Training Drills


1) Over and Under - Set up a rope or long pole about 18 - 24 inches off the floor. Starting on one side of the pole jump up and over it, when you touch down immediately flatten out and scoot under the pole. You should end up on the same side that you started from. You can also do this drill with a partner as in leap frog and then go between their legs and repeat.

2) Bob and Weave (aka: The Rocky drill) - Set up a rope or pole at a height comfortable for you to be able to bob and weave under. Each time coming up with two uppercut punches.

3) The Dice - Place 5 spots on the floor in the pattern you would see on the #5 from a die. Standing on one leg, hop from spot to spot. This is a great drill for leg conditioning, cardiovascular work as well as footwork.

4) Dragons Teeth - Another great drill to enhance your footwork. Start by placing a series of sticks on the floor in alternating forward and reverse triangle patterns, each tip touching the next in line. Now start at one end, and use forward and reverse footwork zoning patterns while moving down the line. Step over the end and return back on the opposite side.

5) One legged stand - This is a very basic drill in which you stand on one leg. Now to gain more from this drill close your eyes and count to 30 then repeat on the opposite side.

6) Mogul jump - Place a line on the floor about 6 - 8 feet long. Keeping your knees slightly bent, jump from one side to the next as if you are skiing down a mogul run. This is a great leg conditioning and reflex enhancing drill.

7) Box Jump - Utilizing a small box (I use a milk crate), place your feet slightly apart and leap up onto the box. Immediately hop down and then leap as high into the air as possible. Great for explosiveness in your movements.

8) Directional change - Have an opponent stand 5 - 6 feet away from you. Charge forward toward him and at the last moment before you crash together, use triangular footwork to avoid hitting him. You can add a weapon or striking portion to this drill to make it more exciting.

9) Balance beam - Place a 4x4 or 6x6 beam on the floor. The first drill is to be able to walk it without falling. Make this more difficult by having to walk quickly or run down the length. Of course, you can elevate the beam to make it more difficult.

10) Balance beam #2 - Place a 4x4 or 6x6 beam on the floor. In this drill two opponents try to push each other from the beam. Weapon drills such as single stick and double stick flow applications, also can be performed on the beam. This simulates narrow or restricted area fighting.

11) The clock - Place a 4 foot section of tape on the floor, then cross this one with another to form a "T". Add two more sections to overlay an "X" on to the "T". When complete you should now have eight lines on the floor in a clock like fashion. Starting in the center move to each angle utilizing proper footwork. Always assume your opponent is attacking you and you are countering. In Budo Taijutsu we call this drill "shinobi no happo sabaaki.

12) Slippery surface training-(Beware this can be a dangerous. Especially if you do not have proper falling skills) Training on frozen surfaces, powder covered wooden floors (while wearing socks), even wet grassy slopes, allows us the opportunity to train in an environment, where balance and agile movement are critical for success. Do not try any sparring or fighting drills until you can safely land on a hard surface without injury.

13) Strike avoidance - In this drill your opponent will throw various strikes at you in slow fashion. You must avoid by only using body motion. This can also be implemented with weapons. As you increase the pace add footwork to the drill.

14) Tire drill - Most of us are familiar with this one from football and soccer practice. Place a series of tires, out in two rows. You must place one foot into each tire as quickly as possible.

15) Kip up - From a backwards fall or roll, immediately push off with your hands behind you to a standing position. The key here is both in the explosive push off and when landing the correct placement of your body weight to prevent you from falling back again.

16) Hand Stand - Another great balance enhancer. Some key ideas are don't throw your weight too far forward as you will fall over, relax and continue to breathe, watch out where you are going to land if you fall.

17) Cartwheel - Place one hand down on the floor quickly followed by the other as you push your legs out and over your hands in a straight line.

18) Sit outs - From the referee or turtle position, place your right hand on the floor and shoot your right leg through the space between your body and arm. Then turn over to the starting position again and repeat with the opposite side.

19) Turtle/Bag position drill - Have your partner or a place a heavy bag on the floor, now you start by lying on top of them in cross body position, while maintaining contact move to other floor dominating positions.(Such as Scarf hold, four corners, reverse scarf hold etc)

20) Flip flops - From a standing position, leap out as if you are going to do a hand stand, when your hands hit the floor immediately push back into the standing position.


