Occasionally when a pair of students work on a set play at slow speed one of the pair may opt to move quicker than their partner. There are several reasons why this may occur: they’re already familiar with the technique and desire a more combative practice, they may have a desire to “win”, they may not be able to exert control at a slow speed, to name a few.
I want to expand upon the first reason that I mentioned: a desire to practice more combatively. It’s a perfectly reasonable thing to do, but, one that has perils if not done correctly. By correct I mean… well, I’ll provide an example.
This past week the Blue cords were working on passing below. One exercise we worked on was: Agente lunges to strike high, Patiente passes below to strike the flank. Simple as can be. Most pairs matched each other at a slow pace. I moved at a slow pace as well, but one of the partners I had, appearing to have a good understanding of the mechanics, decided to work at a quicker pace. As I mentioned, this would be perfectly reasonable, except that they were moving at a quick pace to my slow pace. This led to some erroneous conclusions on the part of my partner, particularly how long they could afford to wait before passing below. In short, they made an error of tempo. This was demonstrated when I decided to match my speed to theirs and proceeded to strike them in the face repeatedly.
I generally recommend practicing combative exercises at a slow pace. This will allow both sides to reason out the various details of the play itself: in what situations it can be used, the measure and tempo of the play, proper angles, etc. We must always keep in mind, however, the fact that every aspect of the play must be brought into the slow pace.
Establish with your partner the level that you will both practice; create the conditions under which you want to practice your technique and you will achieve better feedback.