Training drills and tips

Here are a few of many hundreds of drills available.

Title: Bag and Staff Timing Drill iTip:

This is a three person drill. One person holds a body shield. The second stands off to the side with a staff. The third stands in front ready to strike the bag. The stick holder waves the stick about 6 inches in front of the bag in a quick, consistent pattern. The striker just punches and in the second round he just kicks. The third round should be a combination of kicks and punches.

Title: Multiple Bag Drill iTip:

Three to six people surround one person. Each of the people in the circle hold a body shield or focus glove at various angles toward the person in the center. The center person strikes randomly at any target. After any bag has been struck, the angle of that bag should then be changed.

Title: Rolling Drill iTip:

I've only used this drill for my children's classes. And I get requests for it all the time.

I have been doing padded weapons fighting for a number of years. Just recently I added a new twist into it. I put all the students in a circle and then I put two padded arnis sticks into the center, pretty far apart. I then call out 2 students. They have to run up to a stick and pick it up while performing a forward roll. They then get up and try to score a point on the other student that was called out. I usually do this to end my classes and once a point is scored then they're done with class for the day. The other student goes back to the circle.

You can do this drill two ways. 1. Make it a rule that both students have to be standing before a point can be scored. 2. Whomever gets the stick first and rolls up can try to score the point.

Eric LaLone

Title: Ninja iTip:

This is a fun reaction/blocking game for all Juniors (& sometimes the Adult enjoy this one too!!). You will need 10 to 20 small soft Sponge Tennis Ball size balls. Most toy stores sell these (they are very reasonably priced). The good thing about using these soft foam balls is that they are very safe, do not hurt and do not cause any damage when used inside your Academy/Practice Hall.

All Players assume a space within a pre-determined Combat Area. At the Command of begin/Hajime they proceed to move around the Combat Area and throw the Foam balls at each other(Ninja throwing Star style). As soon as a Player is hit oanywhere on the head, body or legs they immediately move to the perimeter of the Cobat Area and sit down with legs crossed. They can help to bowl the Ammo back in to the Combat Area for the remaining Players but they must not throw them at Players as they can not Score once they are out of the game.

Players can Dodge, Block, Catch and Throw the Balls at each other. If they are hit on the arms, from shoulder to finger tips they are safe. Only Head, Body & Legs = Out. To keep the Balls flying they are not able to hold on to any more than one Weapon(ball) at a time. The game continues until one player remains. The Ninja Champion!!. This game is great for reflexes and defensive Skills and footwork. It is important that the Players are honest and move out quickly as soon as they are hit on a valid target area.

Title: Round Kick Baseball Game iTip:

I heard about this exercise from an instructor friend of mine. We normally perform this drill at and outside gathering, or you need to have a large room. We call it round kick baseball !!! First you need one of those softball size nerf balls, which work the best. Pick your teams, set up 1st, 2nd, 3rd bases and home plate.

Just like regular baseball except the only bat you have is your legs. When the pitch comes to you throw the hardest round kick you can, and kick a home run. Now the little students get to throw the ball at the runner to get them out.The bigger students play by the rule of throwing to the baseman. For blue belts and above, to make it a little more interesting. They have to perform spin crescent kicks. We usually do this drill at our annual sunrise beach workout/cookout/fellowship gathering. Kick up some fun. Also, since I instruct nunchaku (Sahgn Jeol Bong in Korean) we can incorporate this same principle into, nunchaku baseball. But be careful of the bat recoiling onto your arms.

Title: Rolling with a purpose

I like to have students line up at one end of a mat with one person on the other end of the mat. The student will perform a roll that brings him/her to their feet within striking range of the opponent at the end of the mat. As the student comes up out of their roll the other student will simulate a striking attack. The purpose is for the rolling student to be able to block, counter, trap, parry, or evade the attack of the standing-striking opponent. After having rolled the student will stay at the end of the mat and be the attacker while the original attacker will proceed to the end of the rolling line. This drill is great for teaching students to come out of a roll in a "ready" position.

Title: Belt Sumo

I am not sure if any one else does this but you need 5 belts tied together and put in a circle.

Next you have the children(2) stand in the middle of the ring. They try and throw or push eachother out of the ring. The catch is they can only grab each others belt. The first one to touch the ring(belts) with their foot, step over the line, let go of their opponents belt or fall down loses.

The kids really love this game, we teach jiu-jitsu and this helps with their balance. Have fun!

