Do you like casserole?  All your favorite things mixed up and baked into wholesome goodness?  Easy to make, easy to eat, and easy to clean-up.  What’s not to like?

So at last night’s workout, we had a little casserole of chaos.   Several of my favorite drills all stirred up and strung together into some martial arts fun.


12-Step Solo Focus Mitt drill
Padded impact weapons
Heavy Bag

Step 1) Partner A stands on far side of room with single Focus Mitt.  On command, performs 12 Step Solo focus mitt drill (based on a Stinger workout by my friend Pete Kautz).  If you don’t know that specific drill, make up your own consisting of assorted palm strikes, punches, elbows, knees & kicks on a focus mitt that you are holding.

Step 2) When finished with the 12-step, drop focus mitt, sprint to other side of the  room in front of the heavy bag and do a burpee.

Step 3) When you get up (or while you’re getting up) Partner B tries to hit or stab
you with their padded weapon*.  

Step 4) Partner A evades/blocks/defends against semi-sneaky attack and counter
attacks with any kick to the heavy bag.

Step 5) Partner A performs another burpee while avoiding getting hit in the face/head
with the now swinging heavy bag.

Step 6) repeat sneak attack, evade, kick sequence.

Step 7) Return to other side of the room, pick up Focus mitt, repeat entire sequence
as desired.

This little bundle of chaos accomplishes multiple things.  The focus mitt section forces you to get comfortable in applying force to something at the end of your arm – after all, that’s the ideal distance because that’s where the opponent ought to be, right at the end of your arm.  It trains cardio/conditioning.  It forces you to change planes, and trains getting down and up off the ground under stress.  The padded weapon forces you to react and then respond with a counterattack, often before you’re ready, and without having perfectly “set” stances.  Being aware of the swinging heavy bag forces you to be aware (duh), and also often creates an isometric hold position in the pushup position, further fatiguing the muscles and making a more realistic feel when having to block, evade, or counter strike.  

All in all, a nice little drill that trains a bunch of different elements and breaks up the monotony of standing in a static position in front of a pad/bag and just working on an individual technique.   Was it always pretty or form perfect?  Of course not.  It was mostly messy, like a good casserole, but it was very filling.   Why not give it a try?

*Note - padded weapons can easily be made using ½’” PVC pipe covered in pipe
insulation wrapped in duct tape.  Make different lengths, for example I have ones that simulate the length of a 1903 Springfield .30-06 with a bayonet attached (sorry President Obama, I didn’t know that bayonets were no longer in use/fashion.  I guess our “Commander in Chief” forgot to check with the Marines), a Louisville Slugger, escrima sticks of assorted lengths, and knives of assorted lengths.  This forces you to react in different ways to the different reach involved.  I’ll do a separate post about the padded weapons with pix.

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