Had Enough of That Traditional One Step Nonsense

... so said the MMA Warrior to all who cared.

Last night, we visited a cornerstone of that 'traditional' nonsense - the one step sparring exercise.

I'm sure you're familiar with this worn routine. It was performed with a side step to the outside and a knife hand parry to the oncoming extremity, countering with a roundhouse kick to the midsection, and then control/trap reverse punch to the floating ribs.

Photo One: Colin wearing standard battle order
What we wanted to do with this exercise was discuss what happens if the opponent varies the level of the strike, and the underlying assumption is that we don't want to leave any part of our body near the oncoming weapon. This could be because it's a knife or a broken bottle, or because you haven't really seen what he's actually packing and you certainly don't want to leave your body in the way to find out. 

Photo Two: Side-step-drag into a back stance variant to displace upper body

I side-step-drag into a back stance. As you can see my body has shifted off my previous centre-line. What is the first thing you might pick out is that instead of the normal upright back stance, Colin is in this wierd crouching-tiger-hidden-dragon position. That's because the opponent has come at me with a high section attack; I want to get my head away from it, cover nicely, and then use my front leg as the first choice to counter the opponent. Of course the choice of counter is entirely dependent on you and the situation. 

Photo Three: Emptying the body and pulling that leg back
The opponent is now taking a slash to my mid section. I've chosen to pull the front leg back and empty or curve out my body. Hey, it's a neko ashi dachi cat stance! And here you thought you'd would never see that outside a competition arena. Now instead of the high section knife hand block, I've performed a low knife hand defence which parries or deflects the slashing motion. As you can see the upper body and head has not been displaced as much as in Photo Two, and the hips are pulled as far back as possible in the same side-step-drag motion we used in Photo Two.  

Photo Four: Pulling that leg away.
In this last photo, I've side-step-rotated into a 'horse stance' or straddle stance or whatever 'nonsense' traditional label that's been applied to it. This is in response to not wanting your leg anywhere near a downward slashing motion or a strike aimed at the leg itself. As you can see, the leg has moved much more than in the first two photos, and the blocking hand is now an open hand, downward parry. The back hand has moved to cover the upper right quadrant - a position which could be used in the other two photos with good effect too.

There are many positives about 'situational combat' training that traditionalists should take heed of. It is important to cover, be aware of primary and secondary weapons, getting the body out of the way, cover/parry/block/trap tactics, etc. And doing all of that in a fluid dynamic exercise.

There is nothing wrong with tradition if tradition was the opportunity to discuss valuable 'street worthy' options. Are you progressively being stressed? Is your body moving enough to make your heart pound in your chest? Do you feel like your opponent is attacking you for real? Or are you just going through the same routine without thinking?

Don't knock it, folks. Traditional training is good training - it always has been. Being locked in the past however ... that was never what it was designed to be.

Keep practicing.



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