What separates a good one-step from a bad one-step?

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I don't want to ask much more than the question on this one, because I want it to be left open-ended. I will specify one thing: I'm referring to the choreography and teaching of the one-step by the instructor, not the performance by the student. What is it that separates a good one-step from a bad one? Alternatively, what makes for a good one-step (tips to follow) or what makes for a bad one-step (things to avoid)?
 

Kung Fu Wang

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a bad one-step (things to avoid)?
A bad one step is when your opponent makes 1 move, you make 6 moves while his body is frozen in the air.

A good one step is your opponent makes 1 move; you respond with 1 move. Your opponent then responds with your move.
 

MadMartigan

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I don't want to ask much more than the question on this one, because I want it to be left open-ended. I will specify one thing: I'm referring to the choreography and teaching of the one-step by the instructor, not the performance by the student. What is it that separates a good one-step from a bad one? Alternatively, what makes for a good one-step (tips to follow) or what makes for a bad one-step (things to avoid)?
I'll get my personal opinion out of the way first. I hate 1 steps. I don't believe that rote memorization of x attack = y response is effective. It feels like fancy dressing to hide poor fundamental understanding of the principles.

There. I said it. Now on to something useful to the topic.

I still use a few (very simple) 1 steps to teach the most basic distancing and side-stepping lessons (especially for children). We don't stay there long though. Once a very basic level of competence is reached, I change the format.

Rather than the typical step back and down block (yelling for no reason optional), then step forward straight punch over the lead leg (at a very unrealistic distance) we start talking about how the different lines that punch could be coming from are similar regardless of the setup.

Then, instead, we make it a true 1 step. The attacker doesn't step back or announce their attack. They step in and sucker punch (with gloves so that they can punch at faster and faster speeds - in case the defender is too slow). As they get better, the attacker is to attack faster.

I only use 1 steps to teach defensive reflexes and recognition of how the human body looks when it's about to punch you.
 

Holmejr

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Cant remember if we did one steps in TKD, it was a long time ago. How about linking one steps together. Or creating one steps that link together. Or does that already happen?
 

HighKick

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Cant remember if we did one steps in TKD, it was a long time ago. How about linking one steps together. Or creating one steps that link together. Or does that already happen?
This has been around for some time. Most schools call them 2 or three step sparring, where incremental pieces are added.
 

HighKick

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A bad one step is when your opponent makes 1 move, you make 6 moves while his body is frozen in the air.

A good one step is your opponent makes 1 move; you respond with 1 move. Your opponent then responds with your move.
This. 1000% this.
 

Earl Weiss

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Before the question can be answered I think you first need to define the purpose of "One Step" for both the Instructor and student. I will start with a purpose from the Chang Hon System - If you do not agree with the Chang Hon purpose then the purpose needs to be found or established by the System or School.
(Paraphrased for brevity)
- Deliver an accurate, speedy and decisive blow to a vital spot with the right tool while effectively defending against the attack, demonstrating the ultimate goal of TK-D - to win with a single blow.
Having said that:
1. Note this is used as formal exercise vis a vis stances and techniques
2. IMO techniques should be rank appropriate
3. Using techniques students have newly learned in patterns can be a good teaching / learning tool.

Based on the above - Badly designed one steps would have bad distancing, techniques that were far beyond physical capabilities of the average student, and of very little practical use. (I probably missed some potential flaws)
 

Tony Dismukes

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Badly designed one steps would have bad distancing
This ^^^

If I could pick one bad habit to fix that I see in many, many karate, TKD, and kenpo schools, it would be the practice of drills where the attacker throws a fully extended punch which comes up 6 inches (or more) short of the defender and then leaves the punch hanging while the defender goes through a sequence of counters. To my mind, the incorrect range is worse than the punch being left extended and worse than the defender getting multiple moves to the attacker's one. That incorrect range makes the timing wrong. It makes the angles wrong. It makes the footwork wrong. It alters the techniques that will work. It basically messes up everything.

BTW, just to make sure I wasn't misremembering the prevalence of the problem, I went on YouTube and searched for TKD one-step sparring. I went through the first 8 results and 6 of the 8 had the attacker stepping in with a fully extended punch which came up anywhere from 2 to 8 inches short of the target. Note - all of the demonstrations were by black belts.

