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Combative Drills

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  • Combative Drills

    Hello, a consistent theme in most FMA/knife forums is that often sparring turns into a knife duel, and knife duels aren't reality. I'm a beginner so I reserve judgement on everything , but for the most part I agree that once classic sparring begins, it sure feels like a tactical duel rather than what I've seen and heard about real knife confrontations.

    So my question is, if sparring isn't enough, what kinds of drills do you do that prepare you for a more real-life explosive knife confrontation? I realize that most drills, when done with enough intensity and intent, can become combative. But taking something like a flow drill and raising the intensity still doesn't capture that combative feel, in my experience. One of the keys, I think, is to keep the attacker in the drill relatively focused on offense.

    Here are a few of the combative drills I've been doing. I'd like to hear what you guys do ...

    - Attacker does one hard committed attack, which the defender defends against before countering (attacker stops after 1st attack). Once the defender can handle one hard non-telegraphed attack, we work up as we get more advanced -- attacker might do (say) 3 hard committed attacks in a row, which gets the defender used to flowing intense attacks. AFter the third strike the defender gets to step in and counter.

    - From there we work up to: Continuous attacks. Attacker does continuous, non-stop attacks until the defender either gets around him and runs away, or finds a way to tie up his knife arm.

    - Corner drills. Classic muay Thai corner drill with the defender unarmed.

    The downside to all of these is that the attacker isn't using all his weapons (kicking, punching, etc.), and neither is the defender, but I'm not advanced enough to add those in yet in any case. Right now I have my hands full with reacting quickly and properly against a training partner whose intent is more combative.

    What combative drills do you recommend?

    Last edited by Joe Talmadge; 08-23-2003, 12:55 PM.

  • #2
    If you're after "drills" that offer a closer experience to a real knife assault, scenario training ala FAST or Peyton Quinn would be best, although I'm not sure you can still call them drills since the outcome of each scenario, even those start the same way, is always unique. But that's what makes it such a blast, and more realistic in my opinion.

    "Energy drills" and sparring have different objectives.

    The important thing when doing combative drills that approach reality is that the "players" play their roles as realistically as possible (complete with emotional content, such as racial slurs if an assault, etc ... basically anything that will get a rise out of you) and go balls to the wall with just enough control to stay safe. Protective equipment for the mugger/attacker is imperative since it gives the other guy/girl the ability to strike hard. No pulling of strikes! Injuries will be common but hopefully superficial.

    What drills then to do? Come up with your own scenarios revolving around your needs, then try them out. For example, when I asked a group of girls to come up with a scenario that they would like to train for, they came up with this: how would they defend against someone grabbing their hair from behind? I would never have figured this to be a concern or a realistic scenario, but apparently it is common to women, and happens often enough in movie houses to warrant it being one of the things they wanted to learn.

    Same with the knife. For example, think walking down the road at night and someone coming up behind you, grabbing your shoulder and poking the knife to your kidney and asking for your wallet, and go from there. This is a common scenario that is universal to all cultures.

    Just my opinion.



    • #3
      Hello Joe, et all,

      Sparring/Duelling is a great method for attribute development. Attributes such as speed, aggressiveness, hand eye coordination, conditioning can all be enhanced by proper sparring.

      Scenario based drills - are also another method which should be incorporated into your training. These represent (when practiced correctly and with intent) a realistic way to enhance your blade skill.

      here are a few more suggestions:
      1) Practice from disadvantaged positions, where an opponent might be attacking you - Telephone booth, stairwell, on the floor, seated, while tying your shoe etc. Here the attacker is trying to kill you, you have to deploy your carry weapon and then engage the attacker all while trying to fend off your opponent's attack.

      2) Throw various pieces of training equipment around on the floor where you are sparring or practicing scenario based drills. This will help simulate various objects that may be on the ground in the real world environment.

      3) Practice in low light conditions. Most attacks(statistically) happen in low light conditions, so add this into the mix.

      Just a few ideas.

      Train hard it is the Way!
      Guro Steve L.


      • #4
        Thanks guys, will try those out. BTW, I do think that, duelling or not, sparring does develop some attributes that are difficult to develop otherwise, so I do plan to do some classic sparring as well.

        Here's a drill I thought of all by my lonesome, what do you think? The attacker gets, say, 10 seconds to "kill" the defender 3 times. Defender is unarmed. What I'm trying to do here is give the attacker motivation to go at it fast and furious, since he's got to do a lot of damage in a small amount of time -- this should remove any duelling mentality. Haven't tried this, but sounds interesting.