Both Chris and I plan to qualify for and compete in the WKF kickboxing world championships in Croatia this year. Hence, we don’t cross-train a lot but rather stick to basic kickboxing training. Besides shadow sparring, padwork and actual sparring, drills are a great way to develop reflexes and grind in some sport-specific reactions.
After analyzing some old kickboxing bouts and some more recent boxing matches, we came up with a simple defensive drill. One partner assumes a low kickboxing guard, while the other keeps throwing 1-2-3 combinations (jab, cross, lead hook). The first partner goes through the 6 step drill, working on each step for one 2 minute round. On each individual step, two factors are exchanged to give a variety of possibilities:
- type of defensive action (block / dodge)
- timing of the counter (none / indirect / direct)
I think the first factor is pretty obvious. You either block or dodge. Getting hit is not a valid option for rather obvious reasons.
As for the second factor, you can think of an indirect counter as an exchange of blows. The partner throws a punch, you block it and answer with a punch of your own. On the other hand, a direct counter is an „interception“. You don’t seperate defensive and offensive action anymore. Rather, you do them simultaneously. In the best case, your counter strike will actually become your defense. Well, I guess the concept ain’t that hard to grasp once you take a look at the video footage below.
Going a bit more into detail, the individual rounds are structured like this:
- Block the jab
- Block the cross with a shoulder roll
- Block the lead hook
- Dodge the jab
- Dodge the cross
- Dodge the lead hook
- Block the jab, indirectly throw a cross, block the cross with a shoulder roll, block the lead hook OR
- Block the jab, block the cross with a shoulder roll, indirectly throw a cross, block the lead hook OR
- Block the jab, block the cross with a shoulder roll, block the lead hook, indirectly throw a cross
- Dodge the jab, indirectly throw a cross, dodge the cross, dodge the lead hook OR
- Dodge the jab, dodge the cross, crouch down and indirectly throw a cross (like a Karate reverse punch), dodge the lead hook OR
- Dodge the jab, dodge the cross, dodge the lead hook, indirectly throw a cross/hook (depending on the distance to the partner)
- Block the jab, directly throw a jab, block the cross with a shoulder roll, block the lead hook OR
- Block the jab, block the cross with a shoulder roll, directly throw a jab to the ribs, block the lead hook OR
- Block the jab, block the cross with a shoulder roll, block the lead hook, directly throw a jab
- Dodge the jab, throw a direct jab, dodge the cross, dodge the lead hook OR
- Dodge the jab, dodge the cross, throw a direct cross, dodge the lead hook OR
- Dodge the jab, dodge the cross, intercept the lead hook with a cross
While those drills are not rocket science, there’s a couple of things I need to remark about them. First off, you notice the word OR is bold. That’s for a good reason – from the second round on, the defending partner is to counter one punch. The rest of them are just blocked/dodged. The attacking partner just keeps on throwing that combination, even after being countered. That way, the defending partner learns to keep his other hand up while striking, retract his punches, move the body, etc.
Also, the attacking partner should strike in a broken rhytm. Now this is not apparent in the below posted video footage, but the whole drill gets a lot harder and more beneficial for the defending partner if the rhytm keeps changing. For example, the attacker may throw a 1-2-3 the first time, and then 1-pause-2-3 or 1-2-pause-3. Just try it and you’ll immediately notice the difference.
As for the very last option of the last round (dodge & directly counter the lead hook), we really couldn’t think of a useful counter that actually combines dodging the lead hook with throwing a direct counter. So, yes, you’re right, there’s no actual dodging involved here. If know a smarter move that actually fits the concept, just let me know by posting it to the comments section below.
Also, I’d love to read your opinion on the drill after you’ve actually tried it, so feel free to post.