Martial Arts Reaction Speed Drills

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Wiki Revision Date - 28 May 2017 17:45

Martial Arts Reaction Speed Drills

Speed is a great advantage in martial arts for sparring and self-defense if you can quickly react to an incoming attack by dodging or counter attacking. This page focuses on drills that improve a martial artist's reaction speed or reactive "quickness". You should also visit the physical fitness sections focused on agility training and kicking & punching speed training.

All stretches and exercises should be supervised by a trained martial arts instructor in order to prevent injuries and to ensure the proper technique is utilized. If you have had an injury or are in pain, please see a doctor before starting any stretching or exercise program.

Books on Speed Training

Reaction Speed Drills

  • Have a partner "swing" at a student with a kicking paddle or focus mitt. Student must bob and weave in order to avoid the incoming paddle.
  • Students must quickly kick or punch a moving paddle or focus mitt. The partner should hold it in place for only a second or two (for a student to hit it) before moving it to the next random striking area.
  • Mirror drills can help to improve the ability to quickly react to an opponent's movements.
  • Reaction balls can help with footwork reaction speed. A student must quickly shift direction in order to retrieve the erratic reaction ball.
  • Many athletes use agility ladder drills in order to improve their footwork reaction speed.
  • Train with boxing double-end bags.
  • Boxers often use speed bag drills to improve their hand-eye coordination and reaction speed.
  • Use resistance bands to "slow" your kicks & punches while training. Once you remove the bands, your movements will be faster and more powerful.
  • Train with a reflex bag in order to improve reaction speed and hand-eye coordination.


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