Sunday, December 4, 2011

What's Your Range??

A little personal information first: I am very new at teaching. I don't think the first lesson I taught went over as well as I wanted to. I feel like I rushed everything but I do think the sparring game I had made up for it. People said that they really liked it. (see

So for my second lesson, Shihan asked me if I would teach about 5 days before the class. I know, five days is a lot of time, but being new at this, 5 days seemed very short. I racked my brain for something that would be relevant to teach. Do I go over a basic technique and help them perfect it? Like front snap kicks, or the basic jab, cross? Do i go over something a little more fancy like a spinning jumping back kick? Do we work on something I need to work on so I can get better while helping others?

I was trying to remember about sparring sessions past when I remembered an orange belt. Over at Sensei's dojo in Bethel, it was close to my last tournament, i think it was. There was a man a was fighting. Sometimes when he would punch, it would just barley touch me, sometimes miss altogether because he was so far away he couldn't reach. He did the same thing with his kicks. Round house that were way too close to be effective or to far away that I didn't even need to move. 

So this lesson was all about finding your range with many drills. After all normal beginnings of kihon and fitness, I had them get padded up. Each drill was for 45 seconds to a minute, then I would switch the roles of the partners before rotating to new partners for the next drill.

Mirror Drill: One of the most important thing about getting in your range and staying out of your opponents, is footwork. Everyone paired up. One person was to be the leader, the other was the mirror. First the players keep distance from each other that is just barley out of kick range. That distance allows you to get out of an attack but easily allows you to close the distance and attack. Assume figthing posistion, and when the leader comes forward, the mirror goes back. Leader steps through, switching stance, the mirror steps back switching stance. Always keeping the same distance from each other. (leaning footwork would be a post in itself, so I will assume you already know it) Mirror must keep eyes forward, NOT LOOKING AT FEET. This will help your sensitivity to movement that comes from around you. 

Missed Kicks: Partners take a fighting stance distancing just far enough away that a low round house would miss or the toes would barley touch. The leader in this drill is to do low round house kick, trying to tag the leg. The person getting kicked, is to hold their hands behind their back the whole time, tucking into their belt is ideal. The person getting kicked is to use his  footwork to circle and dodge out of the way.  The idea is to judge the leaders range and to get just out of the range of him. Leader MUST use proper technique kicking, following through. (important for the next drill)

Tag: Same drill as missed kicks, but this time both people have their hands up. The leader comes in for a low round house, the partner shoots back a few inches for the kick to miss. When the kick follows though, going by, the partner shoots in to close range and tags the leader with an open hand in a place that you would like to hit in a tournament, like ribs, solar plexus, liver, remember to target. The shoot back to the 'safe' distance.

Now to some hands, all borrowed from this video (watch from 2:15 on):

Finally The fun part SPARRING!!!

For 10 minutes, we had 45 second sparring matches. We partners up and lined up, with upper belts one one side facing their underbelt opponents. The upper belts could only use their hands to block, but they can kick. The underbelts could use their legs to block, but can throw punches.  It was very interesting.

So each side would have their turn  only punching or only kicking for 45 seconds and then I wold rotate the class so they had new partners. It was very interesting watching the two highest ranked people trying to spar each other this way.