1) Basic pushup - Hands shoulder width apart , back remains straight bend your elbows until you are 2 - 3 inches from the floor and return to the starting position
2) Modified pushup - Hands shoulder width apart, back straight, knees on the floor. The remaining movements are the same as #1.
3) Elevated pushup - Place your feet on a chair, and assume the basic push up position, the remaining movements are the same as #1.
4) Quad pushup - (This can be done with as few as three people in a triangle shape also.) Each person places their feet on the back of the others doing this drill. The remaining movements are the same as #1.
5) Hands together - This push up position starts with the hands place directly in the middle of your chest in a triangle position. The remaining movements are as in #1.
6) Down and hold - Assume the normal starting position on the call, go down and hold yourself 2 - 3 inches from the floor until the up is called.
7) Wheel barrow - You partner picks up your feet and you go forward on your hands for 3 - 4 movements, then go down for a single push up. Then repeat the action until the end of the drill.
8) Handstand push up - Using a wall for support, move to a handstand position. From there do pushups against your bodyweight.
9) Pushup and clap #1 - Assume the starting position for a regular push up. Go down and on the up movement your hands leave the floor and you clap once before your hands go back onto the floor.
10) Pushup and clap #2 - Assume the starting position for a regular push up. Go down and on the up movement your hands leave the floor and you clap once behind your back, before your hands go back onto the floor.
11) Pushup and reach - Assume the starting position for a regular push up. Go down and on the up movement your hands leave the floor and you reach out in front of you for a target. Then repeat with the opposite hand.
12) Neck Bridge with hand assist - Place your hands behind your head and arch your stomach to the ceiling with your head remaining on the floor and your feet flat on the floor. Roll your head back so that the weight of your body is now supported on the forehead and feet.
13) Neck Bridge no assist - Same as #12 but use no hands to help support your weight.
14) Neck Bridge and body rotation - Same as #13 but rotate your body around your head.
15) Extended push up - Lie face down on the floor and place your hands out directly over your head shoulder width apart. On the start you "pop" off the floor in one smooth motion. You will end this position only supported on your hands and feet.
16) Hercules chair - Lean against a wall or your partners back. Now move your legs so that your thighs are parallel to the floor, and your feet are perpendicular to your thighs, hold this position. To make it more difficult put one leg on the thigh of the other.
17) Hindu squat/baithik - From a standing position feet shoulder width apart, bend your knees so that your butt almost touches the floor. Swing your hands back and lift your heels on the downward position, immediately reverse the position and come to a standing position again, then repeat.
18) Squat and jump - Same as above but at the end of the squat you leap up forward and then back, then repeat the squat and jump movement.
19) Squat thrust - From a standing position bend your knees and place your palms to the floor, shoot your legs out behind you, pull them in and move to a standing position.
20) Squat thrust #2 - Start like a regular squat thrust, but when you shoot your legs out drop in one push up, then pull your legs in and repeat the whole procedure.
21) One legged squat - Lift one leg as you drop to a squating position. The opposite leg should shoot out in front of you. Return to the starting position and repeat with the opposite side.
22) Obstinate calf - While on your hands and knees have your partner place his hands upon the back of your head. You should try to raise and lower your head against the resistance. The partner should be careful not to apply too little or too much force.
23) Situps- This is the basic of all abdominal exercises. Lie on the floor feet flat on the floor knees bent. Hands behind the head or crossed on the chest. Pull yourself off the floor utilizing the abdominal muscles not your hands or body motion.
24) Oblique crunch - Lie on your side, your hands to your ear. Bend your body sideways almost trying to touch your elbow to your side.
25) Flutter kicks - Lie on your back legs out extended from you. Flutter kick your legs as if you are swimming in the water.
26) Superman/Back extensions - Lie on your stomach, on the call arch up and away from the floor with your arms out in front of you as if you were flying.
27) Cat pushup - Start with your butt up in the air hands and feet on the ground. Scoop your body to the floor almost scraping your chest to the floor as you move to the forward position. Your butt will now be down below your shoulder level. Now perform this action in reverse and then repeat.
28) Bag assisted sit up - Jump up and wrap your legs around the heavy bag, lock your feet. Now perform full sit ups until you cannot complete anymore or your legs give out on the bag.
29) Wall crawl - Start with your back to the wall, palms touching the wall. Slowly walk your hands down the wall until you are in the bridge position.
30) Hold them back - Take your gi's belt and place it once around your partner's waist. On the start he pulls you across the room, while you pull back to give resistance.
31) Piggyback - Have two partners of equal weight carry each other piggyback style.
32) Sit up and push back - When you perform a sit up and reach the top of the drill, your partner pushes you back towards the floor.
33) Chin ups - Palms away from you, hands slightly more than shoulder width, your chin should be all the way up and over the bar, when you go down, go all the way down to let the arms extend.
34) Towel/rope pull up - Throw a rope or towel over the chin up bar, then perform your pull up so that your chest comes up toward the bar. Be careful when your grip starts to fail that you don't land on your knees.
35) Paper crunch - Lay out a newspaper fully open flat in front of you. Using one hand slowly crunch the paper into a ball, then repeat until your hand is tired. Repeat for the opposite side.
36) Ball squeeze - Use a tennis ball or hard rubber ball placed in the palm of your hand. Squeeze for a count of 30, then repeat. Repeat on the opposite side. You can also modify this by using just your fingers.
37) Hand squeeze - Squeeze your hand into a fist as tightly as you can for 30 seconds. Repeat to opposite hand.
38) Wrist pull and push - Squeeze your hands into a fist and pull your hands into you to force your forearm to contract, then push them away and pull them to the back and repeat.
39) Finger push - Place both of your hands together fingertip to fingertip. Now push your fingers as hard as possible to so that they will form a steeple, then push them back down so that they all touch at one point again.
40) Finger extensions - Place your arms out in front of you and force your fingers apart as far as they will go. Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat.