I think that one-step drills can have value, but performed this way I think they are worse than useless.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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This ^^^

If I could pick one bad habit to fix that I see in many, many karate, TKD, and kenpo schools, it would be the practice of drills where the attacker throws a fully extended punch which comes up 6 inches (or more) short of the defender and then leaves the punch hanging while the defender goes through a sequence of counters. To my mind, the incorrect range is worse than the punch being left extended and worse than the defender getting multiple moves to the attacker's one. That incorrect range makes the timing wrong. It makes the angles wrong. It makes the footwork wrong. It alters the techniques that will work. It basically messes up everything.

BTW, just to make sure I wasn't misremembering the prevalence of the problem, I went on YouTube and searched for TKD one-step sparring. I went through the first 8 results and 6 of the 8 had the attacker stepping in with a fully extended punch which came up anywhere from 2 to 8 inches short of the target. Note - all of the demonstrations were by black belts.

I think that one-step drills can have value, but performed this way I think they are worse than useless.
All my kempo schools would yell at people for this, and say that if they do not block/react in time, they'll get punched in the face. Sometimes purposefully not block to make sure they're not ending their punch early, and make us try again until we were extending and ranged properly.

Had no idea this was not the norm until I started looking at youtube videos.
 
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I'm on mobile for now, but there are a couple of yabbits on the one-steps in videos.

I think incorrect distance and timing of one-steps at the beginner level can be okay, so long as it's ironed out in the later belts (i.e. a year or two after starting).

I also think some level of timing or distancing is going to be off in an instructional demonstration (and maybe formal test) compared to training. I see this in Muay Thai and BJJ as well. For example, in BJJ, often the uke will have an odd pose, so that the students can actually see the grip that Professor is talking about.

Our Muay Thai drills are typically combinations of 3-5 techniques against an opponent that is defending, but not countering. How are these drills different from one-steps in which the defender does multiple techniques without the attacker countering?
 

wab25

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I think incorrect distance and timing of one-steps at the beginner level can be okay, so long as it's ironed out in the later belts (i.e. a year or two after starting).

I disagree here. Some of the most important things people need to learn, is what it looks like to have someone punch you. It looks different when they are pulling up short or off target and when they mean to hit you. They also need to know what it is like to get hit and what their reaction is to getting hit. These hits do not need to be hard... but the punches should have the intent to make contact with the ability to apply power.

When the punches are done this way from day one, then the students learn about intent, they learn about getting hit and hitting. (I have trained with way too many black belts, across many arts, that have a hard time hitting me... not that my defense is any good, but they panic and pull up when they realize that they are going to make contact with their punch) Many people have to learn how to actually hit another person.

Learning to control yourself and not to panic when someone is trying to hit you, is a major accomplishment for many people. This gives meaning to the distancing, the foot work, the angles, the proper technique.... Learning to do all this stuff right, while someone is hitting you is a very valuable lesson. No, you don't overwhelm them, and pound them.... starting with singles, and doubles and then combos, starting slow and going faster, starting light.... yes to all of that. Learning that you don't die when you get hit and that you can finish your technique after being hit and keep fighting is something people need to experience.

It is not martial arts training, if you don't get hit, kicked, thrown, choked and submitted.

Our Muay Thai drills are typically combinations of 3-5 techniques against an opponent that is defending, but not countering. How are these drills different from one-steps in which the defender does multiple techniques without the attacker countering?
The difference is the timing, the distance, the angles.... Both sides are learning here. The one doing the combo, is learning the correct timing, distancing, foot work, angles to throw the techniques in a way that they hit with power. The defender is learning to defend actual, real attacks that have the intention to make contact. The defender is also learning timing and specifically, where the openings are in the combo, that he can use later. Its not my turn to train while you hold the bag for me.... we both are training at the same time, just different sides of the combo. Training on both sides is extremely useful.
 
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I disagree here. Some of the most important things people need to learn, is what it looks like to have someone punch you. It looks different when they are pulling up short or off target and when they mean to hit you. They also need to know what it is like to get hit and what their reaction is to getting hit. These hits do not need to be hard... but the punches should have the intent to make contact with the ability to apply power.

When the punches are done this way from day one, then the students learn about intent, they learn about getting hit and hitting. (I have trained with way too many black belts, across many arts, that have a hard time hitting me... not that my defense is any good, but they panic and pull up when they realize that they are going to make contact with their punch) Many people have to learn how to actually hit another person.

