Punch Punch Switch Punch

Here’s a drill taken directly from my 125 Dynamite Drills ebook that I thought you might enjoy. It helps students understand the importance of correct distance, line and timing… 3 critical factors for fighting success.

Use it this week in class, see how it goes and be sure to post your comments…

– Jason


Drill Name: Punch, Punch, Switch, Punch

Equipment: partner or punch bag

Method: Both people stand with left leg forward, one “slide” away from each other. Together they simultaneously make reverse punch to the body, hitting and then recovering to their original stance. Immediately upon return to their stance, they slide in again and repeat the process.

The object is to build a “beat” to which you punch so that you both punch, punch, punch at exactly the same time.

After the 2nd punch, Person #1 changes stance as they pull back to recover (making sure they are out of striking range) and slides in to punch in the opposite stance with the opposite hand, before Person #2 delivers their punch.

The idea is for Person #1 to break the timing and hit before Person #2 has a chance.

Person #1 must make sure that they step to the outside line of Person #2 so they retain the advantage of having the sweep if required.

This is a great drill for timing and line work.

Notes: This drill can be done with one person and a punch bag.


For 100+ more karate drills and exercises to sharpen your skill sets you can get your copy of “125 Dynamite Drills” here. In the book I also reveal the advanced method for this drill plus a ton of others too.


Velcro to the rescue…

Here’s a neat little trick to help you keep your mats from sliding about…

I have those red/blue puzzle mats on my dojo floor, which is good because it allows us to do plenty of sweeps, throws and takedowns during our kumite sessions without the associated risk of injury (particularly where kids are concerned).

But one of the problems is that the mats like to move about from time to time particularly in the summer months as they heat up, expand and buckle. Especially after a big class with loads of students, even though the mats are secured on all 4 sides by walls and railings on the floor.
So I came up with a solution.
Yep, good ole Velcro.
I simply went to Walmart (shudder!) and bought 2 x 20′ self adhesive rolls that are 2″ thick and stuck one strip to the carpet under the mats (Velcro side down) , and peeled off the backing to stick the mats to the Velcro.

2 x rolls of industrial strength Velcro, $39
30 minutes installation, $0.
Mats staying put, priceless.

Try it out!

– Jason

IOC picks rugby and golf over karate… grrr

This news just in…

The executive board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) met this week to choose two sports from a short list to be voted on in Copenhagen on October 9 for inclusion in the Olympics.

The list included the 7 following sports…

* karate
* squash
* golf
* rugby 7s
* baseball
* softball
* roller sports
In a separate poll, the International Sports Press Association voted karate as the first sport to be included, which is an indication of what the media wants to see… but the IOC board wasn’t interested, again.

Karate has taken a back seat once more and will NOT be included at this time in the Olympic program. The two sports chosen ahead of karate were:

* rugby 7s


* golf!

Are you kidding me?

The World Karate Federation has been working very hard for years and years to get this inclusion and has been very close in the past, yet our martial art has been rejected time and time again.

I’m sure it’s been a frustrating week for all those involved, and all I can say is thank you for your continued efforts in pushing karate to become an Olympic sport.

Fingers crossed for next time…

Read all about it here:


– Jason

Knives, sticks and karate…

As I type this week’s post I’m sitting here aching from head to toe…
I have a nice little egg shaped bruise on my forehead, right on the hair line courtesy of training knife clash. I also have a graze on the opposite cheekbone and my nose is tender to touch.
My right knee is hurting just below the knee cap for some reason and my triceps are killing me… but it all comes as a result of a good weekend.
“You got beat up and it’s a good weekend?”
Not exactly.
You see this past Saturday was the Festival Ng Mga Kapatid in Los Angeles, California. It’s an annual stick and knife fighting seminar and tournament that brings together loads of great competitors and fantastic instructors from different fighting systems from all over the USA.
The morning session included 3 hours of stick and knife training with some respected masters of the Filipino arts including Felix Roiles (2 x heavy weight stick fighting world champion). While the afternoon was filled with a truckload of different weapons events, and dozens and dozens of competitors, including yours truly. =)
As I signed up for the sparring divisions I noticed no weight classes – just beginner and advanced for the adults. I then read the events…
– Single blade
– Double blade
– Tactical blade
– Padded stick
– Live stick
– Mixed weapons
Cool… even though this didn’t make terribly much sense to me. Although I’ve never competed in anything other than karate kumite and live stick events, I thought “What the heck!” and checked all the boxes in the advanced division.
This was gonna be fun, even though the ring looked smaller than most bathrooms. It must have been no larger than 8′ x 8′. That’s not a lot of room to move in anyone’s book.
And of course since I broke one of my golden rules and didn’t “know the rules before you fight”, I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into. Plus it didn’t help that I was called up first. Nobody to watch before me to get a feel for what was being paid and how the matches would be run.
Stupid. Stupid!
No preparation whatsoever – Sun Tzu would be very disappointed.
The referee gave us each a pair of safety glasses and a training blade with the edge covered in chalk so that successful slashes and stabs could be identified on each other.
We bowed and the match began and then a couple minutes later it was all over.
Thanks to 20+ years of competitive karate kumite I was easily able to adapt many of the concepts I teach in my books and seminars , while I noticed my opponent made a lot of mistakes such as becoming emotional and frustrated when things didn’t go his way.
He didn’t take time to try to figure out what kind of fighter I was, nor pay attention to my strategy. He was just focused on blaming the referee’s bad calls and was too busy getting angry.
When we clinched during the match I could sense his frustration. He was intense and was unknowingly giving me the edge.
(Don’t ever do this! A savvy opponent will take advantage.)
By keeping a cool head I was fortunate enough to win the first 4 matches against different opponents and in the process figured out the scoring system. You get 4 points for a slash to the neck, 2 for the body and 1 for the limbs. First to 5 points per round wins.
When the buzzer went at then end of the 5th and final match the score keeper announced the score as 3-3.
That meant the match was going to “sudden death” with first to score, the winner.
Back on the line waiting for a restart and thoughts rushed through my head like a runaway train. What to do? Block and counter? Strike first? Fake then go? Rush in? Switch hands? Go high? Low?
When the match restarted we both waited patiently for the best time to attack, being careful not to do anything stupid. The next thing I remember is going for my attack while checking my opponent’s attempted strike and making contact across his throat…
“STOP!”, called the referee. “Judges, your scores please.”
One red flag went up, one white, with the referee having the final say… 
I looked at the referee and saw that she signaled in favor of my opponent.
Although I’d checked his slash with my non weapon hand and made contact a split second later, the judges deemed his attack as a successful cut to my forearm – 1 point, and that’s all he needed to win the match.
(Nice job by the way Ryan! Congrats.)
One division down and 5 to go… this was going to be a long day.
Over the course of the next 4 hours I would get hit more times that I care to remember, see other peoples fingers get dislocated and knees split wide open courtesy of the live stick (not my doing by the way), and the medics carry people from the arena.
On a personal level though I didn’t win the single bladed event, I had my revenge in the double blade and live stick events taking gold in both. And one of my students, Mark also took 2 gold and a bronze.
So you see the bumps and bruises were worth it. Not in winning the medals… I couldn’t care less. It’s a good feeling however, knowing that what we practice and teach in karate kumite (the concepts of clean hitting, timing and distance) can be easily adapted for different fighting systems.
Thanks to the organizers, Gigie Alunday and Rich Verdejo and to the instructors who gave their time to teach. Special thanks to Master Felix Roiles for your continued support.
Great event, can’t wait til next year.