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The training matrix for an elbowing and knee combination

In this video we look at three drills for a combination consisting of a limb-clear, two-elbows and a knee. All three drills are needed in order to adequately cover the technique.

While training can be realistic; only real is real. We are always making compromises in the name of safety and it is important to acknowledge those compromises and mitigate against them. The only way to avoid sending people to the hospital every time we train is to introduce safety measures. If you think about it, we martial artists spend countless hours practising techniques which will harm people, and yet we seek to do so in a way that ensures no one gets harmed. This potential paradox needs to be addressed through a training matrix that ensures the “deliberate safety flaws” of one way of training are corrected by another form of training.

With that in mind, we worked this combination in three ways: with a partner, on the pads, and in the air (kihon).  Each method has inherent strengths and weaknesses.

Partner Drill

Pros: Real human body, realistic placement of strikes, the right flow (albeit slowed down).

Cons: Speed and power compromised to ensure safety.

Pad Drill

Pros: High impact, individual techniques can be delivered with speed.

Cons: Pads are not people, flow of techniques interrupted as partner repositions pads.


Pros: Correct speed, flow and body mechanics.

Cons: No impact and no human being to apply methods to.

While all three drills are “faulty” in themselves, the overall matrix ensures we have practised all the required elements: Placement (partner drill), impact (pads), flow (kihon), etc.

As pragmatic martial artists we need to be ever mindful of the strengths and weaknesses of each form of training. Only real is real; and safety is a requirement of any effective training program (you are not able to keep yourself safe if the training has already done the physical harm you sought to avoid in the first place, or leaves you physically unable to protect yourself). The key is to ensure that the overall training matrix develops all aspects of a functioning technique; with each of the drills counteracting the necessary flaws of the other drills.

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All the best,


PS The YouTube link can be found HERE

Practical Kata Bunkai: The training matrix for an elbowing and knee combination.