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Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture
Bas Rutten Blocking Drill

Here is a blocking drill from Bas Rutten. Ron Goin posted the link on the Facebook page and I thought forum members and visitors would also be interested in it.

We have something similar as part of the fighting component of our syllabus. We don’t have a ring, but the recipient is not allowed to move their feet so it takes away Tai-Sabaki (body-shifting) and hence effective blocking is forced. We find that this also encourages “bobbing and weaving” especially when we introduce “countering the counters” and make the drill back and forth.

I really like the way Bas Rutten presents this drill and I’m sure everyone will have their own variations that they will wish to share.

All the best,


shoshinkanuk's picture

Bas Rutten is one of my all time favorites for presenting such things!

We do alot of this type of work, one of the variations I use alot is along the lines of the following -

1. partner puts focus mitts on 2. they then use single (but hard) shots round to the head, or into the ribs (using flat of mitts) 3. defender uses Jodan, Gedan or Kamaete to cover up and not get hit clean 4. you can then mix it up, playing with tempo, range etc etc Once that is done we do the 'go ballistic drill' which is as above except the attacker just trys to hit the defender as they wish, it's amazing how footwork and attention increases in this drill, contact is hard but worked to the partners level.

Neil Cook
Neil Cook's picture

This is one of the things i got from my kickboxing training, i found it helps students get over the fear of punches coming at you and gets you used to close in fighting.

nielmag's picture

This is kind of like a modern day "sticky hands" or flow drill isnt it?  Just out of curiosity, I know Iain said this was part of his "fighting" syllabus (and martial map!) but does this have any self protection benefiits.  Just wanted to hear everyones thoughts.

Andrew Carr-Locke
Andrew Carr-Locke's picture

We do lots of this kind of stuff in our 'Duck & Cover' curriculum. What started as an extended block type motion fro tournament play (slapping punches with the hands as they come in, or extended inside/outside blocks, has now become hands touch the head all the time, and block with the forearms and elbows). 

We started with blocking on the spot, one side limited to standing their ground and the other person had to stay somewhat in front of them while hitting. We progressed it to the defender standing in a corner while one or two opponents hit at them. Again, just defence. IT gets very overwhelming in such a small tight space with multiple fists coming at you. Of course, wear boxing gloves for the hitters to keep it safe and work at an agreed upon level of contact. What we are trying to develop is a resting position that by its nature and structure protects against damage. When we begin to introduce counter striking, the non-hitting arm stays in the resting (protective) position. 

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

nielmag wrote:
Just out of curiosity, I know Iain said this was part of his "fighting" syllabus (and martial map!) but does this have any self protection benefits.

I’d put such drills predominately in the fighting side of thing because it is reactive and blocking and countering tends not to work quite so well when things get close, chaotic and “emotional”. The main reason I see it as fighting would be that there is no attempt to escape though. The blocker stays were they are and continues to block, but there is no reason why they could not flee (or try to flee) and that would be the right thing in self-protection.

Of course being able to block is part of self-protection too. No good if you see a punch coming and all you can think is, “I wish I knew how to stop that!” However, I would suggest that blocking is a major part of fighting, but only a very minor part of self-protection.

If this was taught primarily as a self-protection drill, I would worry it would be encouraging them to react as opposed to take control, and to continue to fight when they could be escaping. There is some cross over, but I don’t think that cross over should be over emphasised until distinctions become blurred. That’s why I personally use the classifications I do. Others may label things differently, but that’s what works for us and best frames the various aspects of our training.

I hope that helps explain the view I take.

All the best,


Paul Anderson
Paul Anderson's picture

Cool post.  We do a few 'generic' type drills.  I've quickly noted down a few off the top of my head.  Might try and film some ..

  1. Sit back to back on floor.  When instructor says go objective is to stand up get the other person on the floor in a hold immobile.  Generic wrestling drill.
  2. Stand facing your opponent.  Hold your opponents wrist with your left hand.  Have your opponent hold your wrist with their left hand.  When instructor says go the objective is to tap your opponent on the head with your right hand.  Hilariously difficult.  More about body/weight shifting than arms
  3. Spar with an opponent with legs allowed only.  Each person throws one technique and then the other throws one and onwards ..... catch is where land post kick is where you throw the next technique from.  Makes you throw techniques from awkward positions.  You quickly get rid of high kicks, and start kicking like a donkey !
  4. Kneel on floor facing partner within touching distance.  Hand sparring only.  Aim is to develop deflecting capability at close range without being able to move backwards.  Clearly shows that delfecting on the fly and staying in distance opens up big gaps where limbs were.  Develops into deflect push limb out way and strike in a related movement.
  5. Spar with Opponent arms only movement allowed.  Aim is for every technique thrown a deflection and response must be generated on each side.  This builds up in speed until chain broken.  Start again.  More advanced version of No 4.


I guess we all do lots of this type of stuff ... what does everyone else do?