At Primal, Morris develops methods for learning the timing skill RJJ exhibits in the clip, which has several components. This post will describe one drill which helps develop timing, that is the ability to see the opponents’ strikes/kicks/shoots etc coming and get your response in before it arrives. In essence it’s a drill to learn cues by attending to them with peripheral vision. As such a person should avoid staring at the shoulder during a jab feed, with central vision, or tunneling as Steve calls it. Rather the trick is to look at the eyes/face and to let the peripheral vision, which is set up to respond to movement, do its job.
Firstly, it’s important to note that the drill is NOT a fight. It’s easy to get drawn into a bit of competitive ‘argy bargy’, but the idea is to strip the fight down to a level where all anxiety of being hit is removed so that both participants can get to grips with learning the cues preceding their opponents strikes. That is, in order to be able to beat your opponent to the punch, you have to see his/her shot coming. To facilitate this ability, your training partner is required to feed you a cue, on Sunday we started off with a jab, which is thrown in a biomechanically correct manner but the strike is not finished, Steve described it as hitting skin deep. The drill should be considered a flow drill.
The feeder provides a jab which can be exaggerated to ensure that the cue is obvious. The receiver then works off the jab, evading, covering, covering and striking, making angles etc. , the idea is to experiment to see what you can work into the ‘interval of time’, it can be anything. Because the drill is ‘slow’ it’s easy to become floppy or sloppy as the receiver, it’s essential that you do not. You need to stay alert and sharp, and reflect this in your responses to the feed. It’s quite a subtle thing, but brings the drill alive.
The feeder can then start experimenting with how the jab is fed, and use other feeds to develop the drill, including kicks. Any kind of strike can be fed, so that the cue preceding it can be learned, as long as the basic rules are applied; slow exaggerated feed, skin deep power, correct biomechanics, alert responses, flowing action, peripheral vision. It’s a method that begins to give the participants an appreciation of the interval of time.
The drill can then progress across all the ranges of the fight, so that hand fighting, clinching, throws etc. can all be included. As the range closes the cues become rather more kinaesthetic than visual, but the premise is consistent. It is up to the fighters to go through their repertoire of their abilities so that nothing is excluded. For the sake of continuity of the flow drill, rather than performing a throw every time it’s useful to do a ‘touch drill’ within the main drill and only complete the throw occasionally. That means that the position for the throw or takedown is assumed and the required body part is ‘captured’ or simply touched as appropriate, it saves getting up all the time.
Once a chance to have a go at the various distances has been achieved, the whole thing is put back together, so the feeder feeds anything and the receiver responds as appropriate. At this stage it is then possible to increase the volume somewhat to begin testing the cue responses under a little more pressure. This part must still be regulated as it should not become a fight thereby preventing any anxiety of being hit and/or tunnel vision creeping in. Steve gets us to do this in short duration bursts, something along the lines of; flow-flow-flow-volume up, flow-flow-flow-volume up, etc.
It’s a great drill which brings results.