I recently received an email asking what I think of the value of sensitivity drills and figured the topic would make a good blog post. This is somewhat controversial, as a number of traditional martial arts rely very heavily on such drills, and most sport and MMA fighters consider them to be completely ineffective.
What Are Sensitivity Drills?
For those of you who don’t know what sensitivity drills are, they are a little difficult to define. I’m not certain about this, but I think the term may have come from Dan Inosanto or someone in the Jeet Kune Do Concepts area, where it was applied to drills like chi sao in Wing Chun, hubud in Kali, pushing hands in Tai Chi, and so on. The drills tend to take place only at one particular range, and are designed to train reactions to different energy your partner “feeds” you. The idea is that you become more sensitive to your partner’s energy or force, and learn to respond to it with techniques from the system you’re studying. If you search YouTube for chi sao, hubud, or pushing hands, you’ll find many examples of such drills.
The term sensitivity drill is usually applied to drills that don’t closely resemble actual fighting. Although a training drill that works particular counter punch responses to a jab, a cross, and a hook could also be viewed in terms of reacting to energy or techniques fed by your partner, I’ve never heard anyone call such training a sensitivity drill. From my perspective, it’s possible that the term sensitivity drill was invented to give purpose to drills that are at least a step or two removed from actual fighting…they don’t teach you how to fight, but they increase your Click to see the original article