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  1. lklawson is offline

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    Posted On:
    2/16/2011 8:31am


     Style: Bowie

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!

    The Target Ball - Practice on the cheap

    I have reintroduced a tool that I used to use a lot. A "target ball."

    This is basically just a tennis ball hung from a line. There are many drills that you can use with it, but it excels at two general type of drills: Thrusting Accuracy and Evasion.

    For evasion drills, adjust the hang to somewhere around hip to head height. Then start it swinging. The point is to work on evasions using footwork and body movement. Adjusting the height allows for practice at differing lines to the body. Work against low-line thrusts to the abbs will have the hang set at hips. The natural arc of the swing will provide a general "up" movement during the climb portion of the swing. Hanging the ball at head height will facilitate head evasions and can be used as practice against punches as well. Visualization is one of the keys.

    For Thrusting Accuracy drills, well, a tennis ball is a pretty small target. For the initial thrust, be sure to adjust your range to the target to be the same as what you would be during an actual fight. Again, visualization is a key element. Don't "see" a tennis ball. Instead, "see" the clavicle, shoulder joint, or heart.

    Yes, you can use it for slashing drills too, but don't cheat yourself. Target it. Don't just let the ball slide into your edge.

    Combination Drills can be done too. My favorite at the moment is thrusting + evasion. Thrust for the ball and then, as it swings crazily about, avoid getting hit and thrust again.

    Targeting, body movement, footwork, and even cardio, what's not to like? :)

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
  2. Diesel_tke is offline
    Diesel_tke's Avatar

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    Posted On:
    2/16/2011 9:58am

    supporting member
     Style: stick,Taiji, mountainbike

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Interesting! I've heard it used for slipping drills in boxing, but never even thought about swords.
    Combatives training log.

    Gezere: paraphrase from Bas Rutten, Never escalate the level of violence in fight you are losing. :D

    Drum thread

    Pavel Tsatsouline: kettlebell workouts give you “cardio without the dishonour of aerobics”.
  3. Spungdeeper is offline

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    Spokanistan, WA
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    Posted On:
    2/16/2011 12:51pm


     Style: HEMA, Judo, Bjj

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    I've been thinking of doing this for awhile now. So it looks like I'll start today or tomorrow. Whenever it stops freaking raining.
  4. Punisher is offline
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    Posted On:
    2/17/2011 12:36am

    supporting member
     Style: Five Animal Fighting

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    As a kid my dad had a tennis ball hanging in the garage to tell my mom when to stop so she wouldn't hit the washing machine. I would always get in trouble for punching and kicking it.

    I can see how the ball could be useful for weapons training. For empty handed stuff I've also just a string or shoe lace for accuracy practice. Doesn't work as well for evasion though.
  5. BackFistMonkey is offline
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    Posted On:
    2/17/2011 2:07am

    supporting member
     Style: Recovery-Fu

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by lklawson View Post
    I have reintroduced a tool that I used to use a lot. A "target ball."

    This is basically just a tennis ball hung from a line. There are many drills that you can use with it, but it excels at two general type of drills: Thrusting Accuracy and Evasion.

    For evasion drills, adjust the hang to somewhere around hip to head height. Then start it swinging. The point is to work on evasions using footwork and body movement. Adjusting the height allows for practice at differing lines to the body. Work against low-line thrusts to the abbs will have the hang set at hips. The natural arc of the swing will provide a general "up" movement during the climb portion of the swing. Hanging the ball at head height will facilitate head evasions and can be used as practice against punches as well. Visualization is one of the keys.

    For Thrusting Accuracy drills, well, a tennis ball is a pretty small target. For the initial thrust, be sure to adjust your range to the target to be the same as what you would be during an actual fight. Again, visualization is a key element. Don't "see" a tennis ball. Instead, "see" the clavicle, shoulder joint, or heart.

    Yes, you can use it for slashing drills too, but don't cheat yourself. Target it. Don't just let the ball slide into your edge.

    Combination Drills can be done too. My favorite at the moment is thrusting + evasion. Thrust for the ball and then, as it swings crazily about, avoid getting hit and thrust again.

    Targeting, body movement, footwork, and even cardio, what's not to like? :)

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
    The accuracy bit was shown to me by my foil instructor way back in the day. It feels more than a little clumsy at first.

    I can't wait to meet up with you folks soon.

    * EDIT *

    Oh he also had us super glue coins ( pennies, nickles, quarters, and dimes) to bricks walls, fence posts, trash cans, or what ever you could safely thrust at with an epee or foil ( no sheet rock or plaster ). You spread them out at different heights to simulate different targets. The point was to build accuracy with a pokey thrusty sword in a sporting situation not power.

    I don't know if it is good for anything else, besides maybe thrusting stick ( cane, umbrellla, etc ) or general point work .
    Last edited by BackFistMonkey; 2/17/2011 2:21am at .
    Quote Originally Posted by Bodhi108 View Post
    Nuke a unborn gay whale for Christ.
    “I don't mean to sound bitter, cold, or cruel, but I am, so that's how it comes out.”
    BILL HICKS,
    1961-1994
  6. lklawson is offline

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    Posted On:
    2/17/2011 8:56am


     Style: Bowie

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by BackFistMonkey View Post
    I don't know if it is good for anything else, besides maybe thrusting stick ( cane, umbrellla, etc ) or general point work .
    Nothing wrong with a drill which focuses on only one aspect. Sometimes we in the martial arts community get too entranced by drills or gizmos which are supposed to be good for lots of things. Sometimes we just really need to work one specific skill set for a while. :)

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
  7. lklawson is offline

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    Posted On:
    2/17/2011 9:00am


     Style: Bowie

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by Punisher View Post
    As a kid my dad had a tennis ball hanging in the garage to tell my mom when to stop so she wouldn't hit the washing machine. I would always get in trouble for punching and kicking it.
    Many moons ago when I practiced a P/K art which I am now too embarrassed to name I used a similar tennis ball arrangement for P/K accuracy and dodging. This one had two balls hanging in series, separated by one to three feet (depending) of cord. These things would move unbelievably erratically if the top ball were hit. Eventually, they'd settle down into a pendulum but the way the bottom would react when you punched the top was always wonky.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk

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