Striking drills (Most of these drills are interchangeable with kicking skills)

1) Punching in Sets - Start with forward centerline jab, and rear centerline punch. Start the drill with one punch from each hand in quick succession. Then do two sets of the first drill, then three sets, then 4 sets. This is to enhance the speed in your follow up strikes.
2) Dot drill - Place 5 colored spots in a die pattern on the wall. Your partner calls out a color and you must reach out and touch that particular color with the right or left hand. Then the partner picks two colors or dictates which hand goes to which color.
3) Hanging Paper - Bruce Lee made this one famous, hang a piece of paper about head height, when you punch you want to make sure you punch through the target (not literally).
4) Tool sparring - You and your partner gear up for sparring. Then set out the following rules you and your opponent are limited to one type of strike each, then try to land it on each other in sparring.
5) Follow the leader - Whatever the training leader does you must imitate as quickly as possible. Here we are trying not only to develop striking skills but perceptual and reaction speed.
6) Target specific attack - After each counter attack the defender must attack a specific target with a specific tool. (Ie. Jab to nose, cross to sternum etc.) This forces us to use specific tools to targets that we may not normally use in our repertoire.
7) Sequence specific drills, utilizing equipment - These drills concentrate on using the focus mitt, heavy bag, punching shields, etc. Set them up so that you try a variety of different combinations of attacks and then repeat them on the different types of equipment.
8) Hanging ball - Hang a tennis ball from the ceiling to an appropriate height (usually head height). Now practice various punches and kicks to the small moving target.
9) Shadow sparring - The best way to integrate your moves with your full body motion, without the fear of being hit is shadow sparring. Start with 3 1 minute rounds and progress to 10 minutes of continuous sparring.
10) Full Contact sparring - There is no other way to see if you can utilize a tool under stress unless you try it out there. Successful sparring relies on having a good partner, and an instructor who will assist in keeping the match a "learning event' rather than a "brawl".

Grappling Drills

1) Sprawl - Start in a standing position, drop into the sprawl position (hips down, shoulders up), return to the standing position. Repeat this drill in a clock like pattern.
2) Bag Tackle - Place a heavy bag upright on the floor. Now stand 5 -6 feet away from it and dive forward as if to do a single leg takedown. Pick up the bag and repeat. This can also be used for cross body tackle, and a variety of other techniques.
3) Riding - Have your partner sit on you in the mount. You try to bump them off, while they try to maintain control. To make it more difficult the person on top cannot use their hands to hold on or post down on the floor. It's all in the hips!!
4) Back crawl (a.k.a. Shrimp crawl) - Lie on your back and move across the mat using the shrimping drill motion.
5) Step through lunge - Great leg drill and a method to improve your penetrating step. Start in a standing position and take a long, deep penetrating step forward, dragging your rear leg with you. Then repeat on the opposite side.
6) Go behinds - You and your partner are in the clinch. Lift his arm while your arm goes around his waist, and circle behind them. Turn and face off again, and repeat the drill. Avoid going for the immediate takedown as this drill is work on the entering skill.
7) Drop and shoot - Start in a standing position. Drop into a low crouch, and shoot yourself forward simulating a takedown. Stand up and repeat the drill.
8) Simulated throw - Get one or two bicycle inner tubes and tie them around a strong post. Pick them up and face the post, quickly turn as if you were to perform a throw, pulling the inner tubes for resistance. Return to the starting position and repeat the drill to the other side.
9) Drop and shoot #2 - This drill is just like drill #7 except slide your arms inside the inner tubes and use this for resistance when you execute the drill.
10) Position for throw - You and your opponent face off in a clinched position. You quickly step in for the throwing position. Return to the starting position and repeat the drill. This drill works the entering position for the throw. Most throws will fail because of an incorrectly setup entry.