Learning to control yourself and not to panic when someone is trying to hit you, is a major accomplishment for many people. This gives meaning to the distancing, the foot work, the angles, the proper technique.... Learning to do all this stuff right, while someone is hitting you is a very valuable lesson. No, you don't overwhelm them, and pound them.... starting with singles, and doubles and then combos, starting slow and going faster, starting light.... yes to all of that. Learning that you don't die when you get hit and that you can finish your technique after being hit and keep fighting is something people need to experience.

It is not martial arts training, if you don't get hit, kicked, thrown, choked and submitted.


The difference is the timing, the distance, the angles.... Both sides are learning here. The one doing the combo, is learning the correct timing, distancing, foot work, angles to throw the techniques in a way that they hit with power. The defender is learning to defend actual, real attacks that have the intention to make contact. The defender is also learning timing and specifically, where the openings are in the combo, that he can use later. Its not my turn to train while you hold the bag for me.... we both are training at the same time, just different sides of the combo. Training on both sides is extremely useful.
The one-steps don't exist in isolation. Sparring is a tool that can help with range and defense.

I will never look down on someone who protects their training partners. The fact that you do makes me scared for your student's safety.
 

Tony Dismukes

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I think incorrect distance and timing of one-steps at the beginner level can be okay, so long as it's ironed out in the later belts (i.e. a year or two after starting).
It's one thing if beginners have incorrect timing and distancing because they are beginners. That can be fixed fairly easily (and in less than a year).

It's another thing if they are being deliberately taught to use incorrect distancing. That will take a lot more work to unlearn and fix. What's more, it won't just be the distancing they have to fix. When you change the distancing, you change the timing, footwork, angles, body alignment, available techniques, emotional intensity, and more.
Our Muay Thai drills are typically combinations of 3-5 techniques against an opponent that is defending, but not countering. How are these drills different from one-steps in which the defender does multiple techniques without the attacker countering?
The simplified answer is that when the opponent defends, they are using their moves. In KFW's terms, the person throwing the combo and the person defending get the same number of moves - it's just that one person is using their moves to punch or kick while the other person is using their moves to block/parry, cover/etc.

The longer answer is that the idea of each person getting the same number of turns as if it was a game of chess is an oversimplification. It's a good starting point - much better than practicing sequences where one person stands paralyzed like a statue with their arm extended while the other person executes a seven move combo. But in reality, sometimes one person will be a little faster. Sometimes one person will be momentarily stunned when they get hit. Sometimes one person will be more tired than the other and will lack the energy to output the same volume of techniques. Sometimes one person will flow more smoothly from one move to the next while the other wastes time resetting. Sometimes one person wins a positional advantage which requires the other person to spend their "turn" resetting to neutral while the person with the advantage gets to take extra free shots.

You can design good one-steps or other drills which incorporate combinations when you know how the factors above can play out in a real fight against a competent opponent. Ideally the drills should both develop the ability to gain these advantages (of speed, flow, energy, position, etc) while also representing combinations which commonly occur in real fights against opponents who aren't incompetent or paralytic.

I'll give a simple example that I use in coaching boxing. Partners are both in orthodox stance. One partner feeds a jab, the other parries the jab with their right hand and continues the circular motion of the parry into a cross-hook-cross combo, then exits at an angle. The partner who initiated the jab will shoulder roll the crosses and block the hook. Ideally the initial cross is extending as the first partner's jab is retracting. If I was doing this as a pad drill, I would just call out "parry-2-3-3" and feed the jab.

Let's break that down a bit, because there's a lot going on in that simple drill.
  1. The partner throwing the combo attempts to steal a half-beat's worth of timing by throwing the cross as the jab retracts. If successful, this forces the other person to defend rather than throwing a follow-up to the jab.
  2. The follow-up hook and cross flow smoothly, and naturally from the initial counter, taking advantage of that momentary advantage in initiative.
  3. The person who initiates the jab will practice blocking each of the punches in the most efficient way given the circumstances. In a real match, 1, 2, 3, or none of those punches might land, depending on the reaction time of the fighters involved.
  4. The person throwing the combo realizes that this advantage in initiative won't last too long if their partner is able to efficiently block all the punches, and so they move off at an angle immediately after the combo, anticipating that their partner will attempt to hit them back.
  5. If the person throwing the combo doesn't succeed in capturing the initiative, then their combo may be interrupted by follow-up punches from their opponent. For this reason, they practice staying defensively responsible while throwing their combo - moving their head offline, keeping their chin tucked, protecting their jaw with their shoulder, and keeping their non-punching hand high.
  6. This is a sequence that I personally use in sparring and that you can see applied at all levels from amateur to professional. So it's not just theoretical of something which requires you be twice as fast and skilled as your opponent.
 

