Alive drills

In the context of ALIVE drills: I'm curious if you feel it necessary(responsible)to stop an alive drill that is obviously losing it's original intent. ( i.e. people start 'sparring' instead of role playing, etc.)


Absolutely, Kerri....

Firstly, let's remind people that in the PDR prgram any ALIVE Drill has to do with replicating the street problem, in other words, in other systems, you CAN have 'alive' sparring drills...

In our case, if it was a role-playing exercise then the "Be A GOOD BAD-GUY" model must be striclty adhered to since the point of the drill is to explore the specifics unique to the problem (as defined in the parameters), so if the drill evolves (or digresses) into the sport sparring of it all then the action takes on the element of 'game' versus 'street'.

Save sparring for sparring, use 60 seconds of every minute in training.

Good question, thanks.



I always stop alive drills if they get outside the original intent. You have to ask yourself what you are trying to make a mental blue print of? I am a strong believer in the idea that you will perform the way you train. If you set up a scenario and one of the participants starts to spar (sport model) what is going to happen if they meet that scenario on the street? I define the drill, demo the drill and then dissect the drill so everyone knows what we are doing, if someone steps outside that intent they are wasting my time, their time, and the other students time. We still spar at my school, but it is in the context of competition and the sport model.

With Safety In Mind,
Rob Gebhart

An excellent and important question, Kerri. One of the things that continues to inspire me about the PDR process is that, as important as "Aliveness" is, Tony's systematic approach to pro-active problem solving through simulation and replication transcends mere aliveness and brings it to the level of "specifity" in your training. Although aliveness is essential to any kind of realistic training, too many people are assuming that the sport vs street argument is over - some feel that aliveness alone is the answer. I strongly disagree.Sparring is about sport. When a PDR drill de-evolves into sparring, it isn't about training anymore - it's about "ego" and getting to "win."Aliveness it good.
Street-Specific aliveness is better!!
Tony's approach of incorporating emotional realism AND street-specific aliveness is BEST.:)Happy training,Adam

Great post.

Very helpful. Thank you for the insights.
Comming back from the PDR session I realized deeper what Tony, Rob & Adam clearly articulated above.

"any ALIVE Drill has to do with replicating the street problem"

"if someone steps outside that intent they are wasting my time, their time, and the other students time".

"Tony's approach of incorporating emotional realism AND street-specific aliveness is BEST".

Without the 3-dimensional awareness integrated into each Alive drill or any training for that matter, we will always end up sparring, especially if we are pre-martial arts trained. That's fine if you want to work sparring, but I want to be sure I'm preparing myself and my students emotionally, psychologically and physically for the "street-specifics".

Where I was getting stuck was at the emotional training level. I was trying to save that element for the all-out simulations and replications, and therefore many of the drills, although they we set within the peramaters of "keep it: realistic, unchoreograped, uncertain, real time/real speed, real resisance/pressure, etc. we would still find a type of sparring attitude within the drills. Trying to score or win 'something'? Not until we included the senario specifics did we see a dramatic shift into the 3-dimensional awareness. I love this training!!

Sometimes a student may bring up the point that the sport sparring model does help them deal with fear and the emotional conditioning. That can be true, but it prepares them for the context in which they train. Sport training doesn't = the same emotional conditioning, psychological awareness and fear management skills needed to survive the "street problem". I say this from my own past experiences of when I only had a sport training background; I always had unsolicited fear and that haunting question in the back of my mind, "can i really pull this stuff of in an assault". No matter what your background is, tournament, sport, NHB, street defense training, etc. the fact remains that to effectively prepare for the "street problem" you need to understand and address this 3-dimensional approach.

Thanks for these insight coach and for giving us such awesome formulas and guidlines to keep our training honest, realistic and legitimate.


excellent dialogue...but remember, typing isnt training :-) balance these thoughts with wise workouts!


Once again, our leader points out the difference between "subject" matter and "substance" matter.



Thanks for the prompt.
Training is getting more and more refined, specific, honest and incredibly exciting!

There's just not enough time in the day...


Thank you all for your insight. My understanding of the system grows more and more each week (practically every day).

I appreciate all your help.