Two Man Training for systems that focus on close in fighting
Working with a training partner is a very important part of martial arts training to develop your skills. There are many ways of working with a partner, and each method has it’s pro’s and con’s. Therefore most people train in more then one type of two man training.
Judo utilizes two man training in several ways. Standing they work with a partner “fitting in”. For this you start out in Kumikata (standing together). Normally you start standing together with one hand grabbing a lapel, and the other grabbing a sleeve. There are different methods of standing together, depending on what you are working on. Uchikomi (fitting in) is good for working with someones real body weight and size. You get to practice setting up the throw using Kuzushi (forcing your opponent off balance) and stopping just short of throwing them to the ground. Of course after warming up with that, you would normally take turns throwing each other as well. I think actually practicing the throws to completion does more for developing skills. After you’ve done that they would Randori, which is the judo form of standing sparring, where each is trying to throw their opponent, and countering any of their opponents attacks.
Most traditional Chinese internal, and some external arts do different levels of two man training as well. They generally have a form of sensitivity training such as push hands in Tai Chi, or chi sau in Wing Chun. You can develop many skills using this type of training, such as sensitivity, finding your opponents center, unbalancing/uprooting your opponent, and finding when/where to hit/ throw them, etc.. There are also two man fighting forms in most of these systems. Hsing-I, Bagua, and Tai Chi are examples of systems with two man fighting forms. After skills are developed at these training methods, free fighting can also be added.
I feel that some form of the above training is a must for any serious martial artist. The above skills help greatly once you’ve closed the distance and are touching your opponent, or in range to do so.
Some systems such as wrestling, judo,some styles of Jujiitsu, and Tai Chi tend not to spend much time defending against realistic attack scenarios involving punching and kicking. I’ve heard practitioners of each of these systems say that you need to be willing to take a shot to close the gap.
To my mind that is very dangerous. There are people out there that can knock you out, if not kill you with a clean shot. If they can rock you with the first strike you can bet many more are immediately following. So while the odds may be highly in their favor for success, I liken it to Russian Roulette. There might only be a bullet in one of six chambers, but I wouldn’t want to take a chance like that myself.
So with the above in mind, I think you need two man training against people that know how to attack using punching and kicking techniques as well. I’ll write another blog on that topic, which will cover other training I feel is a must to be a complete martial artist.