We do practice drills. However, we see them differently from how other practitioners do.
Drills are commonly considered as of short, prearranged fighting scenes. According to this belief when you are practicing two-man drills you are preparing yourself for different fighting situations. We don’t think that. Why? Because fight is unpredictable, and drills are controlled.
We rather see drills as tools for testing our body alignment to gain feedback about what is out of shape as far as the body positioning concerned. The drills are also tools for gaining experience about the living or sensitive contact power of Chow Gar in a controlled manner.
When you practice the drills, you have the chance to check whether the alignment of your body is strong enough under stress. The first step is to get used to the correct body shape by solo exercises, then you can test it by the drills.
Drills teach you how to use your body to be stronger.
Drills share the same aspect with Chy Sao and Doi Chong: you can start to feel your opponent how is he standing, where is his weakest point, how he is trying to use his power to overcome you and so on.
The benefit of drills is to practice the stance, the right positions, the sensitivity, and the reaction. This is the first stage of adopting yourself (your power) to someone else’s.
Let’s see what the important points are to keep in mind while practicing drills.
The most important is to keep focus on what you are doing. If drills become automatic without attention you will be dancing not practicing. You must keep focus on what is happening to your body. You should realize / detect the weak points in your power chain. That is the most important aspect of the drills. Once you have noticed the mistakes, the weaknesses, you can start working on them.
If you find out a deficiency do not try to hide it especially not from yourself. Don’t forget you have to keep the principles. The right way is to keep doing the drill while trying to keep the correct shape and the lines what the given drill requires. E.g.: you realize that your shoulder is moving out of position while your partner executing a technique of the drill. While repeating the drill, your job is to observe how it happens. Later on, you can adjust your practice according to what you have found out while practicing the drill.
To avoid injuries always practice the drills somewhere in the second half of the training. First you must practice the foundation and when properly warmed up and giving the right input to your nerve system you can start up the drills.
Keep the correct lines. If the drill gets out of shape you will be hacking without meaning. The drills lead toward fighting by giving a first stage experience on how to use your power while there are some distracting elements represented by your partner. Do not solve the distraction by getting out of shape. If you lose shape, you have no chance to develop good power.
And a last advice. You can practice a drill while you concentrate on one point of the power chain. It is very beneficial for example to concentrate on the stance and observe how the stance has effect on what the arms are doing. Stay concentrated all the way. If getting mentally tired stop the drill and take a rest.