Tony Dismukes

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I will never look down on someone who protects their training partners. The fact that you do makes me scared for your student's safety.
Practicing punches from out of range is not the best way to protect your training partners. If students lack the control to control their punches while going fast, then I have them practice going slow and light and save the hard punches for the heavy bag. (I've done this for years with no injuries.)

Practicing techniques slowly at the correct range is 100% more productive than practicing them quickly at the wrong range.
 
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Practicing punches from out of range is not the best way to protect your training partners. If students lack the control to control their punches while going fast, then I have them practice going slow and light and save the hard punches for the heavy bag. (I've done this for years with no injuries.)

Practicing techniques slowly at the correct range is 100% more productive than practicing them quickly at the wrong range.
I was referring to his statement about other black belts pulling their punches.
 
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t's another thing if they are being deliberately taught to use incorrect distancing. That will take a lot more work to unlearn and fix.
In my old TKD school, we had no problem with this. We moved a bit closer at each stage of development. For example, beginners 6" away, intermediates 3" away, advanced close, and black belts realistic.

Most people were able to quickly adjust when instructed to do so. I can't recall that it was ever an issue.
 

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I will never look down on someone who protects their training partners. The fact that you do makes me scared for your student's safety.
It is possible to throw a punch, slowly, with the intent to hit the other person, but not hurt them. As Tony said, you start slow and very light and work up as their ability increases. This way they are always practicing correct techniques that work against a real punch. Move the head punches down to the chest for beginners.... if they are punching slowly, they can safely make contact if their partner misses a block.

Using 1 step and multi step drills is actually a good way to slowly ramp up the speed and power, when appropriate.

I was referring to his statement about other black belts pulling their punches.
When one black belt throws a punch at another black belt, so that the second black belt can do his technique.... if the second black belt misses his block, he should get hit. This should not be a KO punch or other full power punch. But, the guy throwing the punch should not miss the other guy, who missed his block. The speed and power used should be an agreement between the two, depending on the situation. If we are pressure testing each other, the hits will be harder and faster... but fed at a rate that the other guy can deal with. If you are demonstrating a technique to the class, the hit should be light and controlled....

I do appreciate your concern for my students safety though. In my dojo, we have Aikido, Judo and Karate... my class has far less injuries than any of those classes. We also have far less injuries than the BJJ schools I have trained with and the MMA school I trained with. But yes, we do feed punches and kicks to each other with the intent to make contact... at a speed and power appropriate for the people we train with. And if you miss a block, I will hit you.... not hard, no damage, but enough so that you know that you missed the block.

Should a person never get hit in a martial arts class?
 

Kung Fu Wang

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Partners are both in orthodox stance. One partner feeds a jab, the other parries the jab with their right hand and continues the circular motion of the parry into a cross-hook-cross combo,
What do I do if my opponent throws a jab at me? I will just use my hook punch to attack his punching arm. This way, when my opponent attacks me, I also attack him at the same time. I will never be in defense mode.

IMO, hook punch (offensive thinking) is the same as downward parry (defensive thinking).

my-hook-against-jab.gif


I train my guys with combo similar to the combo you have described. The difference is both A and B start from on guard. A doesn't wait for B to throw a jab. A uses hook punch to open B's guard (this is the beauty of the hook punch). A then followed with cross-hook-cross combo.

The advantage of my approach is I don't have to wait for my opponent to throw a jab at me. I can train my combo anytime that I want to.

In another thread, we talk about whether you train offensively, or defensively. If you train offensively, there is no such thing as "one step".

This video shows parry-cross. It's easy to make it into parry-cross-hook-cross (or hook-cross-hook-cross).

Sanda-leadinghand-trap.gif
 
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