BOB Drills You Prob­a­bly Never Thought Of, Part 2

Part 1 of this col­umn on novel ways to use a Cen­tury Body Op­po­nent Bag( aka BOB) to im­prove the skills and learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence of your stu­dents ran in the Oc­to­ber/ November 2018 is­sue of Black Belt.

Black Belt - - Better Business - BY FLOYD BURK

I n ad­di­tion to karate, I teach tra­di­tional Ja­pa­nese swords­man­ship, usu­ally with a bokken. When con­tact is to be made, how­ever, we switch to Ac­tionFlex padded swords. Not sur­pris­ingly, it can be dif­fi­cult to find a vol­un­teer to go full force with a sword-wield­ing stu­dent who’s try­ing to im­prove his or her skills. En­ter the BOB.

KEN­JUTSU SWORD DRILLS: The stu­dent with the sword squares off against BOB and draws a padded sword. Two peo­ple are re­quired to back up the strik­ing dummy — one to push and the other to reach around the torso and swing a sword, us­ing one hand, as if the blade be­longed to a live op­po­nent. The sec­ond per­son also can help sta­bi­lize the unit.

When BOB at­tacks, the stu­dent nul­li­fies the strike by blast­ing it in the head, the neck or any other tar­get that’s avail­able. The stu­dent can prac­tice all his or her tech­niques — in­clud­ing the stab, the down­ward cut, the down­ward-an­gle cut, the up­war­dan­gle cut and the hor­i­zon­tal cut — while mov­ing into and out of the ap­pro­pri­ate stances. All this must be

An­other train­ing method in­volves hav­ing your stu­dents prac­tice their pre­ci­sion. In­struct them to ex­e­cute a spe­cific set of self-de­fense tech­niques that re­quire them to aim for spe­cific vi­tal ar­eas.

ac­com­plished while avoid­ing BOB’s slash­ing and stab­bing padded blade.

Of course, there are many other meth­ods for us­ing BOB in sword train­ing. The first time I did any of this was when I at­tended Dana Ab­bott’s three-day work­shop in Phoenix. We used a reg­u­lar BOB, and Ab­bott had us whack it with a shi­nai in all man­ner of ways. That train­ing in­spired me to de­vise my own BOB ex­er­cises for my sword stu­dents, one of which is de­scribed ear­lier.

REG­U­LAR BOB is what we call the Body Op­po­nent Bag when the base is full of wa­ter. This con­fig­u­ra­tion of­fers so many pos­si­bil­i­ties that it’s im­pos­si­ble to list them all. Cer­tainly one of the best in­volves, as I men­tioned in Part 1, boxing. Be­cause BOB has a re­al­is­tic head and torso, you can have your stu­dents prac­tice all their head shots — in­clud­ing the jab, cross, hook, uppercut and over­hand punch — as well as their body shots. If you want to give them a re­ally good work­out, have them add some kicks. Be­cause reg­u­lar BOB is a stand-alone train­ing part­ner, stu­dents can do this on their own.

An­other train­ing method in­volves hav­ing your stu­dents prac­tice their pre­ci­sion. In­struct them to ex­e­cute a spe­cific set of self-de­fense tech­niques that re­quire them to aim for spe­cific vi­tal ar­eas, which is what BOB seem­ingly was de­signed for. For ex­am­ple, stu­dents can do eye gouges with their thumbs, throat strikes with their open hands and ear strikes with their palms, all us­ing full force.

Most kicks and knee strikes can be done on BOB with full force, as well. You can even let your stu­dents add head locks and chokes to their self­de­fense se­quences be­cause of the ease with which the dummy’s head and neck can be squeezed.

WHEN YOUR STU­DENTS are ready to prac­tice full-power weapon strikes on BOB, you’ll want to shield it with what­ever pro­tec­tive gear you deem nec­es­sary based on the weapons and the tar­gets. Af­ter all, the Body Op­po­nent Bag is way too valu­able to take a chance on dam­ag­ing.

I’ve found that BOB can ab­sorb strikes from wooden weapons like the bokken, the tonfa and the

nun­chaku. How­ever, I al­ways tell my stu­dents to avoid us­ing a real sword, as well as a sai or kama. If they’re dis­ap­pointed, I con­sole them by say­ing they can go all-out with Ac­tionFlex padded weapons. When no one else is in the dojo, that’s what I do. But don’t tell my stu­dents. It’s easy to con­fuse se­ri­ous train­ing with hav­ing fun. BOB is avail­able from cen­tu­ry­mar­tialarts.com.

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