Drills are a way to work out the mechanics of executing a technique. Taking your time to work on the different elements of the technique allows you to become comfortable with executing it without thinking.
Once you have some techniques in your “tool-box”, it’s time to start working on combinations. One of the principles we teach at Piedmont Bando is “Never stop on a block”. That is, plan ahead of time that once you block, you automatically do another technique that follows it.
If you’re in a self-defense situation, this is not the time to start figuring out how to deliver a strike following a block. Instead, start working now on combinations and find out which ones “flow” for you. For example, you might like to use the side block a lot, followed by a turn punch with the other hand. One of the combinations I like is a cross-body block followed by a cross-body strike.
The transition from drills to practical application starts with working combinations. Pick a block that you like, then try it with all of the different punches to decide which pair really suits you. Then, make that yours, by practicing it till you can do it efficiently, correctly, and without thought.