Fit To Fight: Workout #2

Previously I wrote about mixing in simple combative drills with basic cardio building movements in order to create a self-defense workout which anyone can do, and how surprisingly that can build fighting endurance, stamina and strength. 

Today I want to share a second workout which works under the same premise, but with a little twist.  You see, many times when we train self-defense, we assume everything is very linear.  The opponent will attack on a simple direct line, and we can retaliate, using a simple step forward or backward movement in order to evade and counter. 

Although that may be true in some situations, in many, there will be a lot of awkward movement and angles.  We many times forget that there will be obstacles in the way, throwing off our timing and balance before and after our strikes or even our escape. 

That is why, in my self-defense classes, I love to set up obstacle courses for my students, to mix in with their self-defense techniques.  They seem elementary, but are very functional when you really look at self-defense scenarios which happen to people in real life. 

The point of the workout, and this article, isn’t so much the techniques which are trained, but what happens in between the striking and/or defending.  To drive home this point, I would like to teach the “over-under drill”.  You can create this workout on your own if training solo, or with a couple training partners.

The set up is easy, put a partner or striking target (i.e. heavy bag) on both opposing sides of the training space.  In the middle of them, you either put something you have to “go over” such as a box, or a rope you must go under.  You can easily use a broom and two chairs as shown in the pictures. 

The point is to strike one target on one side with your favorite moves, and then maneuver over or under the obstacle in order to get to the other striking target.  Repeat the process of doing the same defensive moves, or other kind of moves, and then again negotiate going over or under the obstacle.

Is this simple?  Yes.  Is it an easy workout?  Well, depending on your fitness level, three rounds of one minute each will usually wear people out much more than they would ever imagine.  Is this functional?  Of course.  What I have found is that when doing simple movements as going over a box or under a rope, for example, uses muscles groups we’re not use to using not only in our self-defense training, but in life in general.

The taxing on your cardio is real, and the ability you use to regain your balance, adjust your coordination and refocus on the target is one of those things we just take for granted until we actually need it.  Use this “over-under” drill to accomplish all of these things at once, while working on the self-defense techniques you usually do.    

If you would like to see the explanation of this drill via video, click here: