Warm-up drills are an important start of every practice-session to avoid unnecessary injuries.

Every warm-up drill shall be related to the fighting practice at hand. For instance, before practising kicks at full power one should perform relaxed, “languid” kicks in the air, going through the motions at reduced speed.

Play fighting

This is a kind of fighting, when paired off the participants are to hit each other with the fingertips in fast, smooth and whip like moves. The important part is not to hit your opponent though, but to avoid being hit!

You start with only two areas of the body which are permissible to strike at, and then you add two more and finally another two. Good examples of striking areas:

  • Outside of shoulders, outside of knees.
  • Inside of knees, top of head.
  • Back part of ribcage, and (if you can manage it) the whole back from neck to butt.

Remember to trade fighting-partner now and then, so that you get “the feel” of different opponents. Always start from your fighting stance!

Free defence

At first, one should learn and practise the different moves and techniques paired off with an opponent. When one believes that one has the technique right, it is time to test if the technique actually works. It can be done in several ways. A good and proven method is the following:

  1. You practise your moves against a partner. When the instructor calls out the attack in a loud voice, like “-Front kick!”- One part is to attack and the other part defends itself by a technique or techniques of choice. The whole set of moves should include take-down and controlling grip, which might flow into a strangulation etc.

Once you commence an action, you do it once and stay in the final position until the instructor breaks off.

  1. A group of martial arts practitioners are lined up, and one by one they attack a single person standing alone in front of the line. All opponents’ use the same technique, decided by the instructor beforehand. When everybody in the line has performed one attack, the defender changes place with someone in the line and it all starts over again.
  1. Just like in 2 above, with the exception that the instructor calls out a new technique every time a new opponent moves forward.
  1. This time, a defender is standing in the middle of the floor, the other in a circle around him. While the defender has his eyes closed, the instructor moves round the circle, silently assigning a number to every practitioner in the circle. When the instructor calls out a number, the defender opens his eyes and prepares to defend himself. At the same time, the opponent designated with this number moves forward into an attack, using a technique by his own choice.
  1. The instructor can now make the practice a little more advanced, by calling out two numbers immediately after each other (The instructor may of course call out “-Every number!”, and then the real fun starts!).
  1. Next step is just like in 3. But now each opponent is allowed to use a technique of his own choice.

Training can of course be advanced further. One way is to provide different weapons for the opponents; another is to speed up the opponent’s in order to put the defender under more stress. Practically, as soon as the defender has taken down one opponent, the next one will move in. One may also add multiple opponents attacking simultaneously.

Pig fighting

Pig fighting resembles ordinary floor wrestling, although here you start by one practitioner applying a stronghold on another one who is lying down. Locks and strangulation techniques are not allowed. Then the practitioner at a disadvantage is to work himself free.

Position fighting

In Position fighting the defender is laying flat on his back, either with his head or his feet pointing towards the opponent who is in his fighting stance about two feet away. The opponent will now try to make the defender to surrender, maybe by applying a lock or a choke-hold (strangulation) on the defender on the floor. This is good practice, since this is a common situation in many competition systems. The single rule is that the defender is not allowed to move until the opponent commences his attack.

Knee randori

This is a standing fighting exercise, where the ultimate goal is to put your opponent down on the floor without using kicks or strikes. The idea is to put your opponent out of balance, throw, and trip or sweep him down. To put some spice into the exercise, knee strikes against the stomach is allowed. Remember to work with reduced force when using the knee strike.

This is a popular exercise in Judo, although knee strikes are not allowed then.

Line fighting

You stand in your fighting stance, facing your opponent. Your forward foot shall almost touch your opponent’s forward foot. The rule is that the forward foot cannot be moved. (Your other foot may move if necessary to keep your balance). Now you can commence fighting with your hands, like in boxing. Line fighting can also be practised standing on your knees. This is a great method to practise blocks, strikes and “taking punches”. I recommend that you train with light contact and well controlled moves.

The gong-gong

One person holds a fighting pad close to the body so it covers chest and stomach. Another person will now strike the pad repeatedly with different punches, as fast as possible during one minute. Then they change places. This is an excellent method to increase upper-body agility.

Infighting moves

When practising throws, you should first think the throw through slowly, and then throw once. After that you repeat ten fast infighting moves, and on the tenth move you go all the way with the throw. This is the way to increase speed when throwing your opponent.

Active rest

Always try to be active even when resting. When you have to rest, do it by “moving lightly on the spot”. Never stand completely still.

