Here’s one of my favorite one-step sparring drills: Frankenstein.
The concept is very simple but for the younger generation (who probably haven’t seen these old flicks), please watch this clip from an old Frankenstein movie first.
As you can see, the Frankenstein monster attacks in a stiff and clumsy way. If the Wolfman would have used his speed and agility, he’d have cut him to shreds without getting hit at all. However, what the monster lacks in speed and skill, it makes up for in tenacity and endurance: it can take a LOT of damage. That’s the key to this drill. Here’s how it goes:
- The attacker acts like Frankenstein: he keeps going after the defender, all the time. He never steps back to create room, he always steps towards the defender, regardless of where he is.
- The attacker does only one technique at slow to moderate speed and then he waits for the defender to finish. This is mainly for safety reasons as we’re not using protective gear here. The faster you go, the more difficult it is to control your counters and you’ll end up hurting each other. It’s not a full-contact drill just yet (more on that later.)
- The defender however can go as fast as he likes. The only thing he has to worry about is pulling his techniques so they don’t do damage. Again, this is not a full-contact drill at this stage. It’s all about timing, technique, footwork, etc. The heavy impacts come later.
- One key point is that the defender has to step away as soon as he finishes his counterstrike. If he stays where he is, the monster can squash him. You have to imagine going up against a stronger opponent or a guy who’s so drugged up, he doesn’t feel a thing. Imagine you have to do damage and then move away before you take any because you know your best shot won’t end it right away.
- The more variation in the attacks, the more the defender will learn. In the video, you’ll see me defend against some not so common attacks. We do that on purpose. The goal is to throw the defender off balance and try to surprise him with an unconventional angle of attack. This keeps him sharp and focused on the job at hand.
- We usually don’t do that many throws or take downs as counters. Nor should you use too many joint locks either. If you do, it slows down the drill to the point of being less effective. The whole idea is to put the defender under a lot of pressure: he has to constantly strike and move out of the way before he gets hit again.
- The attacker can pick any attack he likes and never does the same one twice in a row. The attacks should always be unrehearsed and unpredictable.
That’s how you do the drill. Here’s a video of me doing two rounds of this: [Read more…]