Code MMA: By popular request, last night’s session had a focus on striking; I have always really enjoyed Adams MMA lessons where we focus on strikes, as he incorporates techniques and training drills which are unorthodox in MMA, but common place in his Taekwondo training. That said, as a new Taekwondo white belt I have a new focus during these lessons, each drill and technique learned is additional progression as a Mixed Martial Artist and as a Taekwondo practitioner – double win! To ‘kick things off’ we warmed ourselves up with some light sparring, changing partners between rounds. Even during this light warm up drill, I can tell I need to work on observing my opponent’s actions, as opposed to focusing too heavily on what I intend to impose upon them.
Once all warmed up the class split off in to partners for the first of our drills; although this was the technical element of the lesson, it was clear that Adams intentions for tonight was to push us physically. With our training partner holding out their (boxing) gloved hands as though to replicate a head, Adam called out a strike or combination which we would have to action, reciprocated by our training partner within close succession. Occasionally, when Adam felt so inclined, he would briefly break the drill up and instruct the class to either do 50 push ups, 50 crunches or a round of light sparring. Towards the end of the drill I was getting a little fatigued, which caused a sort of tunnel vision where although I was hearing the techniques being called, I was failing to register what it was I needed to do, reverting to basically doing whatever technique naturally came to me. Although it was a positive that I did something, I need to work on keeping a calm mind during deep waters. This requires further training.
Following this drill, Adam instructed the class to split into groups of four. The next exercise involved one of the four standing within a close triangle made up by the remaining three; going clockwise, the person in the middle was to spar with each of the surrounding opponents, each round lasting one minute with no break between rounds. The intention of this drill was for the person in the middle to be put under pressure, allowing as little time as possible for resting/thinking. I apparently think very little in my sparring anyway, so in my absence of good technique I just went hell for leather, throwing ‘punches in bunches’. I found this to be a thoroughly enjoyable drill, perhaps one day I’ll be able to execute some ‘Mushin’.
Having depleted our energy reserves a little more, Adam brought the pace back down again and put us back on to some technical, instructing us to split back up in to training partners. The next drill was analogous to the first in the technical; however, this time with a focus on kicking. With the ‘Uke’ holding their (boxing) gloved hands out, we were to execute two kicks, focusing on the gloved hands as the target. The stipulation of this drill was that each kick should be as part of a ‘combo’, and should not be executed of the same leg concurrently. A combo I appeared to favour in this drill was a lead side kick off my left leg, followed by a spin back kick. Being able to put together kicks in a way that resembled a combo is a somewhat recent achievement for me, so I will look at the drill as a success; however, I am very conscious of the fact the techniques will require further technical improvement, particularly in the positioning of my body, and the efficiency of its execution.
Next, to round off the ‘technical section’ of the session, with our partners we did a quick pyramid drill, throwing lead turning kicks at our opponent on a count between 1 to 10. After completing this drill on each leg, the technical was over and we moved on to some form of sparring which Adam referred to a “a bit of a game”. This in mind, Adam instructed us to partner up and decide between us who would be punching and who would be kicking; the rules of the sparring match were the person using upper body strikes could not kick or faint kicks, only using their legs to move and block. Conversely, the person striking with their lower body could not use punches etc, only using their upper body for blocking. Halfway through the sparring round Adam would call change, at which point each person would switch whether they were using upper or lower body striking.
This was a long session, where we covered a lot of drills and worked our bodies and minds hard. This is how I know I am surrounded by great training partners, because by the end of the session there were good vibes all around and a sense that if given the opportunity we probably would have carried on going!