Saturday, February 06, 2010

Improved my Defense in Class Today

I love it when I learn something new in class. And with this blog, I can hammer it home in my mind.  This morning was a candidate sparring class. Translation: it was a class only for people trying to earn their black belt or a higher rank black belt this year.

Master KC had some sparring drills where one side plays defense and the other side attacks. Pretty standard. The novelty today was that the defensive players were NOT supposed to back up.  They were supposed to either crowd in or crowd in and angle.  This was new to me and very cool. 

Usually, if someone comes at me, I back up. When I'm superquick, I can back up faster than they can advance or even angle out in ways that befuddle my attacker. More often than not, I seem to back up into an optimum spot for people to kick me.  With this moving-in-approach, when the going gets tough, the idea was to move in closer and then angle one way or the other. By staying real close, it's very hard for the other person to get get off a good kick or even, a good jab. When you stay close, you really only need to worry about crosses and hooks. (Our school doesn't allow uppercuts, knees, or elbows so this get-close defense works exceptionally well).

A great class this morning. The second half of class was pure sparring and at full speed, I found that crowding in a viable defense and a useful addition to my arsenal.

The other big focus of class today was footwork. I like it. I could do a lot more footwork drills. Today was simple step and slides forward and back with a little work on angling with footwork.  There's room to work on how, when shelled up and on your heels, to still have good footwork. It's a challenge for me that I find myself flat on my backfoot defending and unable to move since I'm flatfooted and hunkered down on my back leg. I know conceptually what to do and that starts with, don't get into that position. I'm not sure what drill would help me isolate and solve that problem.



Anonymous said...

Footwork can be practiced by yourself, if you spend 5 or 10 minutes a day on it you'll find you'll be much more mobile when sparring. Skipping rope is a great method to become quick on your feet, no wonder it's a staple in any boxer's training regimen. The problem with backing up, while it is instinctive for most people and not a habit that is easy to unlearn, is that a) you're out of counter range (meaning you'll have to step in to deliver a counterattack allowing him a bigger window of time to defend) and b) you're basically giving him the iniative. It has been said that action is always faster than reaction (obviously) so you must regain the iniative asap. If you must back up do so at an angle, forcing him to turn to aim his guns at you once more.

Closing with someone to negate his offense is a good idea, however this will land you in trouble against a thaiboxer (clinch with knees and elbows) or someone trained in JKD or WC (trapping hands) unless you posses considerable skills in that area too. As to your problem: always raise the back heel when in fighting stance, this will give you great mobility and you're basically springloaded for either offense or defense.

Sparring's hard for everyone and you're not exactly a young bloke anymore. Kudos for the guts and the effort you're putting into your training.

BBat50 said...

Daily footwork practice. Great idea. Shuffling requires a surprising amount of practice.

Defense by moving. The important things are to:
1. MOVE. Way too many people in our dojo shell up and brace themselves, especially for roundhouse kicks. Since we tend to be gentle, we get away with it but it's a bad habit.
2. Not be predictable. Sometimes back up, usually back up while circling to their weak side, sometimes just circle, sometimes stay close but above all, don't fall into a predictable pattern.

In our school, no knees and elbows in sparring so we moving in isn't that dangerous. Your point is good that with other rules, there's some real risk.

Thanks for the input. No, I'm not a younun. I often feel young on the floor, I almost never feel young a few hours later or the next morning.