Making an Impact

Here’s a nice little karate drill you can use with your students, young or old, small or tall.

It’s a good one because it helps students develop their timing, distance and impact at the target all at once.

It works like this:

Students get a partner and then one takes an impact pad or kick shield.

You nominate the technique (eg. Reverse punch or front kick, etc)

One person will hold the pad and the other will make the specified technique with full force, 10 times then switch roles.

Ok, so easy stuff, nothing new so far… let’s make it more challenging

The pad holder moves forward, back or laterally and then suddenly stop and stands in position. The split second they’ve stopped, the striker must close the distance and hit the pad with the specified technique with full force. As soon as they’ve hit, the pad holder moves again then randomly stops and the striker must again adjust their distance and hit the pad again.

The idea is the striker is anticipating their next move like a lion stalking it’s prey, waiting calmly but poised ready to pounce. As soon as the target stops moving, BAM!

Advanced method:

The pad holder can also rotate, forcing the striker to move around the pad holder, adjust their distance, change their angle of attack, etc.

Ultra Advanced method:

The pad holder does everything above plus now calls the technique they want the striker to perform. Eg. “kick” or “punch”.

Super Ultra Advanced method:

Pad holder calls “left punch” or “right kick”, etc.

Extreme Super Ultra Advanced method:

Pad holder calls multiple techniques, “left punch, right kick”, etc.

As mentioned above this drill is great for working distance, timing, impact, coordination and agility.


Please don’t confuse this drill with what you see in boxing / MMA drills with a trainer and focus mitts. The striker is NOT supposed to follow the target around at close distance the entire time. The idea is for the target to change the distance (either by crowding the striker or moving away) and then only AFTER they’ve stopped, the striker must move in closing the gap with proper footwork OR back up and maintain proper distance, hit the target and get back out of range.



P.S. Due to a lack of creativity (and possibly growing up in the 80’s) I was forced to use words like “ultra” and “super ultra”. If you have any suggestions for better adjectives please let me know. 😉