Title:
Training method and apparatus
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A training method and apparatus attaches at least one marker device to the clothing of each of two users. The users engage in a training interval wherein attempts are made by each of the users to detach the at least one marker devices from the clothing of the other, each of the users defending against the attempts to detach the at least one marker devices by the other. The training interval ceases when one or more of the at least one markers of one of the users has been detached by other.



Inventors:
Hiburger, Mark Matthew (Centreville, VA, US)
Application Number:
11/582893
Publication Date:
12/13/2007
Filing Date:
10/17/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B23/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
ARYANPOUR, MITRA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Robert C. Strawbrich (Hamburg, NY, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method of training between two users comprising: attaching at least one marker device to the clothing of each of the two users; and engaging in a training interval wherein attempts are made by each of the two users to detach the at least one marker devices from the other, each of the two users defending against the attempts to detach the at least one marker devices by the other; ceasing said engaging when one or more of the at least one markers of one of the two users has been detached by the other.

2. The method of claim 1 wherein said ceasing further comprises ceasing said engagement after a predetermined time.

3. The method of claim 1 wherein said attaching further comprises attaching more of the marker devices to one of the at least two users than is attached to the other of the two users.

4. The method of claim 1 wherein said marker devices comprise an attachment member coupled to a pulling member.

5. The method of claim 4 wherein said attachment member further comprises a resilient ring for gripping clothing.

6. The method of claim 5 wherein the pulling member comprises a length of material.

7. The method of claim 6 wherein the length of the pulling member of the at least one marker device attached to one of the users is longer or shorter than for the at least one marker device attached to other users.

8. The method of claim 6 wherein the length of material is a string.

9. The method of claim 6 wherein the length of material is a length of cloth.

10. The method of claim 4 wherein the attachment member comprises one of the following: a button, a buttonhole, a snap, a hook a magnet, a piece of Velcro, disposed on or in the pulling member.

11. A marker device for facilitating training comprising: an attachment member for removably attaching the marker device to a user's clothing; and a pulling member coupled to the attachment member comprising a length of material for detaching the marker device from the user's clothing when pulled by another user during training.

12. The marker device of claim 11 wherein said attachment member comprises a resilient ring having a discontinuity therein to permit gripping of clothing between two segments of the ring formed by the discontinuity.

13. The marker device of claim 12 wherein the resilient ring is constructed of plastic.

14. The marker device of claim 11 wherein the length of material comprises a ribbon.

15. The marker device of claim 11 wherein the length of material comprises a string.

16. The marker device of claim 11 wherein said attachment member comprises one of the following: a button, a buttonhole, a snap, a hook a magnet, a piece of Velcro, disposed on or in the pulling member.

17. A method of martial arts training between two users comprising: attaching at least one marker device to the clothing of each of the two users at strategically significant locations; and engaging in a training interval wherein attempts are made by each of the two users to detach the at least one marker devices from the other, each of the two users defending against the attempts to detach the at least one marker devices by the other; ceasing said engaging when one or more of the at least one markers of one of the two users has been detached by the other, or at the lapsing of a predetermined time, whichever occurs first.

18. The method of claim 17 wherein said marker devices comprise an attachment member coupled to a pulling member comprising a length of material, the attachment member comprising a resilient ring with a discontinuity for gripping clothing therebetween.

19. The method of claim 17 wherein said marker devices comprise an attachment member coupled to a pulling member, the attachment member comprising one of the following: a button, a buttonhole, a snap, a hook, a magnet, a piece of Velcro, disposed on or in the pulling member.

20. The method of claim 18 wherein said pulling member comprises one of the following: a string or a ribbon of cloth.

Description:

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/809,523, filed Jun. 1, 2006.

BACKGROUND

A vast number of people, from young children to adults, endeavor to learn various forms of martial arts. The motivations for, and the benefits derived from, engaging in such training can range from developing the ability to defend oneself to developing various athletic skills such as improved hand-to-eye coordination, strength, flexibility and speed. One of the challenges presented to those offering such training is how to provide the opportunity to develop and refine these skills through supervised activities such as sparring, while minimizing the risk of injury that may be inflicted by the participants upon one another through accidental or even purposeful contact

