T Nation

Favorite Drills (Any Art)

What is your favorite drill? I’m not looking for a cock measuring contest for who knows more. Don’t look them up on google then start typing away. Favorite drill that you’ve done, and why it’s good. For our Boxing or Traditional Martial Arts inclined members, please throw it out there. It doesn’t have to be MMA.

Far and away I love doing grappler v. striker sparring. 1 Man has boxing gloves on, he attempts to strike and avoid the takedown. His opponent has MMA gloves and only strikes to set up the takedown. Drill resets when it hits the floor.

In my limited grappling experience its gotta be a transitional drill I’ve done were the objective is to lock on as many subs as possible as possible without finishin them…e,g moving from triangle to armbar…to omoplata etc rapidly.

As for striking which is my world…Attacker/Defender…both wearing boxing gloves…one can only defend while the other attacks. A valid defence is tying up…something I added is that if the defender manages to get the plumb on the attacker he can feel free to knee the crap out of him while the attacker can only try to escape. Helps develop the rock paper scissors mentality.

OMC

Here’s 3 of my favs:

  1. Pocket Drill-stand within punching range and throw punches at one another about 30-40% power. Point is to learn to stay in pocket and punch and move head while punches are coming at you.

  2. Sub-4-Sub-You and your partner take turns “feeding” each other subs. When a sub is one, gently finish and then work counter. Key is to go slow and easy and master technique detail.

  3. Escape a Bad Spot-Put yourself in a bad spot (i.e. mount, back mount, side mount, knee on belly) and work your escape over and over. Killer for conditioning and it helps your partner learn to keep that great spot.

Great drills guys. I’m going to use some of them, especially that “pocket drill.”

Yeah that pocket drill is a good one.

Depending what gym I am at there is a bag that is near a wall. I used to lean against the wall and swing the bag away from me. Sometimes I would try top catch the bag coming in and hit it with something going away (like a jab). Step off when it come in, step back in when it moves away. All while trying to keep in contact with the wall behind me. You could this in a ring with a partner on the ropes. This was just an exercise when I didn’t have access to a ring and no partner.

One drill I despise, but works really well for jiu-jitsu is to have one partner get into the turtle position on the ground. The other partner then puts his chest on his partner’s back, keeps his hands behind his own back and begins to do either half or full circles around his opponent.

It’s a great drill that helps with balance, but also more importantly, body control and staying tight to your opponent.

For my fellow strikers

Power Outage. Set round for 2 minutes, then 3 minutes when you built up some cardio. Stand at full extension from the bag, and being throwing VERY LIGHT combonations. For 10 seconds hit the bag as hard and as fast as you can. Return to light combos. Hit that up as many times as you can in a round while maintaining technique. This helps with your anaerobic output and pushes your threshold for gassing out. Go for a full 5 rounds.

Muay Thai Kick Drill. Find your favorite bag, warm up your legs and throw random light kicks: focus on follow through. Now visually seperate the bag into three sections. Now double up on all of your kicks:

  • 2 low, 2 mid section and 2 high x10
  • Switch legs.

Start in neutral stance/guard then work to your preferred stance. Try and focus on your non dominant leg, you’d be surprised at how often strikers neglect this important tenant to fighting: be unpredictable. Changing stances and being confident on both sides gives the fighter a great advantage, same can be said for boxing and MMA striking.

i dig 25 minutes of all out sparring.in 5 minute rounds with 45 second breaks

Well for the record I’m a traditional MA type guy (SO FAR…I’m seriously looking at doing some MMA).

I have three in general that I really like, and all for related reasons. Sensitivity and/or balance and/or finding the way of least resistance.

I know real fighting and match fighting are not anywhere close to these drills, but I like the attributes and “looseness” that the drills develop. I fully believe you need directly applicable striking/grappling drills and sparring to become a prepared fighter for matches. I [u]did[/u] do them and enjoyed (or hated) them and include them when I can find a partner. That’s my disclaimer…

  1. double hand Chi-sao. From wing chun. You would have to look up videos of it to really understand how it is executed. The reason I like it is that when done correctly (not relying on muscular power but on feeling your opponent) it trains sensitivity in a way I’m not sure anything else can match.

It’s not free sparring, but the attacks are un-rehearsed. All attack are carried out “at touch”. But when you get really good at it you can feel your opponents intentions before he even knows they are there. And it opens up a lot of angles and ways to think about attacking that you probably didn’t even dream of before.

  1. Tai chi double push hands. Yeah yeah, I know, it’s not applicable and it’s not practical and its slow and blah blah blah. I Know. I like this drill for awareness of center of gravity and balance. That’s it. And finding the way of least resistance. Again, all attacks are carried out “at touch”.

