Detailed Drills: Circle VS Straight Line

Today we’ll look at sparring drills that work on the concepts of circular strikes vs straight line ones. For this post, straight line moves are techniques such as a jab, reverse punch, or side kick. Circular moves come from different angles like a ridgehand, roundhouse, or crescent kick. Today we’ll be looking at these moves from the perspective that straight line moves are faster, more efficient, and prevent an opponent from moving towards you while circular moves are sneaky, unexpected, and present more options.

Straight Line Only

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Two participants spar using only straight-line movements. This includes (but is not limited to) jabs, reverse punches, and front kicks. The goal is to control the center line using these techniques (the line down the middle of the opponent’s body).

The participant with more reach should have an advantage, so the person with shorter reach must have a plan. Use strategies like drawing out a kick and then attacking on the snap back. Since all moves are going straight in, make sure to vary the height of your attacks (for example jab to the head, reverse punch to the body).

Circular Only


Two participants spar using only circular movements. This includes (but is not limited to) ridgehands, backfists, and roundhouse kicks. These techniques leave larger openings and allow counters more easily, but they are also trickier and attack from more obscure angles than straight line movements. Patience and timing will be assets in this drill.

Alternate throwing moves to the left side then to the right side to confuse their defense. For example, throw a roundhouse several times, then after they’re expecting another roundhouse, switch it to a hook kick. Since these techniques strike from opposite angles it will be difficult for the opponent to change their defense.

Circle VS Straight Line

circle v straight.png

One participant can only use straight-line techniques while the other can only use circular. The circular person must try to surprise their opponent with a variety of techniques and angles while the straight-line person must control the center line to keep the other person outside of striking range.

Both arsenals have their strengths and weaknesses. The straight line moves are predictable but efficient while the circular moves are bigger but with more variety of targets. A straight line move always strikes to the middle of the body, high or low. A circular move can strike the left side or the right side and also high or low, doubling your options! Circular motions can also sometimes be thrown big to draw a reaction, and other times thrown small to sneak past their defense. Meanwhile straight line movements can be used to keep the other person far away.

Get Good at Both!

One is not better than the other, in fact they’re complimentary. If you look at boxing, the jab-cross-hook is fundamental. This combo consists of a quick straight line move, a powerful straight line move, and then a powerful circular move. It’s important that you can strike effectively with any weapon, from any angle.

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