This drill set straddles the line between kobo and jissen, and I would suggest you practice them with both attitudes. In kobo, you are trying help your partner improve his skills; in jissen, you want to defeat your partner's attempts to use his skills. Both are valuable practices, so decide with your partner beforehand whether you are working with or against each other.

Ready for Spaghetti

Canned pasta sauce is convenient because it can move from shelf to plate in as little time as it takes to heat. It may be good enough for nights when you don’t have time to really cook, but everyone knows that real spaghetti sauce is made from fresh ingredients and takes a few hours to simmer the flavors together. Would you give a date canned sauce? Don’t cheat your performance by taking shortcuts - you won’t be impressing anyone but yourself. These can get complicated. Take your time and remember to start off slowly and build steadily towards “real” speed.

Repeat Kobo Drill Progressions with Alternating Roles

Starting with a single attack and single defense option, move back through selected drills from the Basic and Advanced Kobo Drills pages. Allow each partner to be offense and defense. Then, add speed and options as gradual multipliers of drill complexity. There are two basic ways to alternate roles. In the common method, one partner is on offense for the first arbitrary time period, then the roles switch at the timekeeper's command. In the version I prefer, the switch takes place after each exchange, such that after initiating one attack, the partner is now on defense. This method is usually faster-paced and allows both partners to work both roles before fatigue sets in. Another option that can be applied in several creative ways is to have the role switch called by an observer at various intervals. For example, every five seconds, at random intervals, when the defender looks like he’s about to get cornered (this is an especially good drill for training to “come back” from losing a point and turning the tables on a dominating opponent). Remember that this is not yet jissen. You will be working on the same option-multiplying progression as before. Add one variable at a time and keep the progression gradual. The difference is that, this time through, the roles are changing more dynamically.

Repeat Previous Progressions with Open Roles

And they are even more dynamic now. In fact, the roles are gone here. This progression too begins very slowly, and with very few options. For example, both partners move freely and either one can decide to attack with sentai at any time. Then later, with sentai or ebigeri. The other partner has to defend based on the prior kobo practice. This may look a lot like jissen to an observer, but the goal is to train appropriate defenses. In jissen, students often forget the defenses they’ve practiced beforehand. In this drill, the goal is to respond to attacks in the same manner you practiced in kobo. Keep in mind, even though I'm not spelling out each step anymore, to only add one variable at a time, and add them gradually.

Bridging the Gap

That’s the focus here. A lot of people think practicing kamae is difficult and boring. Most of these people have shitty kamae. Still, they’re right about the first part. However it’s only boring if you’re not creative or intelligent enough to think about it. Good kamae makes your unsoku and techniques better. It’s worth the investment. Incremental kobo and jissen drills are also worth the investment. Most people don’t practice kobo because the gap between kobo and jissen is too wide. This article gave you a few ways to make the transition as seamless as possible. It takes a while to do it well, but that’s the way this Taido thing works, and the results are worth it.