  2. Push hands against two or three people. Like before, except that you only get one arm for each person and they get two. And if you add a third person he pushes at your back to try and unbalance you further. This is absolutely awesome for developing a feeling for center of balance and being able to use an opponents momentum against someone else.

Like I said, I know these aren’t direct combat drills. I fully embrace direct combat drills and sparring. I just think that developing a loose an relaxed feeling and developing the ability to find the angles or the “path of least resistance” and developing a feeling for balance.

Trick of course is to find someone that knows how to teach them w/o relying on muscle power, force, or sloppy speed. In other words, to find someone who knows the drills appropriate purpose and execution. Traditional MA’s eternal shortcoming.

[quote]Aragorn wrote:
Well for the record I’m a traditional MA type guy (SO FAR…I’m seriously looking at doing some MMA).

I have three in general that I really like, and all for related reasons. Sensitivity and/or balance and/or finding the way of least resistance.

I know real fighting and match fighting are not anywhere close to these drills, but I like the attributes and “looseness” that the drills develop. I fully believe you need directly applicable striking/grappling drills and sparring to become a prepared fighter for matches. I [u]did[/u] do them and enjoyed (or hated) them and include them when I can find a partner. That’s my disclaimer…

  1. double hand Chi-sao. From wing chun. You would have to look up videos of it to really understand how it is executed. The reason I like it is that when done correctly (not relying on muscular power but on feeling your opponent) it trains sensitivity in a way I’m not sure anything else can match.

It’s not free sparring, but the attacks are un-rehearsed. All attack are carried out “at touch”. But when you get really good at it you can feel your opponents intentions before he even knows they are there. And it opens up a lot of angles and ways to think about attacking that you probably didn’t even dream of before.

  1. Tai chi double push hands. Yeah yeah, I know, it’s not applicable and it’s not practical and its slow and blah blah blah. I Know. I like this drill for awareness of center of gravity and balance. That’s it. And finding the way of least resistance. Again, all attacks are carried out “at touch”.

  2. Push hands against two or three people. Like before, except that you only get one arm for each person and they get two. And if you add a third person he pushes at your back to try and unbalance you further. This is absolutely awesome for developing a feeling for center of balance and being able to use an opponents momentum against someone else.

Like I said, I know these aren’t direct combat drills. I fully embrace direct combat drills and sparring. I just think that developing a loose an relaxed feeling and developing the ability to find the angles or the “path of least resistance” and developing a feeling for balance.

Trick of course is to find someone that knows how to teach them w/o relying on muscle power, force, or sloppy speed. In other words, to find someone who knows the drills appropriate purpose and execution. Traditional MA’s eternal shortcoming.[/quote]

Interesting drills man, as I say in the title, include anything, we’ve got more than just MMA guys in here.

[quote]Aragorn wrote:
Well for the record I’m a traditional MA type guy (SO FAR…I’m seriously looking at doing some MMA).

I have three in general that I really like, and all for related reasons. Sensitivity and/or balance and/or finding the way of least resistance.

I know real fighting and match fighting are not anywhere close to these drills, but I like the attributes and “looseness” that the drills develop. I fully believe you need directly applicable striking/grappling drills and sparring to become a prepared fighter for matches. I [u]did[/u] do them and enjoyed (or hated) them and include them when I can find a partner. That’s my disclaimer…

  1. double hand Chi-sao. From wing chun. You would have to look up videos of it to really understand how it is executed. The reason I like it is that when done correctly (not relying on muscular power but on feeling your opponent) it trains sensitivity in a way I’m not sure anything else can match.

It’s not free sparring, but the attacks are un-rehearsed. All attack are carried out “at touch”. But when you get really good at it you can feel your opponents intentions before he even knows they are there. And it opens up a lot of angles and ways to think about attacking that you probably didn’t even dream of before.

  1. Tai chi double push hands. Yeah yeah, I know, it’s not applicable and it’s not practical and its slow and blah blah blah. I Know. I like this drill for awareness of center of gravity and balance. That’s it. And finding the way of least resistance. Again, all attacks are carried out “at touch”.

  2. Push hands against two or three people. Like before, except that you only get one arm for each person and they get two. And if you add a third person he pushes at your back to try and unbalance you further. This is absolutely awesome for developing a feeling for center of balance and being able to use an opponents momentum against someone else.

Like I said, I know these aren’t direct combat drills. I fully embrace direct combat drills and sparring. I just think that developing a loose an relaxed feeling and developing the ability to find the angles or the “path of least resistance” and developing a feeling for balance.

Trick of course is to find someone that knows how to teach them w/o relying on muscle power, force, or sloppy speed. In other words, to find someone who knows the drills appropriate purpose and execution. Traditional MA’s eternal shortcoming.[/quote]

Must admit…I love me some chi sau…almost started training wing chun last year for the laugh just to do it.

