Although training with a partner is the ideal way to train Combatives, quite often we won’t have access to training partners. So rather than not train at all, we can train alone and still get a good session in.
A few pointers to keep in mind when solo training:
- Don’t try to do too much in one session. Pick just a few techniques or drills to work on throughout the session and stick to them. If you try to cover too much you will scatter your focus and end up learning nothing. Remember that good Combatives training is about repetition. To get good you have to train a select few techniques over and over until you master them. If you try to master too many techniques at one time you will end up mastering none.
- Train with the street in mind. This means you do not train in a sporting manner. So no shadow boxing or long endurance workouts. Everything you do must be combative, not sporting. Warm up first, then practice your drills and techniques in short bursts. A real street fight is an explosive burst of energy that doesn’t last very long. There are no rounds. Only periods of intense combat lasting only several seconds. Your training must reflect that. So basically, go like fk for no more than ten seconds then stop and repeat.
- Add emotional content to your training. Whatever you do, you must back it up with the correct mindset. If you hit the bag, do so with full intent and aggression. Really imagine that you are in a situation and you have to put this guy down. Anything less will not do. You are practicing accessing state as much as the physical techniques. Hit the switch, go like fuck and then knock the switch off again, making sure to check state every time. Training in this way, you are making sure the techniques will come out under pressure when you need them. This is the only way to train.
- Resist the temptation to do long sessions. Long training sessions are for endurance athletes and sport fighters. You will benefit most from shorter sessions of about fifteen to twenty minutes, but train at full intensity during that time. If you feel one session isn’t enough, train twice a day.
1. FENCE AND STRIKE DRILL
What’s good about this drill is that you don’t need any equipment and it can be done anywhere.
Start from a square on stance, then move into a fence position with your arms out front as if controlling your space, then from there throw a pre-emptive strike.
Repeat a number of times.
To make the drill more useful, bring your imagination into play. Pretend there is someone in front of you, giving you grief. Control your space as they try to enter it and then, when you think the moment is right, strike with full intent and see yourself knocking the guy out. Remember, emotional content is what makes these techniques stick.
2. FENCE, STRIKE, BLAST AND FINISH
As above, only after you strike pre-emptively you continue to blast your opponent with multiple strikes, moving forward as you do so (forward drive) before finally finishing your opponent off with knees and elbows or some other technique of your choice.
3. IMAGINARY BRAWL DRILL
For this drill you are going to be playing out a whole attack scenario from start to finish. Think of a scenario first. You could be walking to your car in a dimly lit car park after a particularly tiring day at work or you could be standing outside the chippy on after having had a few drinks with friends. Whatever. Your imagination is the limit here.
Once you have a scenario in mind, really put yourself into it, mentally and emotionally. Begin to act it out the way a real actor would.
Let’s take the car park example. You are walking to your car when you spot two dodgy looking guys loitering near your car. Your spidey sense starts to tingle and you can feel the adrenaline begin to bubble up inside you. Something isn’t right (really feel this!). As you continue to walk to your car, one of the guys (dressed in jeans, black jacket and baseball cap) asks you for a light. You tell him you don’t have one. No sooner have you answered him when the other guy (wearing track suit bottoms and a dark coloured hoodie) suddenly rushes towards you, drawing his fist back in preparation to hit you. The fight is on.
That’s the set up. What way this scenario goes is up to you. The important thing is that you mimic every move as it happens. If you strike one of the guys, then do so for real and really feel the impact. If you get hit or grabbed, react to that for real.
Fall to the floor and grapple. Enact the whole fight. Then when it’s over, walk away.
Done right, with your imagination in full swing, this can end up feeling like a real fight. It’s almost like visualisation practice but you are physically acting out each movement instead of just picturing it in your head.
Try to be alone when doing this drill. If anyone sees you, they will think you’ve lost your mind as you throw yourself around and fight imaginary attackers!