One, Two, Hook, Elbow, Knee

Recently I was teaching my 4-7 year old class a striking combination, which I thought they’d have trouble with, but to my surprise even the youngest of them was able to put it together.

From a left leg forward stance, the combo is:

  • front jab
  • reverse punch
  • left hook
  • right elbow
  • right knee

or as I like to call it “1, 2, hook, elbow, knee”

Here’s a quick video of 4 year JJ doing the combo, then after he’s done he climbs the pad wall and runs back to the start. I often have kids perform a technique then complete a challenge whether it be a wall climb, jumping over some pads, zig-zagging through cones, etc. before returning to the end of the line.

This is KEY to keeping the kids occupied while they’re waiting their turn to do the technique. It also helps them develop core strength, agility, etc. I hope it gives you some ideas…

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I do have to apologize for the jerkiness of the video. The camera man is six years old, but I’m sure you get the idea.


– Jason


How to disguise repetitions

So yesterday I got a phone call from Patty who was interested in my 125 Dynamite Drills, but was a little hesitant.

Patty just bought one of my competitor’s products and told me it really didn’t have a lot of stuff she hadn’t seen before and that she was really looking for something new and innovative.

Patty went on to explain that she needed ideas to help disguise reps, so her students wouldn’t become bored. I asked her more about what she teaches, how her classes are structured, etc, to get a good idea if my product would be suitable for her.

To paraphrase one of her questions, she asked:

“How can I disguise reps so my students don’t get bored. Do you have anything in your products that will help them learn a striking combination like punch, up, hook? You see I’ve got a lot of beginners who aren’t ready for sparring or forms yet, so I’m really looking for ideas to help the beginner.”

So I started thinking what I might have to help. I immediately opened up my own copy of 125 Dynamite Drills and browsed through to find something in there that might help her.


There are over 200 drills in the ebook when you include the variations, so it took me about 30 seconds to find some good drills and give her some ideas.

Without going into detail of all the drills in the guide, here are some ideas for you too, just in case you (like Patty) have a similar question. Let’s consider Patty’s combination for this example below.

Combination : Punch, Uppercut, Hook

Here are some ways to practice this using simple basic repetitions.

From a stationary position:

  • Basic reps to the count.
Everyone knows this, and this is where the boredom sets in, no wonder students quit! Let’s add some flavor…
  • Use the “Plus One” method (great for teaching new combos or for beginners)

Teach the combo one technique at a time, 10 reps, then add the second technique, 10 more reps, then add the 3rd technique, practice 10 more reps. Switch sides of the body, repeat.

This is a little more tasty, but let’s make it a little more appealing…

(A fun challenge is to allow each student to choose the next technique and the whole class must repeat the entire combo 5 times. Then the NEXT student adds ANOTHER technique and the whole class must repeat 5 times… and so on. See how many continuous techniques your students can remember!)

  • Practice with variations

Which hand does the first punch? Front or rear? Change up the combo to use both sides of the body.

  • Practice as a group in a circle to the count.Everyone faces inwards so they are opposite someone else. Tell the group they must be faster than the person across from them. Watch how much faster they perform their technique!Now try everyone facing outwards. Now there is no copying, and no distraction for visual learners. See how the performance changes for different students.Now have everyone face the same direction in their circle and do more reps.


Small adjustments like these make simple combinations more fun and relieves the monotony.

Now let’s take a look at incorporating this combo into some simple stepping drills.

For line-work:

  • Practice stepping forward practicing the combination, being sure each time to use the other side of the body with each step.
  • Repeat again using variations as above.
  • Use the “Plus One” method as above.
Ok, cool so we’re starting to make a meal of this combination. So far we’ve got 9 new ways to practice basic reps for our “Punch, Uppercut, Hook” combination… but we’re not done yet.
Now let’s get someone else involved…

With a partner:

  • Using focus mitts
  • Use the “Plus One” method described above.

    This time do 10 reps of the basic 3 technique combo. Then change roles and add a new technique with each change. Repeat until you have a 10 technique combo! You can limit them to only choosing certain techniques.
  • Add movement – partner moves away, circles left, right or moves toward their partner to crowd their space (great for learning footwork)
  • As a speed test – how many sets can one student do within 30 seconds? Have the partner count. Change roles and repeat. Students must try to beat their first score.


  • Teaching method
    • Have each student take turns to explain and teach the combination back to their partner, from both stances utilizing both sides of the body.

So there you have it… a quick brain storm to give you some quick ideas.

13 karate drills

new ways to practice the simple Punch, Uppercut, Hook combination!

And this was just for learning ONE combo for beginners. We didn’t even look at more advanced ideas for using this combo for sparring or self defense. And we didn’t look at any ideas for learning kata/forms, or endurance and warm-up…

Anyway, so in case you’re wondering Patty went on to get both my 125 Dynamite Drills and my 50 Kids Karate Games (since she teaches kids from 4 years and up). Shortly after she sent me this message:

Thanks so much!…  I’m excited!  I have a ton of information now and plan on spending my entire lunch hour just working on this.  Thanks again for everything!”

So I’d like to thank Patty again for putting her trust in me. I’d also like to thank her for her question and sparking the idea to write this post that’s allowed me to help you with some ideas for your classes too.

Now what was with all those references to food? I must be hungry… time for breakfast.

Until next time, enjoy!

– Jason