Tony Blauer had us work on a drill during his knife defence seminar that works very well for unarmed training as well. First of all, I'll ask that you try it out and give it a chance before you dismiss it. I say this because the drill may not sound like much but can teach some serious lessons if done correctly.
Tony calls the drill "The Night Of The Living Dead." If any of you are horror buffs then you know the animated corpses move very slowly. Basically the drill is done with both participants moving at that slow motion speed.
Here is how you start:
One participant (the defender) closes their eyes.
The other participant (the aggressor) begins a slow motion attack and calls out "begin". (This drill could be done with multiple attackers as well.)
At the word "begin" the defender opens their eyes and has to react to the attack already in progress but in slow motion.
It should be noted that the aggressor should not use formal attacks but an "anything goes" attitude. i.e.. Go for a bear hug grab, and if the defender uses both their arms to block yours then drop in a head butt.
There will be a couple of things that you will notice:
1) The tendency is to "panic" and speed up to handle an unanticipated attack. DON'T speed up, deal with as it IS! If you have to take a hit then take a hit -- DEAL WITH IT.
2) The unorthodox attacks throws off the person who has only trained against formal attacks. Often they are completely overwhelmed. AND THIS IS AT SLOW MOTION!
3) You find the flaws created by your training really fast. i.e.. Chambering or even drawing back slightly before you strike leaves you wide open for a "surprise" counter by those who don't.
4) The eyes closed creates a "surprise" that throws people for first while. If they are thinking they are going to react with one of the "techniques" they have collected, they are quickly corrected on that issue.
5) It doesn't really take that much to get better at it. Just let yourself go and the opportunities open up for you.
There are a couple of ways to play with the drill. One is to have the participants use dramatic anatomic responses to the strikes (ala Jerry Peterson for those into SCARS). Some anatomical responce is needed. You can have the aggressor "give" a little to the defender IF they use good principles -- to build a win/survival attitude. However, never do this the first time and only occasionally and if they respond with something that would work (particularly if the defender is very outclassed). The best way is to have the aggressor keep coming like the animated corpses of the movies -- trains the worst case scenario. Don't let it go to the silly, but have some fun. At slow motion no one should be hurt, any technique (except to the eyes perhaps)should be allowed.
A really fun drill that I have shocked a few really good black belts with. Try it out and post you comments.