Chi Sau looks so look it has to be practical!

Any drills where you’re under friendly fire (from your partner, one other guy, or even a group of people) and try to perform basic techniques or combinations.

Drills like aquilav’s aforementioned, where you’re playing with tempo and explosion.

All kinds of transition drills.

Although not a drill, I can’t stress enough slow and light sparring sessions. Doesn’t have to be slow motion, just a tad slower/easier.

wooden dummy training! it nevers so no to training, it never shows up late! you can hit it as hard as you want! footwork, line & angle, power, elbows, etc., etc.

taichi push hands! interesting, i love push hands, in fact fedor has a tai-chi instructor. wasnt expecting that answer but very valid

[quote]Djwlfpack wrote:
One drill I despise, but works really well for jiu-jitsu is to have one partner get into the turtle position on the ground. The other partner then puts his chest on his partner’s back, keeps his hands behind his own back and begins to do either half or full circles around his opponent.

It’s a great drill that helps with balance, but also more importantly, body control and staying tight to your opponent.[/quote]

We do that drill regularly…good drill.

^what big boss said, thats a wrestling drill we did that was a warmup all the time. partner in turtle position would put one arm up to block your motion and as soon as you sense it, you have to go in the opposite direction, and if your weight was too off balance or not firmly pushing your partner downward they were allowed to shoot on you.

Try it blindfolded to kick up your kinesthetic sense.

That said, same principle in chi sau, in wrestling, and plumb, you have to be able to sense motion and have extreme awareness.

Its not an athletic attribute (though some people are pretty gifted at it) it really has to be earned just by a LOT of repetition.

Chi Sau, bagua circle walking, and pushhands have a lot of practical application if used properly.

[quote]Schwarzfahrer wrote:

All kinds of transition drills.

Although not a drill, I can’t stress enough slow and light sparring sessions. Doesn’t have to be slow motion, just a tad slower/easier.

[/quote]

Best advice thus far ^^^^^ should be pointed out more often.

OMC

for boxing

with a partner or partners, line up shoulder to shoulder with medicine ball. slam eachother in the abs. breath out as your getting hit.

sounds dumb, but it is an effective drill. you can learn to take a body punch and its the best ab excersize i’ve ever done.

aside from that, sparring. any type of practice fighting, full contact, slower speed, offense vs. defense, etc. i dont consider sparring a drill tho.

My favorite is the submission chain brought up earlier…typically I go armbar (from guard,) partner yanks his arm out and then I go triangle, then he blocks by wrapping the arm thats inside around my leg, so I go omoplata which he counters by posturing up so I go triangle again and then transition to the armbar. There’s a bunch of similar variations, but when I’m exhausted I’ll try to find someone to do that with instead of rolling.

our wrestling coach also makes us start from a single leg and fight it for 30-45 seconds then rotate then next guy in and then a double and on and on then sparring when your dead ass tired then when you get a take down he will make you get up after about a minute and do it again for 5 minute rounds…for boxing we spar like 2 in then out for about 45 minutes…

for mma fights we spar hard for 2 rounds switch opponents then go 2 rounds we do that until noone is left wanting to spar…

for everything else ill let you know where to send the money…

[quote]Schwarzfahrer wrote:
Chi Sau looks so look it has to be practical!

Any drills where you’re under friendly fire (from your partner, one other guy, or even a group of people) and try to perform basic techniques or combinations.

Drills like aquilav’s aforementioned, where you’re playing with tempo and explosion.

All kinds of transition drills.

Although not a drill, I can’t stress enough slow and light sparring sessions. Doesn’t have to be slow motion, just a tad slower/easier.
[/quote]

I was really expecting to get flamed to oblivion for my answers…appreciate the wider perspective guys!

Schwarz—That is a REALLY good demonstration. Only thing is his opponent just seems miles below his level. Not sure if he’s just that good, or was just doing it for the demonstration purposes.

Regardless, that’s one reason chi sau is so freaking awesome. It’s basically training to just worm your arms and feet through someone’s defenses at will.

My old sifu was a long-time disciple of Ho Kam Ming (for those of you who know wing chun, that’s…uh, awesome, since HKM is widely considered the best student of Yip Man). He demonstrated an amazing kinesthetic ability by doing some chi-sau demonstrations blindfolded… with his son.

Who was an assistant teacher at my school. Used to also do push hands on one foot to demonstrate the importance of balance. That was infuriating :).

Like I said, not free sparring, but it develops lightning fast angle switches and “at touch” feeling. Only downside is, of course, it’s all done “at touch” and there’s no closing of distance or entrance like there would be in a regular fight.

Well, that and the fact that it’s mostly hands (My old sifu did say there was a variation with feet as well, but he never demonstrated it to me. I never got to that level)