you. Coupled with sparring, it should produce some great results.