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.
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.