Chapter 3 – The Accordion Drill – “The bread and butter backbone of all of our drills.”
The accordion drill is the most complete and realistic drill that we have in our arsenal. The one thing that is guaranteed in a fight is that nothing is guaranteed. The only constant in a fight, is the knowledge that there are no constants. Real combat, flexes and undulates, in perpetual motion. And as this real fight flexes, and “breathes”, so do the weapons, number of opponents, and actual fight locations. As Bruce would say, “be like water and be able to adapt to any container”, I would say, in my slightly less ethereal way, “be complete”. If you are a complete fighter, you can now adapt to the various changes and permutations that occur during most fights. In order to be complete, we must first, ascertain what types of fights there are in the real world. And basically we have, weapons fights, which can be broken down into blunt, or edged weapons, we have stand-up fights, which can be broken down into, one on one, or mass attack. Then there are ground fights, which can be further broken down into one on one or mass attack or with weapons (a blunt weapon such as a stick in most cases is a hindrance on the ground, we find edged weapons more viable).
In real combat, which is fighters bent on each other’s destruction, most fights vacillate between all of the above mentioned scenarios. One moment, we are standing up with the stick in our hand, the next moment we are tackled to the ground and in a world of jiu-jitsu, perhaps we can do a quick bite, come to our feet and be chased for a half of a block, end up fighting two guys, and maybe somewhere in there you find another weapon and this entire violent encounter recycles.
As Bruce said, “one will fight the way they train and train the way they fight”. For this reason the accordion drill is the ultimate training method for this end.
Load two of your students up with a stick in their hand, and put a knife in the back of their pants. Now initiate long range stick fighting, allow your students to spar for about 30 seconds, and then have them seamlessly throw down their stick and pull out their knife.
Now allow them to knife spar for about another 20-30 seconds, and then have them kickbox, let this continue for a while, and perhaps instruct them to clinch, allow them to do the Thai clinch and pummeling while they are sparring, and perhaps yell “hit the ground”, now your students are practicing sparring on the ground, using mainly their jiu-jitsu, hopefully simulating their kinomutai. And the teacher, if he or she chooses, can instruct their students to come to their feet, and start all over again with a knife. It is important to know as a teacher, you are allowed to… infact it is your duty … to literally makeup these various sparring permutations on the spot. Your students should never know what they are going to do, till you tell them to do it.
Eventually when you have some of your top guys, going full speed through out this entire accordion drill, going from knife fighting to ground fighting to biting to kickboxing, back to stick etc etc…
It is of dire importance, that the students know, that this drill must continue through all the transitions (Don’t break the flow !!!) of one weapon to another. In other words, one cannot stop, put down the stick, stand-up, scratch their butt, pull out the knife, bow, etc… What they should do is viscerally and effortlessly flow from thing to thing.
Your higher-level students will come to the correct conclusion that every time they come to class they are actually in a streetfight, hidden by a group class. The proverbial broccoli inside the chocolate, until next week.
Please check the Table of Contents for links to other chapters of this Online Book.