As an instructor, you should avoid gathering your students sitting on the floor when showing a new technique. The student will soon be cold and stiff, the risk for injuries will increase and efficiency will decline.

Technique practise

Mostly, it is more fun and more efficient to practise techniques in series. One should always practise techniques “on the move” so that the opponent never comes to a complete stop when an attack is over. (Never happens in the real world!).

For instance:
Against front kicks, block downwards on the inside, strike a frontal punch, throw and work towards an arm-lock.
Against a hook, parry with an outward block, perform a leg sweep and finish with a controlling hold by your discretion.
Against a straight punch, block the punch inwards, strike with your closest hand at his exposed rib cage, and continue to work towards strangulation from the back…

If you feel it’s difficult to come up with new series, you can easily put together a matrix schedule with numbers, like the picture below. Then you decide a number combination without locking at the schedule.

Example; 2 – 1 – 3 – 2 which in our case means; Against a straight punch, parry with an inward block, then you take the opponent down with a Knee stomp and then you finish your defence with Air choke. Sometimes you have to be more creative than others.

In the end of this page you find a larger matrix picture which includes most of the Kyu-syllabus.


Put together short, simple series of techniques, containing for instance only a strike and a blocking technique.
Example: Your opponent strikes a straight punch, you block inwards, then you strike a straight punch etc.
At first, practise the combinations slowly until you feel you are in control of the moves.
Then practise hard for two minutes, where you and your fighting partner really strikes at each other, so you can feel that the techniques work!
If you are aiming at a career in competitions, you should add a lot of fighting, shadow-boxing and punching the pads and bags to your training.

Static kick technique

Most of the kicks can be performed in slow tempo. This requires that you have a static strength in the legs. Perform a kick so slow you can and hold the leg in the hit situation in a few seconds. But this type of training can perfect the technique; build stability, balance and strength.

Knee exercise

Stand with your legs together and place your hands just above your knees. Bend your legs and stretch again. Repeat 10-20 times. This is a controlled way to activate the muscle groups around the knee before kick training.

Remember: to always warm up properly before training, and never to exercise when running a fever or an infection.


To not stretch before and after a training bout is like forget turning off the lights of your car when you park it. In other words, not to be recommended!

You are what you practise…

Below are listed a few attacks that are prudent to learn how to defend against. (A lot of them are likely to show up on your graduation too!) A person with good technical skills shall be able to put up at least eight different kinds of defences against every one of these attacks in a fast, concise and controlled manner.

  1. Straight punch against head/solar plexus/groin
  2. Swing against head
  3. Hook against ribcage/head
  4. Roundhouse kick against knee/ribcage/head
  5. Front kick against groin/solar plexus
  6. Handshake
  7. Frontal one-wrist hold
  8. Frontal one-wrist hold, crossed
  9. Frontal two-wrist hold
  10. Two-wrist hold from beneath
  11. Two-wrist hold from behind
  12. Frontal lapel hold
  13. Collarhold + strike
  14. Chokehold, frontal
  15. Chokehold, from side
  16. Chokehold, from behind
  17. Chokehold against a wall
  18. Frontal push
  19. Armstrangulation from behind
  20. Head chancery, frontal
  21. Head chancery, from behind
  1. Frontal bear-hug, over the arms
  2. Frontal bear-hug, under the arms
  3. Bear-hug from behind, over the arms
  4. Bear-hug from behind, under the arms
  5. Kick against downed opponent
  6. Chokehold, sitting on top
  7. Collarhold + strike, sitting on top
  8. Punching, sitting on top
  9. Semi-prostrate chokehold, on top
  10. Scissored leg hold.
  11. Against basic restraints
  12. Against astride restraints
  13. Against leg scissors locks
  14. Twist, knee towards abdomen
  15. Twist, leg against thigh
  16. Knife-strike
  17. Knife-slice, backhand
  18. Knifeslice, forehand
  19. Batonstrike, from above
  20. Batonstrike, forehand
  21. Batonstrike, backhand

The knife is one of the most dangerous close quarter weapons available. Therefore it is very important for you to start practising defence against knives, as soon as your instructor considers you ready. Never use real knives during practise. When you start your knife-defence training, you should change your normal fighting stance slightly. Your foot-work has to be lightning-quick, so you should balance on the forward parts of your feet (the fleshy pads right behind the toes) to improve fast locomotion. Also, your guard should come up closer to your body, and the insides of your wrists shall be turned towards you, in order to protect the arteries. Always remember that the knife is an extremely quick and lethal weapon.