Saturday, January 7, 2012

Games to Play for Boxing Practices

While it is true that martial arts study requires focus and discipline, black belt teacher Dave Coffman advises that competition can help improve motivation even in already dedicated students. Tournament competition is one outlet, but using games as instructional tools can help teachers bring out the most in their students. Says Coffman, competition between students is just one kind of competition. Students can also compete against previous records and the clock.

45-Degree Drill
This drill comes originally from boxing training but is appropriate for karate techniques as well. To perform this drill, have a student approach a 30- to 50-lb. heavy bag. Set the bag at a 45-degree angle to the ground. Play starts when you release the bag. The student must keep the bag at that angle using only specifically named strikes. Boxing drills would use punches only, while karate drills might use open hand strikes, elbow strikes and even kicks. Time how long each student keeps the bag at the correct angle, comparing student performance to each other or to their previous record.
Add On
Add on is a test of karate technique and simple physical prowess. Have students line up in a row. The first student steps onto the floor and performs a challenging karate technique or short series of strikes. The next student in line comes out, performs the first technique and adds one of his own. Play continues with each new participant performing all previous techniques, then adding one to the end of the chain. If a student performs techniques out of order, or fails to execute a technique, that student is out. Play continues until a single student remains.
Combination Drills
Before beginning this drill, originally used in boxing and kickboxing, pair the numbers one through six with a combination of strikes. "One" could mean a one-two punch, with "three" indicating a jab, hook or roundhouse kick combination. Drill students on these numbers until they seem to have them reasonably well memorized, then split them into pairs. Each pair should have one set of focus mitts. During play, one partner wears the mitts and calls out numbers. The other partner executes the combination that corresponds to the number called. When a partner fires the wrong combination, they swap roles. Each player tries to beat her personal record for consecutive correct combinations.
One-Step Sparring
One-step sparring focuses on one crux of both boxing and karate: the opening strike. In both arts, it's the first strike that sets up subsequent strikes to be so devastating. Partner off participants, with both wearing full protective gear. They will trade off on who gets to play the role of aggressor. With each turn, the aggressor names what strike he will throw, and what target he will aim for on the defender. He then waits until he thinks his partner is off guard, then makes his attack. The defending partner tries to dodge or block the incoming strike. If unsuccessful, the attacker scores a point.

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