Everybody wants faster reaction times. The best fighters in the world make their opponents look like they’re in slow motion, and a large part of that is having the ability to choose exactly the right technique at exactly the right time.
Those reflexes aren’t magic. They can be trained, drilled, improved.
Today we’re going to cover a great reaction time drill that’ll teach you to see an opening and immediately exploit it with the appropriate attack.
It’s a relatively simple drill which means it can be learned quickly and can benefit just about everyone.
It’s a ‘see it and hit it’ exercise. Here’s a video of what it looks like in real life plus a detailed breakdown by coach Ritchie Yip…
As you saw in the video above, this is a 2 person drill requiring a trainer and a student.
The trainer stands behind a heavy bag with both hands on it. He moves around the bag and the student matches the footwork, circling while staying in good fighting stance with his hands up.
The trainer can then intermittently use one of three fundamental feeds that can be done on either the left or right side.
- Extend one of his hands away from the bag, which triggers a straight punch on that side, or
- Lift his elbow out to the side, which triggers a body hook on that side, or
- Lift his knee up into the air symbolising a kick, which then triggers a cut kick on that side.
So counting both sides there are 6 total feeds. Assuming the student is in a left side forward stance the feed and response looks something like this..
- Trainer extends his right hand – student throws a left jab
- Trainer extends his left hand – student throws a straight right
- Trainer lifts his right elbow – student throws a left body hook
- Trainer lifts his left elbow – student throws a right body hook
- Trainer lifts his right knee – student throws a left cut kick
- Trainer lifts his left knee – student throws a right cut kick
That’s about as complicated as you want to make things if the focus is on improving reaction times.
Mix things up and keep the feeds and the timing of the feeds unpredictable in this drill. See it and hit it is the name of the game.
Here are some pics of what it looks like when Ritchie Yip taught this drill with Ian Popoff in The Precision Kickboxing Masterclass.
All the feeds in these pics are left sided (i.e. left hand, left elbow, left knee) – it would look almost identical on the other side except instead of throwing a right cross Ian would be throwing a left jab.
Ultimately developing great reaction times requires you to do more than just one kind of drill.
There are drills that’ll help you with offence, defence, counterattacks, setting up your opponent and becoming comfortable sparring. The more you do of these drills the more subjective time you’ll have to choose the appropriate response for whatever your opponent does.
This ‘see it and hit it’ drill on the heavy bag is a great place to start though. Give it a try and let me know what think.
P.S. This drill and video is a short excerpt from the recently released Precision Kickboxing Masterclass.
It’s available in both DVD and online formats, and contains more than 8 hours of material.
If you’re a beginner it’s a great place to start and make sure that you’re not developing any bad habits.
And if you’re an intermediate or advanced level striker then you’ll get tricks, tips and drills to keep you busy for a long time!
And it’s one of the best instructionals on striking that I’ve ever seen.
Click here for more information about The Precision Kickboxing Masterclass