Sparring tactics – probing

Sensei Post in Training notes

Probing is similar to the jab in boxing it serves to test your opponents defenses. However in the Martial Arts we do not just jab since our opponents entire body is our target. The Martial Artist should be adept at probing with different techniques using both their hands and feet. Often the probe will be performed as a grapple type move in an attempt to create an opening. While this can be effective it can also expose you to counter attack. The basic tenet of probing is speed. So how do we attain greater speed to improve our ability to probe and circumvent our opponents defenses? Practice!
In the Martial Arts there are three components, mind, body, and spirit. The mind analyzes a situation and helps develop a plan. The spirit drives us forward when we seemingly should quit. The body acts on instincts and reacts to situational stimulus. In sparring the spirit and body take the bulk of the control if you are going to win. This means they must be trained to handle that responsibility. Your spirit is yours and only you can find it’s limits. Your body however can be trained to react with speed and precision in any given situation. That is the way to success in sparring because thing move to quickly to your mind to develop a plan, explain it and instruct your body on how to carry it out. It is like trying to think about walking down a flight of stairs, if you do you will at the very least feel like you are going to fall!
So we train, we practice and we relax our minds. The best exercises for this type of training are as follows:
Practice speed: Bruce Lee use to have a contraption that would give him an electric shock if he wasn’t fast enough. I do not suggest anything so extreme! A safe exercise is performing a mid or high thrust to a heavy bag and slowly moving forward, thrusting faster so that the bag stays ahead of you and eventually slightly at above you. Hold the bag in this position for as long as you can. This exercise requires rapid thrusts with great precision or the bag will roll to one side and swing past you.

Heavy Bag Exercise

Another good tool to use are weighted bag gloves, these help increase strengthen your arms you will find yourself slightly faster when not wearing them. Jumping rope will improve your stamina and agility. And of course sparring with a good partner will provide the best practice of all. There are hundreds of exercises and drills you can perform the important thing is that you practice and train hard!

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