It sounds boring, but drilling can make all the difference of being someone who does martial arts vs. being a martial artist. Mark Hatmaker explains.

Drilling is repetition, plain and simple. The very word implies performing a task so often it’s "drilled" into your skull. The word “training” carries the same sort of single-focused connotation — a train gets to its destination by staying on the tracks. It makes no unnecessary side trips; there are no detours. To do anything other than what’s absolutely necessary to stay on track is to literally and metaphorically derail. Drilling and training are composed of the actual skill work needed to improve the technical expression of the combat art. We should see drilling as separate from conditioning in that conditioning may contain zero apparent correlation with the sport being conditioned for.


Start your MMA conditioning program with this FREE download!
MMA Workouts 101: How to Start an MMA Conditioning Program for More Effective MMA Techniques and Self-Defense Moves

In other words, we may run, lift weights and hit the plyometric box to condition for fight training even though these activities don’t specifically resemble the technical expression of the target sport. We must condition elements outside the physical correlates of our sport. Example: Does anyone really think an NFL lineman gets that large and powerful simply by playing football? No, he must engage in auxiliary sports (running, lifting, etc.) to improve an altogether separate game. Conversely, drilling, which is all about the technical cultivation of the sport in question, can (and should) contribute to the conditioning effect by shear physical intensity. Pure conditioning and drilling contribute to the conditioning effect, but we should never allow the conditioning effect contributed by drilling alone to stand in for the necessary supplemental work. A number of roadblocks may prevent us from embracing drilling as it’s meant — and needs — to be. The excuses fall into two broad categories: lack of discipline and lack of mission perspective.

MMA VIDEOS Mark Hatmaker Expounds on Training Roadblocks

There are essentially five punches in boxing (jab, cross, hook, uppercut and overhand), yet the sport thrives. All successful boxers work on those five punches for their entire careers without the need for “intellectual novelty.” They’re confident that thousands of reps of those techniques will serve them well — and it does. We’d find it ludicrous to hear of a boxer who threw only a few hundred punches and then decided to go pro.

Explore the link between boxing and jeet kune do with this FREE download!
Bruce Lee Training Research: How Boxing Influenced His Jeet Kune Do Techniques

That strikes us as absurd because we recognize that the imaginary athlete is missing what his sport is all about. It’s about doing a handful of activities exceptionally well. To do something well, we must be either gifted or exceptionally disciplined. Genetic exceptionalism is rare, so that leaves the rest of us to cultivate self-discipline. The second mistake, lack of mission perspective, can afflict even the supremely disciplined. It’s not enough to drill with intensity and mental focus; we must match the drills to the game at hand. Back to our boxing example: If a fighter recognizes that a lead hook drops most opponents and he works that punch to the exclusion of all others, he’s making a mistake. Yes, the hook may be a dropper, but the jab sets up all else, the cross has a high drop rate, too, and so on. We can immediately see that such a limited strategy is unwise. By the same token, the combat athlete who invests drilling time in unlikely, or even impossible, scenarios is not much better off than the undisciplined athlete. Where conditioning may draw on multi-sport activities that bear little resemblance to the target sport, drilling must be fine-tuned to reflect what the sport entails, not what we want it to be, not what we wish it to be, not what we surmise it to be, not what this or that authority says it is but what it actually is. We must scrutinize each drill to see whether it correlates with the game in question — if not, we may be wasting precious conditioning and drilling time. About the Author: Mark Hatmaker is a Knoxville, Tennessee-based practitioner of boxing, wrestling, jiu-jitsu and muay Thai and the founder of Extreme Self-Protection. He is also the author of the best-selling No Holds Barred Fighting series, Boxing Mastery and No Second Chance: A Reality-Based Guide to Self-Defense, as well as a highly regarded coach of professional and amateur fighters, law-enforcement officials and security personnel.
SUBSCRIBE TO BLACKBELT MAGAZINE TODAY!
Don't miss a single issue of the world largest magazine of martial arts.

To Master the Supreme Philosophy of Enshin Karate, Look to Musashi's Book of Five Rings for Guidance!

In the martial arts, we voluntarily subject ourselves to conflict in a training environment so we can transcend conflict in the real world. After all, we wouldn't knowingly train in a style that makes us weaker or worsens our position. The irony of all this is that we don't want to fight our opponent. We prefer to work with what an opponent gives us to turn the tide in our favor, to resolve the situation effectively and efficiently.The Japanese have a word for this: sabaki. It means to work with energy efficiently. When we train with the sabaki mindset, we receive our opponent's attack, almost as a gift. Doing so requires less physical effort and frees up our mental operating system so it can determine the most efficient solution to the conflict.In this essay, I will present a brief history of sabaki, as well as break down the sabaki method using Miyamoto Musashi's five elements

Keep Reading Show less

Enter our partner's current Sweepstakes. They are giving away a Grand Prize 'FKB Wardrobe'.

TAKE NOTICE!

FIVE KNUCKLE BULLET 'Wardrobe' Sweepstakes

Feeling Lucky? Enter our current Sweepstakes Now! We are giving away a Grand Prize 'FKB Wardrobe' which consists of our most popular sportswear items. Prize includes the following:

Keep Reading Show less

The Coronavirus Is Pummeling Our Community, But We Can Take a Punch — and We're Rallying for a Comeback!

As the world reels in response to COVID-19 and scrambles to take action to curb further spread of the coronavirus, it's never been more apparent that we live in dangerous times. Interestingly, if we look to ancient warrior wisdom, we can find some of the answers we need to battle the hidden enemy of today. One such key comes from a well-known Chinese principle that was famously repeated by Sun Tzu: "If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the results of 100 battles."

Keep Reading Show less

By tactical defense and combatives expert Tony Blauer

For 43 years I have been studying violence, fear, and aggression.

My main business is training law enforcement, military, first-responders, combat athletes, and more. Over the course of 40 years, I've interviewed hundreds of victims of violence.

Keep Reading Show less
Free Bruce Lee Guide
Have you ever wondered how Bruce Lee’s boxing influenced his jeet kune do techniques? Read all about it in this free guide.
Don’t miss a thing Subscribe to Our Newsletter