Oct 23, 2010

New Martial Arts Drills to Keep Your Students From Getting Bored With Repetition

I've known Helen for years and she's been in charge of a Kuk Sool Won class for the past two. Helen's great, she's tough, she's smart, and her school turns out responsible martial artists that can throw one of heck of a punch. I was in the area and due to take Helen out for lunch, so I showed up early and attended one of her late morning classes. I was a little surprised; it's been a while since I've done any Kuk Sool Won training and I certainly didn't remember some of the drills we were using. After we'd showered and settled down at our favorite Thai place, I inquired about it.

"So what's up with the machine gun sidekicks?" I asked. "Isn't that usually more of a Tae Kwon Do exercise?"

With machine gun sidekicks, you stand on one leg and throw a kick while jumping up just enough to let the force drag your standing leg forward. This makes you move in the direction of your kick, though it's not a traveling move, like jump kick. Helen had started us on one side of the dojo and made us move across the floor. If you're not used to them, they can take a real toll and even sitting in the air-conditioned restaurant, I could feel the burn up my thighs.

"It keeps things interesting," she smiled and when I confirmed that she just wasn't being a sadist, she continued.

"If you want keep your students interested, you need more than just the normal or traditional martial arts drills. People get bored with just a set that they do every time they come in, and after a while, doing the same repetitive exercises will stop having the effect that it had at the beginning."

"Makes sense," I agreed. "So what other drills do you like to use with your students?"

"I like pulling drills from a bunch of different places," she replied. "Ones that make you travel are good, because you know everyone's exerting themselves the same amount. Crocodile walks, where you lie face down and move across the floor without letting your torso touch the ground, help with body control and general strength training. Don't underestimate basic exercises like lunges to get you warmed up.

"One of my favorites is having everyone stand up straight, put their hands behind their head and lift up one knee to touch their chest before lowering and doing the other, sort of like you're marching. Doing about 25 reps of each leg gets you warmed up and is terrific for developing kicks."

I winced, rubbing my sore muscles. "All that and you still run a class afterwards."

"You bet." She grinned. "Trust me, it makes for much more entertaining practices."

Yoshi E Kundagawa is a freelance journalist. He covers the mixed martial arts industry. For a free report on Martial Arts Drills visit his blog.


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