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Bowley Kenpo Karate » Sparring » 3 New Sparring Drills

3 New Sparring Drills

This past weekend a group of fellow Kenpoists met up for a day of sparring and training at Mr. Allen Gowdey‘s studio in College Station. We were fortunate enough to have Mr. Toby Rodriguez lead us through a few sparring drills. At our school, we will begin implementing these drills on a very regular basis.

Mr. Gowdey sparring with Serra in College Station.

Mr. Gowdey sparring with Serra in College Station.

Clashing – Usually in sparring, someone attacks and someone retreats after only a few shots are thrown. This drill is designed to show how to stay in the fight bubble without retreat from either side. Each person starts on either side if the ring, someone yells go, and both charge towards each other and attack upon contact. The melee lasts 4 or 5 seconds until Stop is yelled. Remember to keep your hands up as you back away. The goals for the drill are to learn to take hits, drive the opponent back, but also keep your eyes open so you can see what’s coming and how the opponent reacts.

Sparring in College Station July 2011

Sparring in College Station July 2011

We ran 4 clashes per pairing then shifted opponents 3 or 4 times. Also with each new opponent, we would increase the starting distance from each other. By the end, the distance was such that the initial strike could be a kick instead of a punch.

Marching Attacking Mace – Building out of the clashing drill was a new practice method for driving an opponent backwards. It goes front hand punch (harder than a jab), forward bow back hand punch, step-through forward-bow back-hand punch (was the jabbing hand). Think of it as implementing the technique Attacking Mace but without the stepping through roundhouse kick and using a hard jab as the inward block. Each punch is to be strong enough to drive forward, so not necessarily a snapping punch. The step through punch lands as the as the stepping foot plants.

The goal is to drive the opponent in retreat. We practiced the drill by lining up against an opponent and repeatedly running the 3 count. Once we reached the edge of the mat, the opponent would now force us in reverse. We didn’t do it with a body shield, though it would seem to work fine. The more repetitions we did, the faster we went.

We practiced one of two variations on the drill. On the final step through back hand punch, we added a snap kick on the step through. Very similar to Coordination Set 1. The other variation we were shown but didn’t run through was to step the back foot up the circle when you reset to run a second time. Meaning that once you completed all 3 attacks, you would shift your back foot up the circle to realign with your opponent’s now-open centerline and proceed to drive through again.

Mr. Rodriguez teaching the reverse hand punch.

Mr. Rodriguez teaching the reverse hand punch.

Lining Up 2-on-1 -It’s a good strategy in 2-on-1 sparring to keep one opponent between you and the second opponent.  In this drill we practiced lining up the two opponents by grabbing one and throwing/swinging him into the other one. Once lined up, we would attack the front opponent, driving them into the second and holding the opponent in place. (If only for a few seconds)

The drill worked with a person in the center and two opponents pushing on him with body shields.  The center person would grab the shoulders or body shield of one opponent and spin him into the second opponent using the body corkscrew motion of the technique Taming the Mace.  Once lined up we would throw a knee/elbow combination to drive the group backwards.  Then reset.

All three drills build quality skill sets. Each must be practiced quite a bit so that while sparring, the moves become instinctual instead of requiring active thought. However, we did a round of sparring in the morning, ran through these drills, and sparred again afterwards.  I was able to add a few of these moves to my sparring and noticed a positive difference. The whole experience as a lot of fun, and we will certainly be incorporating these new drills in our school.

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Sam Bowley
McKinney, TX


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