In martial arts training it’s very common for the person in the attacker role to lunge forward with a single punch and then stand there like a statue with the arm outstretched. The defender can now do all kinds of fancy counters including multiple strikes, jointlocks, takedowns and cool finishes.
This type of training makes you feel like you’ve reached John Wick levels of badassery, but in reality this is one of the WORST habits you can develop.
In the video below martial arts legend Burton Richardson explains exactly why this is a terrible habit and how to fix it (without losing teeth every training session).
This problem is epidemic in the martial arts. You see it everywhere, in karate, aikido, traditional ju-jutsu, the Filipino martial arts, Indonesian silat, kempo, hapkido, kung fu, everywhere!
It’s an understandable error – people training want to make each other, their instructor, and their style look good. But it’s a HUGE mistake.
Training with a compliant partner feeding you static attacks programs you to expect the wrong timing, distance, and energy for punches and kicks. Not to mention that a real attacker is almost always going to throw more than one attack and not passively stand there while you apply technique number 17 from self defense series 3 to them.
This is why so many traditional martial artists look absolutely terrible when they spar or fight for the first time. They have absolutely no experience applying their moves against real resistance.
(An awesome example of what happens when fantasy meets reality is the famous ‘Dim Mak vs MMA video from a few years ago.)
I’m not saying that you need to go to balls-to-the-wall intensity level every time you train and do nothing but full contact sparring (that way lies brain damage).
But to make things more realistic you can precede your attack with movement… and don’t leave your arm hanging out there in space… and occasionally throw a controlled followup attack… and give your training partner a variety of responses.
If you train realistically with a sane partner you can even do full sparring with punches, kicks, clinching and more and not sustain serious damage (here’s an article on how to spar safely in boxing and kickboxing).
Bottom line: if you stand there like a statue or always attack in pre-determined, choreographed patterns then you make your training partner look great in the training hall, but hugely increase the chances of him getting his ass handed to him in the street.
If you like your partner then make life a little more difficult for him in the short term and it will have great benefits for both of you in the long term!