Title: Shamu Method of Teaching Martial Arts

Taken from Ron Sell's iManual

On a plane from a recent speaking engagement I picked up a book from the airport's bookstore that explained the following story, I immediately related it to teaching white belts.

To teach a Killer Whale to jump over a rope in the air, the trainer first puts a rope on the bottom of the pool, each time Shamu swims over the rope he gets a small reward of some fish. After a while Shamu understands that if he wants recognition, he has to swim over the rope, so Shamu keeps swimming over the rope expecting to get some fish, at this time the trainer lifts the rope about 5 feet. Not enough to make a big difference and the rope is too close to the bottom for Shamu to fit underneath, so he continues to swim over the rope, and continues to get the reward. After a while the trainer lifts the rope another 5 feet, now Shamu has a choice between swimming over and swimming under. Every time Shamu swims under, nothing happens, but every time Shamu swims over the rope, he gets the fish. After a while Shamu learns that only when he crosses over the rope does he get the prize, so he does! Next the trainer puts the rope half way between the top of the water and the bottom of the tank, until Shamu learns to swim above the rope every time, then they place the rope at water level. Every time Shamu jumps over the rope, a reward, but, every time Shamu swims under the rope NOTHING! You see the trainer knows the importance of setting small attainable goals, and giving a reward for the completion of each small goal.

Just like Shamu, white belts need to be encouraged and given lots of praise. For instance, if a white belt hits a pad with a front kick and drops his guard, hits with the wrong part of the foot, forgets to yell, etc. It doesn't matter! He hit the pad! Give them a compliment specific to what they did. Next month work on their guard, then give them a compliment for that, the following month work on his foot position, etc. After a student has mastered the technique or form or whatever you have taught them, only compliment them when they do it perfect, that way the student continues to improve because they know they will get the reward (just don't give them any fish!) of a genuine compliment.

The Shamu method of teaching can be applied to anything you have to teach: forms, one-steps, grappling techniques, self-defense, etc.

How do you teach kids o swim? If you threw 100 kids that couldn't swim in a 12 feet pool, two or so would figure it out and get to the side, but 98 would be dead! Not a good success rate. I heard a martial arts school owner brag that "only 5 out of a thousand make it to Black Belt in my school!" Wow, what a horrible instructor! If your local elementary school said that only 5 kids in the whole school would make it to the next grade, what would you do? Find a different school!

Instead of throwing the kids in the 12 foot pool, why not give them all floaters and put them in a kiddy pool first, then, when they feel comfortable put them in the shallow section of a real pool and watch them closely. After a while, give them a kick paddle, then a life vest, then hold them by the waist as they learn to use their hands and kick their feet, lastly, without them noticing it, take away one hand and eventually both hands and watch them swim. Let them graduate out of one step before moving on to the next step. Now you have 100 kids swimming and having fun and no one on the bottom! Are you going to still have the two kids that were the strongest? Sure, put them in the advanced swimming class!

Category: Kicking Drill

Title: Machine Gun

Make groups of three all of whom are the same size. Have one person hold a kicking shield (I like to use Century's BlastMaster) and the other two lined up on opposite sides of the shield. Both person will be in fighting stance. The person on the right of the shield will initiate a back leg roundhouse kick (either a fast or super slow kick) and the person on the left of the shield must imitate the exact kick. Do 25 kicks and yell on every kick (loud yell for a powerful kick and softer one for a light tap)! Alternate so that everyone has a chance to kick with both legs.

Category: Kicking Drill

Title: Triple Kick

This can be done from a "fighting" stance, off the front or rear leg. If you are unfamiliar with the terminology, ask a Taekwondo friend.

This can help build balance, coodination, and strength.

The sequence is: 1 - Front Snap Kick 2 - Turning Kick 3 - Twisting Kick

All done on the same leg without dropping the leg. So it's - kick - retract - kick - retract -kick - retract.

Each kick requires a different body posture, so moving from one kick to the other, means the weight has to shift smoothly and evenly. Start slowly and over time (as students gain strength and balance) lessen the interval between kicks.

Later - when this is "easy", add a 4th kick. I suggest a side kick as the transition requires another large shift in posture.

Try it. Good luck and good training.

Category: Kicking Drill

Title: Sit down! Jump Up! Kick it!

Sit down! Jump up! Kick it! Sit down!

Number of Students: Any age, as many as you want.

