Sparring exercise for all ages

So for the last couple of weeks we’ve been talking about the different types of learners and how to reach them so everyone in your class benefits…

But today I want to take a break from that stuff and share with you a quick sparring exercise that I did last night with my students.

In traditional karate kumite, the first to score earns the point, and this exercise below helps develop timing, reaction and commitment to attacking technique.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Students gear up and grab a partner for sparring.
  2. Students begin sparring with each other as per usual and both may attack, defend and do whatever they usually do when sparring.
  3. Several times during the round, your job as their instructor/coach is to shout “kiai!”, at which time students must immediately slide in and make reverse punch (gyaku zuki) regardless of what they might be doing at that time. They might be half way through an attacking combo, not doing anything, or might be defending an attack already in motion.
  4. The objective is for each student is to score the gyaku zuki before their training partner does the same.

This is a great karate drill because it forces students to modify their attacking combo; counter attack at a time they might not have been thinking about it; and if doing nothing at the time of your command it makes them change their timing and forces them to attack.

Remember in tournament point fighting, timing is critical. There might only be a split second between you hitting your opponent and your opponent hitting you, but that is the difference between scoring a point and being scored upon.

The sharpest, fastest, and competitor with the best timing earns the point. This exercise helps your students become that person. And the great thing is that you can do this exercise with students of any age, kids through adult.

Try it in class and let me know how it works for you (post your comments please).


~ Jason

P.S. You know I’ve got hundreds of drills for all kinds of stuff right? From sparring to kata, self defense to fitness… it’s all in my 125 Dynamite Drills. It’ll help you freshen up your classes, sharpen up your students and give you more ideas than you can imagine. Go here to learn more

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