One the best ways to see how someone is as a martial artist is to watch how they move. Are they in control of their body? Are they controlling their opponent’s body? Do the movements and control seem to flow naturally? Skills such as these take time to develop. And one of the best drills to develop these traits is the technique line.
For technique lines, karate students line up in single file. (Multiple lines if there are many students.) The person at the head of the line will be the defender, and the person second in line will be the attacker. Once the defender does the technique, he moves to the back of the line. The attacker now becomes the defender with the next person (who was third in line) moving forward. This cycle continues until everyone has progressed through the line. The drill can be utilized for a defined technique with the defender knowing what specific strike the attacker is going to come with. Spontaneous techniques line are another variation where the defender is required to do a specific technique and can flow on their own or the defender doesn’t even know what the attack will be.
In our school, we use the technique line drill at least one class a week; sometimes every class. It’s great for both kids classes and adults. Doing a technique in the air can help build muscle memory. But it’s not the same as feeling it in motion both as an attacker and as a defender. (To Feel is To Believe!) Students learn to manipulate bodies of all sizes and develop better control in doing so.
One of the primary goals with beginners is coordination; learning how to control their body. For intermediate ranks, manipulation becomes a big goal. Can they manipulate and control their opponent’s body to move it how and where they want to go. And for advanced ranks, the goal is intent. Can the martial artist mesh speed, accuracy, and manipulation while walking the line of controlled devastation. The technique line is a drill that can help all martial artists grow as they move through the arts and through the three goals.