Join Date: May 2006
Re: Sport is the new Budo
The hardest part about the drills that include striking is that I really want to work in punches to the head, but gloves really limit the ability to control the wrist and even with headgear, I'm not too keen on taking a lot of bare knuckle punches to the head.
A few other skills these drills build are the ability to see a feint. If a person throws a feint, you have no reason to defend it, thus you will really only deal with real committed attacks. This will teach you to deal with combo's as well. Something a trained fighter normally will use. You also learn to deal with the worst case situation, eating a punch and still performing. In fact another level of the punching drill is to simply move, no technique at all, just move and prevent uke from hitting you for 2-3 minutes. With a real determined uke it will be very hard, but you will learn a lot about body movement. In that case, throw on some boxing head gear and a mouth guard, and give him some gloves. Let him punch anywhere.
A couple smaller drills I use for fun are:
1) Grab my jacket.
The goal of this drill is to train you to engage before the grab takes place. And to feel the movement and read your partner. Its simple, if uke grabs your lapel and can give it a solid tug you reset. Your goal is to move or intercept his hand and perform a technique. He may grab you while falling down, because this is not competition, we do not keep track of who won, so it doesn't matter, he fell down, but he also grabbed your lapel, both of these mean reset. So reset.
2) Circle of surprise.
One of my favorite fun drills I do in bjj is this. I am going to modify it to fit aikido. Basically the instructor stands off to one side. Puts one student in the middle. Everyone else walks in a circle around the man in the middle. The instructor places his hand on each students arm as they walk past him. If he squeezes the arm, then that student can engage the person in the middle at any time before he makes it back to the instructor. Because the man in the middle has no idea who is being picked, he has no idea the direction of the attack. You could work this with any actual drill you want. I think for aikido it would work best with a underhook or grab drill. Basically the person squeezed has to take down or lift off the ground the person in the middle. So if the person in the middle falls down, or is lifted for more then 2 seconds, he is taken out of the middle and a new student put in his place. If the person picked to rush in is thrown, submitted, or pinned, he goes back to the circle. If the person in the middle continues to win, or, if the student picked is not being thrown, submitted,or pinned, but can't achieve his goal, the instructor can flag another student to turn this into a multiple attacker situation, until ultimately the student in the middle is defeated. (That's my favorite part about this drill).
2) Worst case scenario
This drill is a modification of the first 3 drills I posted. Basically you pick one of those drills, but start it from a bad position for nage. A good example is have someone start with double underhooks, or over/under (one arm under the arms, one arm over the arms) from behind on nage. When time starts the uke needs to take down nage, or submit him. Nage needs to get him off his back and/or do the same. Once the goal is achieved, they switch places with nage becoming uke and continue. You could combine this with the striking drill. One person holding nage from behind, with another person on a 4 second timer to come in striking. Nage must throw/pin/submit both partners before he is struck, throw, or submitted. In this case the puncher should probably either be smart enough to not drill nage while the other uke is holding him, or wear boxing gloves. Aikido teaches one punch can kill. So if you are are hit, concider yourself dead. You could also start with one person on each arm as if trying to secure nage. If nage escapes both, submits or throws his ukes, reset. If ukes hold nage for more then 30 seconds, or take him to the ground, reset, swaping out one of the ukes for nage.
Basically, just pick a bad spot to start from, and pick a drill. Mix and match at its best, you can incorporate walls, maybe a heavy bag on the ground to act as a obstacle, etc.
Last one I'll post for now
4) knife from nowhere.
This is an add on drill to any of the other drills mentioned. Each uke has a rubber knife tucked away somewhere reachable. Before each drill, the ukes all come together and pick which one of them (or the instructor can choose) will pull the knife during the drill and attempt to stab his nage. It is important that the nages do not know who this person or persons will be, just that they understand the threat that someone 'might' have a knife. The nage's are not allowed to use the knife against uke until the uke pulls the knife (or attempts to). Remeber all ukes need to have the knife on them so nage just can't look and see uke has a knife. He won't know its a knife attack until uke goes for the knife. This is because it is hard to hide a knife in a gi, but on the street it is easy to hide a knife. This drill teaches you awareness and practical knife defense skills in semi realistic drills. To really make this tough, if you are not aware and you do get stabbed, require you do 10 pushups, increasing by 5 every time you get stabbed in later drills that day. (so 10 first time, 15 second time, 20 the third time.)
The most important part in these drills is that you have fun, but stay serious about your goals. And DO NOT keep score!