Previously I wrote an article on some sparring drills I use with my students. In that article the sparring drills covered a number of different skills and approaches.
In this article I will be looking at drills specifically that deal with altering the tactical mindset of my students, from sport sparring to self defence
As with all sparring drills it is important that you set things up correctly, make sure everyone is aware of the rules of the particular session and proper safety precautions are observed.
These are slightly more advanced drills and time should be taken to introduce the skills needed to deal with the situations that will be presented before going in to the drills. More information on this can be found on the time under pressure post.
A very common point sparring drill set up is to have maybe 4-5 pairs sparring on the floor with the rest of the class waiting in a line. When someone scores a point off their opponent they bow out and join the end of the queue while their partner stays up and spars the next person.
Usually, as the rules of the sport demand, the students bow, touch gloves and then begin. When I am looking for a more reality based version of this drill, I remove the bowing and glove touching. The new student can run in from the queue and attack immediately. The student who is already up has to deal with the initial attack, normal point sparring rules apply
This is one of my favorite drills, and the only one that I don’t necessarily fully explain to the students before they practice.
The drill is just simply introduce 15 seconds, of time before sparring. During this 15 seconds the students are free to do whatever they want. They can find a better position, they can grab a weapon, try to talk the other students down. After 15 seconds there is a signal and the sparring begins.
Often, as I stated before, when I introduce this drill I won’t give much instruction. I will just tell my students that they will wait for 15 seconds before they start sparring. Always they will wait in their ready position, usually with a puzzled expression on their face. Even if I move to multiple attackers or weapon based attackers they will wait and then fight. After we have done this a few times, we discuss what else could be done with the 15 seconds that they have.
The main point of this drill is to open their mind to other options and to get them thinking outside of the ring where you always have to fight.
Again, this drill is very simple and the main purpose is to open the students’ mind and get them use to having more options and get use to a non-competition sparring format.
After the students are comfortable with weapon defenses, I lay dummy weapons out, these can be rubber knives, padded sticks, or even just pads and kick shields. During sparring if they can the students can pick up any of these and use them to attack.
The first few times maybe no one will pick up a weapon, or both with run for different weapons. However, as they students get more use to this format they will develop different tactics for the situation. Those could be be kicking weapons away, fleeing when someone picks up a weapon, preemptive attacks when someone is picking up a weapon and so on.
Ok, so a few of my favorite drills to teach mindset and to break students out of a competitive sparring format.
I hope you find these useful, if you try any of them in your sessions please let me know how it goes.