Last night we were working on sparring combinations.  When someone starts free sparring, there’s a strong tendency to throw single techniques, stop, regroup, then throw another one.  Unless you’re a skilled counter-puncher, most successful “points” are scored with a series of techniques thrown in combination.   For some reason there is often a mental block in how to get started or how to string techniques together.

One of the easiest ways I know to jumpstart the process is to throw some “bones” or dice. 
Each technique is given a unique number, throw the dice, and write down the result.   Obviously some of the combinations may not flow perfectly or may need some tweaking in
implementation, but their purpose is not perfection. Their purpose is to get a series of movements linked together and prompt the student to throw more than one technique at a time.  So what did we come up with?   We used this matrix:

1  Front Leg Round House
2  Rear Leg Round House
3  Front Leg Front Kick
4  Rear Leg Front Kick
5  Front Leg Side Kick
6  Rear Leg Side Kick
1  Back Fist
2  Reverse Punch
3  Ridge Hand
4  Front  “Jab”
5  Rear “ Cross” 
6  Wild Card or Hook

Since we didn’t have dice in the dojo, I just had folks close their eyes and call out a # while I built the combinations.   I first built a kick, punch, kick; then a punch, kick, punch; and finally a kick, kick, punch.  You can easily add a 4th technique or even another category

We ended up with 
a) Rear Leg Round House, Ridge Hand, Front Leg Side Kick
b) Reverse Punch, Front Leg Round House, Ridge Hand
c) Rear Leg Side Kick, Rear Leg Round House, Ridge hand

You quickly find that some combos work better than others.  I like to start with a kick to bridge the gap, then adjust depending on what response I’ve created (does he move
backwards, to the side, stand his ground?).  So starting with a Reverse punch wouldn’t be my first choice, and that also brings the rear hip forward which would better load a front kick than a round house (at least for my body mechanics).   I’m also not a huge Ridge Hand fan in application, but for point sparring it gives some variety and it’s uncommon enough that you can easily surprise someone with it. When judging, I usually only score a Ridge Hand thrown to the face, my thought being the back of the head is too damn hard, and body shots too weak for most people to be effective unless they can wind up and bury it.  
So we worked thru these up and down the floor, allowing the partner to move (or not) at their discretion. This caused us to work thru different foot positions, stances, distance
 covered, and targets in order to apply these effectively.   Point being that we now had folks delivering multiple techniques and having to be purposeful in their application of techniques and targets vs. delivering solo shots and then stopping.

I’ve used dice, numbered pieces of paper pulled out of a hat, playing cards, and/or coins to generate random sequences of combinations.  This is an excellent way to keep things
fresh and interesting and a great way to prep for tournaments by forcing reps and combinations.  Give it a try and see what happens.

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