The Bend and Sway Drill – Part 1

This week’s focus will be on drills that reinforce an important idea from Joe Manley: You may be hit, but if you are moving you are less likely to be hurt. The key to these drills is the concept of slipping, that is, moving the body to avoid a direct strike.

The Bend and Sway drill teaches waist mobility, moving the torso in different directions to “slip” an oncoming technique from the opponent. The nine steps are:

Walk through with me the nine different movements as shown below:

Practice this with both the right leg forward and the left leg forward until you can do all nine steps automatically. If the left leg is forward, move #3 is a lean to the left; move #5 moves the left shoulder forward. (Be sure to return to the neutral position between each movement!). Keep your feet in the low N stance so that your movements emphasize the mobility of the waist.


  1. Once you’re able to memorize the entire drill, try doing the movements in random order, or reverse order. (Have a housemate call random numbers 1-9 so you don’t cheat)
  2. Only after you’ve mastered the basic drill, add extended steps to movements 1-6 to emphasize the evasion aspect of this drill. 1 – extended step forward at an angle; 2 – extended step to the back at an angle.
  3. For a fun way to drill this, pick a good pop song with a strong 4-count beat. Work moves 1-8 throughout the entire song, occasionally switching which foot you have forward. Enjoy!

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