Transitioning to the Clinch Range at Athena Karate (diary entry)

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I was honoured to be invited back to the wonderful Athena School of Karate to cover a lesson on range transitioning. The head teacher told me that during asymmetrical sparring, students were finding it difficult to access the clinching range. We went through the following exercises to help fill this gap both figuratively and literally:

  1. The cover. By building up a robust and mobile cover the students were able to build their confidence when taking strikes.
  2. Defence only pad-work. Here one student progressively fed more urgent strikes off the focus mitts whilst the recipient was restricted to only use their cover and footwork. It forced the recipient student to better think offensively with their defence.
  3.  Cover and clinch. This exercise built timing and set targets. The student covering aimed to clinch a plum position, trap the biceps or shoot for the legs.
  4. Footwork. We used no-touch escape and blocking games to learn how to better corner a opponent.
  5. Asymmetrical sparring to test all of the above.

My thanks to Athena School of Karate. Their students were a pleasure to teach and showed remarkable improvements all round since I last taught them.


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