At East Valley Martial Arts, we practice many different partner drills to build self defense skills. I would like to share many of them here and how they improve defense abilities. A big safety layer at our school is competent supervision. In other words, do not try this on your own. You are liable for any damage or injury you cause or incur when you self-train. We start out our beginners with hitting targets first, then partners with protective gear, before we move on to the more intermediate drills.
BASIC BLOCK, STRIKE WITH A
Let’s start with basic drills where one partner makes a certain attack and the other blocks and strikes. This can be called agreement sparring. It’s not really like sparring since the moves are very specifically choreographed. Like all the partner drills mentioned here, this drill will help the practitioner to learn and improve distancing for blocks and strikes, as well as targeting and timing. Our traditional complexes help with that while they also develop memory and focus.
REPETITION PARTNER DRILLS FOR SELF DEFENSE
Repetition partner drills are similar to basic ones in that they have a few to
several moves. They are different in that they have patterns that repeat. One
benefit to this is physical conditioning for blocking. Another is building an
automatic response to somebody making a move against you.
SWEEPING PARTNER DRILLS
At the intermediate ranks, we start practicing drills that include a sweep.
This helps students learn one way of taking down an attacker. When you are the
partner being swept to the mat, it helps you to practice and improve your
falling technique. The more you do both things, the better you get. For anyone
who walks, I recommend learning how to fall properly in order to prevent
PARTNER DRILLS WITH TURTLE SHELLS
We call these chest protectors turtle shells. You may see why below. They
allow partners to hit with nearly full power and not hurt each other. Drills
with this protection help students to feel more realistically what it’s like to
punch a person. If you aren’t wearing gloves, it doesn’t feel great. But it
does help you to correctly align your fist. It also conditions your body for striking
similar to heavy bag and makiwara work.
ARM BARS AND WRIST LOCKS WITH A PARTNER
These partner drills are more for our advanced students. For some of them, we like to see a level of control and skill before practicing on a person. A real wrist or arm is the best way to learn these skills for life protection. Here’s a video of one of our junior students applying an arm bar.
PADDED WEAPONS SPARRING WITH A PARTNER
This drill is most beloved by our youth. Adults get enough out of it for us
to offer it at our Karate Spring Camp. Padded weapons have more give and are
not as stout as the real thing. Plus they are thicker and a bit harder to
handle for smaller hands. But they help us ply our skills at weaponry in real
time with an armed partner.
The drills that we do are not like a real fight or life protection “on the street.” That’s because we care for our students and want to send them home in one piece after classes. Not to the hospital. However, our variety of these partner drills and more allows for rounded out training. We prepare our students very well while still keeping a good level of safety.