Take blocking, for instance. There are three broad categories of blocking: deflection, evasion, and counter. We practice our deflection blocks every day, during basics and patterns. These are a great way to learn how your body moves and how to generate power. Deflection is the first level of blocking. If you have time to block, you have time to hit.
Evasion is the art of not getting hit, a very important strategy and arguably, the most beneficial. The secret to evasion is being quick, both physically and mentally. Even the simplest exercise in class improves footwork. Every partner drill hones timing and teaches where an attack may come from.
The final form of blocking is the attack that stops your opponent's attack. Effective countering takes years to perfect and involves many bruises along the way. That is, when there is actual contact involved. The pandemic has given us the chance to practice this skill without physical repercussions. Take advantage.
Find your strong points. What is your most accurate kick? What kicking combinations feel most natural? Think of techniques in sequences rather than as single attacks.
Streamline your movements. During basics, try to eliminate all excess movement. How often does Master Marr remind us that "Back leg moves first" on a skipping kick? This is why. Moving your front foot first signals your opponent that you are about to move and slows you down.
Test your intuition. Use partner drills to practice anticipating your opponent's moves.
Over the next few weeks, we will introduce some new partner drills. Challenge yourself to get the most out of them.