A variety of sparring methods and devices have been developed in the past to address this problem. Some of these techniques seek to avoid injurious contact by substituting a mechanical device in lieu of a human sparring partner. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,800,319, issued Sep. 1, 1998, discloses an upright dummy which may stand on its own or may be suspended from an overhanging ceiling or fixture. The dummy has a belt attached thereto that supports one or more horizontally disposed, forwardly extending, and flexible arms that strike back at a user whenever the dummy is hit. In another example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,593,900, issued Jun. 10, 1986, discloses a robot with a hollow cylindrical body. The robot's arms are disposed and operated to ward off blows directed at the robot's head.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,434,980, issued Mar. 6, 1984 discloses a spherical punching bag that has padded arms hung on each of it from a crosspiece. Internally, each of the arms has a centrally disposed elongated structural member to simulate a bent human arm When the punching bag is hit, the padded arms swing upwardly toward the person who is using the device, attempting to simulate counter blows.

A sparring device disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,250,533, issued May 10, 1966, presents a target in the form of a human boxer that has arms that are free to move in various directions. A motor produces a shoulder oscillation of the boxer target as well as a bobbing and weaving motion of the target boxer's torso. A similar technique is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 2,909,370, issued Oct. 20, 1959. A simulated human figure having a skeleton made from pipes or bars stands on a turntable and, through mechanisms disclosed in detail therein, the arms of the figure can be raised or lowered as if the figure were a boxer. The motion of the arms is actuated by striking the head of the figure.

Attaching adjunctive equipment to a punching bag by means of a belt is disclosed generally in U.S. Pal No. 5,183,450, issued Feb. 2, 1993. A simulated leg, formed by filling a fabric sock with sand, is held in fabric straps which are sewn to the outside of the sock. The straps extend above the top of the sock and are each terminated with a flat loop. The looped end straps are attached by a user to the straps around the bag to fasten the simulated leg to the bag. The user is able to practice low kicks against a simulated a human leg. In U.S. Des. Pat. No. 169,243 a heavy punching bag is disclosed that has four stubby arms extending outwardly from the body of the bag.

All of these patents disclose techniques that provide inanimate targets in lieu of an actual human partner to eliminate the potential for injury that might otherwise occur during sparring, while attempting to simulate some modicum of human behavior, It would be much more desirable to provide a safe technique for sparring with another person, which is more realistic given that a human partner is able to react to the advances of a human opponent in a manner that the foregoing techniques cannot simulate.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

For a detailed description of embodiments of the invention, reference will now be made to the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a diagram that illustrates an embodiment of a marker device in accordance with embodiments of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a diagram of an alternate embodiment of a marker device in accordance with embodiments of the invention;

FIGS. 3A and 3B illustrate possible locations on users' clothing to which embodiments of the marker devices of FIG. 1 and FIG. 2 may be attached in accordance with embodiments of the method of the invention.

NOTATION AND NOMENCLATURE

Certain terms are used throughout the following description and in the claims to refer to particular features, apparatus, procedures, processes and actions resulting therefrom. Those skilled in the art may refer to an apparatus, procedure, process, result or a feature thereof by different names. This document does not intend to distinguish between components, procedures or results that differ in name but not function. In the following discussion and in the claims, the terms “including” and “comprising” are used in an open-ended fashion, and thus should be interpreted to mean “including, but not limited to . . . . ”

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The following discussion is directed to various embodiments of the invention. Although one or more of these embodiments may be preferred, the embodiments disclosed should not be interpreted as, or otherwise be used for limiting the scope of the disclosure, including the claims, unless otherwise expressly specified herein. In addition, one skilled in the art will understand that the following description has broad application, and the discussion of any particular embodiment is meant only to be exemplary of that embodiment, and not intended to intimate that the scope of the disclosure, including the claims, is limited to that embodiment.

Embodiments of the present invention include a method that provides users with an opportunity to develop skills commonly associated with activities such as the martial arts, including hand speed, hand-to-eye coordination and defensive skills commonly developed through sparring exercises, but without subjecting the users to the potential for injury often suffered when such training techniques otherwise employ attempts to strike one another and attempts to defend against such strikes.

The invention employs embodiments of a target device herein referred to as a marker or marker device. The marker device may be removably attached to the clothing of one or more training partners. The marker device includes a portion that may be grabbed by the opposing partners during training. The marker device may be attached to strategically selected target points on the one or more training partners and is intended to be pulled from the person to which it is attached by an opponent during the training process. The partner to which the marker device is attached may defend against the advances of an opponent partner while attempting to pull off a marker device attached to the opponent partner. Attempts to pull the other's marker devices are offensive moves that serve to simulate strikes, the target for which is on the surface of the body.

