I am a keen martial artist but when i am sparring i feel as if my reactions aren't quick enough to block some of the attacks. i would be grateful if you could recommend some ways for me to improve my reactions.
Dave Price, England
There are two ways to respond in a fight: passively or actively. The former strategy is to just block and hit back. The latter is to counterattack followed by quick movement such as short footwork or weaving the body to avoid the opponent's attack then hit back (this happens almost simultaneously).
I recommend you try the second method since it reduces your mental reaction time as well as any physical delay in motion. Here are 3 ways to practice:
- From a short fighting stance, slide back 6 to 12 inches very quickly, then move to the side (to the right if you are right-handed fighter) at a 45-degree angle. Repeat 20 to 30 times.
- From fighting stance, slide back as in step 1, then make a quick rear leg roundhouse kick to the front. Practice 20-30 times.
- From fighting stance, side step 45 degrees to the right rear, and do the same type of roundhouse kick as quickly as possible. Repeat 20-30 times.
Do these drills 5 days a week for a month and you will see yourself changing in reaction time.
- Make your movements short and fast while maintaining maximum control.
- Eliminate any unnecessary motions or steps in your reaction.
- Watch how other competitors perform in action. (Competition videos or footwork drills are good to begin with.)
Sang H. Kim