Another way to disguise repetition is to focus on drill variety. The primary way I approach variation is through looking at the sparring applications of techniques.
Take a simple partner back kick drill with a shield. The easiest format is for students to take turns kicking the shield/ target to work on the technique. A simple kicking drill is effective, but gets boring after too long, so I look for ways to add complexity.
The following drills are a general progression of challenge that you can apply from beginners to advanced students.
Reaction – The holder checks (or Kihaps) and the kicker back kicks. This is a great way to get the students to work on speed! How fast can they kick after their partner checks.
Changing Distance/ Adding Footwork – The kicker, using footwork such as skipping forward, skipping back, or stepping, kicks a stationary target.
Change Timing – This one adds movement for both participants, which is great because sparring is not stationary. When the holder starts to slide back the kicker, steps and kicks or when the kicker starts to move, the holder reacts and slides back. Either way the kicker has to adjust to make contact.
Compound drills/ Changing roles – This one shifts the kickers role from offense to defense or the other way within the drill. A basic example, the kicker does round kick on a shield, the holder then steps-in (simulating a round kick), the kicker slides back and rounds kicks.
Free motion – All the previous drills have a kind of rigid movement, either being stationary or with limited stepping. In a free motion drill you can take any of the previous drills, but add in free sparring motions. With this concept the partners move around, freely in space, before they initiate the drill on their own timing.
Small Group Drills: You can also add variation through drills with small groups. Adding move people to a single drill adds excitement to the drill. One example I like is when you take 3 to 5 students, give all but one a target and put them in a circle around the kicker. The holders on the outside then check (Kihap) and the kicker in the middle then has to kick the target of that holder as fast as they can.
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