Equipment: None or focus mitts.

Object: Fun, fast, leg burn and aerobic drill

How to: Students begin in sitting position (or any floor position), as quickly as possible they get to their feet, perform a specific kick (either to a target or to the air), then they sit back down. This is especially challenging with jump kicks or spinning kicks. The legs will “burn-out” fast.

You can use a set number of repetitions or set a time limit for the students to do as many kicks as they can. This can also be used as a competition exercise or drill. This drill is great to add energy or excitement to your class, also it is a great end of class drill to send students home with a good feeling.

Variation: Pair up students, give each one a focus mitt or kick paddle. Student #1 sits down, Student #2, stands in front of Student #1 with his/her mitt or paddle. On command or count, Student #1 jumps up from their seated position and completes a specific kick to Student #2’s mitt.

Immediately after the first kick, Student #2 sits down and Student #1 remains standing with a mitt. Alternate sitting, kicking and standing. If you have a limited number of focus mitts, the students can pass one mitt between them.

Remember: “Kids like Fun” Sensei Mike Tobin

Category: Sparring/Fighting Drill

Title: Holistic Comprehension Training

Holistic Physical Comprehension - In order to fully understand and experience physical retaliation it's not enough to just work counters and defensive tactics. It's important to feel and experience the dynamics and specifics of the oncoming assault to fully experience the totality of combat.

For example: When working defense against a shove, tackle, choke, knife attack etc. Work in letting your partner come in and shove you, tackle you, choke you (or any submission), take the attack, feel it, experience it, analyze it and see where you would negate it and how many options you have from there. When being choked, take the choke and see how long before you have to 'tap out". If it's 4 seconds, 7 seconds, it makes a difference on how you will perceive your counter.

This is being pro-active. The more you know about a subject, the easier it is to navigate through it.

Holistic Emotional Comprehension - Add dialogue, threatening, swearing etc, to feel the impact of the physical attack on an emotional level. Use congruous behavioral tactics. Figure out what really gets under your skin. If someone vulgarly insulted your mother or sister, your race, your accent, your intelligence, your weight, your sexual orientation, whatever you may have a partial weakness too and gets you personally riled up.

Holistic Comprehension can be broken down into 3 steps. Step one, keep it strictly physical. Work solely on the Holistic Physical Comprehension drill. Step two, keep it emotional and physiological. Work solely on the Holistic Emotional Comprehension drill and have your partner stand there like a drill sergeant and just verbally assault you picking on your weaknesses.

The Holistic Emotional Comprehension drill will invoke emotional and physiological changes in you. It is important that you DO NOT TAKE THIS DRILL PERSONALLY AND THAT IT REMAINS A DRILL WITHIN YOUR CONSENT. Your partner must let loose on you and hold nothing back to experience the emotional inertia, whether it be anger, rage, fear, sadness, pain, heartbreak, frustration, etc. This will allow you to feel and see how emotional inertia has an impact on how you will react physically and change what needs to be changed in order to maximize optimum physical retaliation.

Step 3 is putting it all together. Total Holistic Comprehension. Work it physically with dialogue and improvise from there. It is extremely important you do not turn this drill into a joke and work it using congruous behavioral tactics. This drill will allow you to experience the realities of a violent encounter as closely as possible without placing yourself in real danger. In sports psychology, there's a term called Meta-Cognition, which is basically creating a mental blue print through visualization. It's pro-activity. When, or God forbid, if you encounter violence, you will not be shocked by the level of aggression displayed or surprised by the method or angle of attack attempted. You would have already lived it through the Holistic Comprehension drill. Any changes or variations will be easily adjusted. This drill will create clarity in the moment.

Title: Animal Warm Ups

Animal warm-up for the young student:

1. DUCK. Squat and grab ankles with arms on the inside of knees, now walk and quack.

2. BEAR. On all fours, arms and legs straight, now walk moving left arm and right leg at the same time and then right arm and left leg.

3. GIRAFFE. Very similar to bear, but move right arm and right leg together and then the left side together.

4. BUTTERFLY. Sit with soles of feet touching each other. Knees out to side and push down lightly.

5. CRAB. Supine on all fours, walk forward and backward.

6. CRANE. Balance on one foot with other foot resting at knee area. Strengthens ankle. Stay in position like a contest.

7. EAGLE. Balance on one foot and wrap the other leg around the supporting leg, now wrap arms around each other and touch hand to nose.