If you have watched the movie Dodgeball; A True Underdog Story, then you are probably familiar with the scene with Patches O’Houlihan. If you haven’t watched it I have to wonder what you’re doing that could possibly be more important than studying this film but on the off chance you didn’t here is the relevant clip;
In all seriousness there have been times in my training career when I have really wondered what we are doing or trying to accomplish with cross-training or hybrid training or whatever you want to call it. Some of it seems as absurd as Patches throwing wrenches at guys to get them ready for dodgeball. I get it, everyone is on a time crunch so if we could find a way to make one training session cover multiple disciplines then that’s a win on several fronts.
However, specificity and adaption to imposed demands is a real thing. If we want to excel at shooting a rifle accurately at 600 – 1,000 yards, shooting clays with a shotgun everyday for hours instead of shooting our rifle is counter-productive. Yes we are working with a long gun but there isn’t going to be enough carry-over between the two to make the shotgunning beneficial to pursuing our goal of precision rifle work.
Fortunately when it comes to impact weapons any time we work with any impact weapon it seems to benefit all of the impact weapons we use. Whether we are using a baseball bat, an expandable baton, a sap, or a piece of rebar the body mechanics are virtually identical. We will have to adjust for the weapons characteristics yet the rotation of your upper body, weight shift of the lower body, and path our arm travels is the same. If we use weighted clubs, maces or bells we can also incorporate some strength and conditioning into our impact weapons work.
There are a number of impact weapon schools and lineages out there, and since you are reading this it’s safe to assume you probably have some background in impact weapons. However, if you aren’t already practicing impact weapon work there is no reason you can’t get started today. The fundamentals of impact weapons work is forehand strikes, and back hand strikes. The easiest place to start is with the X angle. For X angles using a forehand strike, (if you’re right handed), visualize striking from the 2 o’ clock position to the 8 o’ clock position. The other side of the X, still using your right hand, would be a backhand strike from the 10 o’ clock position to the 4 o’ clock position. This is a very simplistic approach to impact weapon work, and finding a coach to help you learn proper technique would be well worth your time. However, swinging an impact weapon with power can look a lot like a good baseball or tennis swing. Transferring power from the legs, through trunk rotation, and into the impact weapon is something athletes in baseball and tennis have spent quite a bit of time and money on developing to a high degree. If you don’t have a coach or background in impact weapons I won’t leave you hanging, we’ll go deeper into impact weapon training in future posts.