The present invention greatly reduces injury risks commonly associated with contact sparring while providing an opportunity to develop coordination and speed skills associated with sparing with another human being. The present invention also allows youth to develop skills in a manner of which they are already familiar: in play, and thus may be employed to increase the comfort level of new students who might otherwise be intimidated by the martial arts. In addition, the present invention can provide physically and developmentally challenged children an opportunity to develop skills associated with such training while removing much of the risk of injury to one another.

FIG. 1 illustrates an embodiment of a marker that may be employed in embodiments of the method of the invention. In an embodiment, the marker 100 includes an attachment member such as ring 110 that is made of a resilient material such as plastic. The ring 110 includes a discontinuity 120 that permits the ring to be inserted into a hole such as a buttonhole, or to grip clothing outright in a pinching manner. An embodiment of marker 100 also includes a pulling member 130, attached to ring 110, that provides a means by which the marker 100 may be subjected to a pulling force to detach it from the clothing during training. The ring 110 has sufficient rigidity to provide gripping or pinching force, but is not so rigid that it cannot be pulled apart, thus facilitating its removal from the clothing to which it is attached during training when subjected to a reasonable amount of pulling force on pulling member 130. Those skilled in the art will recognize that pulling member 130 may be a length of material such as a string, a ribbon or strand made of cloth, plastic, rubber or other suitable material. Ring 110 can be made of any material that provides suitable resilience for gripping or pinching, but not so much gripping force that it cannot be pulled from the clothing during training exercises.

FIG. 2 illustrates an alternate embodiment of a marker device 200. Embodiments of the marker device 200 of FIG. 2 can include a pulling member 220 and an attachment member 210 disposed therein or thereon The ring 110 of marker 100 of the embodiment of FIG. 1 can thus be substituted in the embodiment of FIG. 2 with other suitable forms of attachment members such as a button, buttonhole, snap, hook, magnet or Velcro strip for example, or any other suitable means by which the marker 200 may be removably attached to the body or clothing of a user. In embodiments of the invention, the attachment member 210 can be, for example, a buttonhole disposed in the pulling member 220 for receiving a button attached to the clothing, or a button disposed on the pulling member 220 if a buttonhole is provided in the clothing.

Attachment member 210 of FIG. 2 can also be a female/male snap disposed on the pulling member 220, if the clothing of a user has male/female snap respectively attached thereto for attaching the marker 200 by mating with the attachment member 210. Further, attachment member 210 can be apiece of Velcro disposed on the pulling member 220 when the user's clothing also has a Velcro strip disposed thereon for attaching the marker 200. Still further, attachment member 210 can be a magnet disposed on the pulling member 220 when the user's clothing also has a magnet of opposite polarity disposed thereon for attaching the marker. Pulling member 220 can be cloth, plastic or other suitable material that permits the marker to detach the marker 200 from its attachment point on a user's clothing as described above.

In an embodiment of the method of the invention, training partners attach one or more marker devices 100, 200 to their uniforms. The object of the training experience is for each partner to pull at least one marker device from the uniform of the other while defending against the other from the doing the same. FIG. 3A illustrates the placement of marker devices 310 on the clothing of two equally matched partners 300a. They can be attached, for example, to the front center area of the clothing half way up from the belt. Those of skill in the art will recognize that the embodiment of the markers 310 may be attached anywhere on the partners' clothing that provides an appropriate challenge to the skills of the sparring opponents. Moreover, the markers can be attached at strategic points that define areas of vulnerability commonly associated with martial arts training.

Embodiments of the method of the invention can be varied to increase or decrease the difficulty of one or both of the training partners accessing and pulling the markers 300 from one another's clothing. For example, the length of the pulling members may be increased or decreased, the attachment members can be varied to increase or decrease the force necessary to detach the marker devices, the locations of the attachments can be varied to more or less easily accessed locations on the user's clothing, and finally, the number of markers on each partner may be varied.

Varying the difficulty of access and removal of the marker devices, as well as increasing or decreasing the number of markers on one user versus another, can be used to, for example, permit a more experienced or coordinated partner to train with a less experienced and/or coordinated partner, thus permitting each partner to have a beneficial training experience. FIG. 3B illustrates the placement of multiple marker devices 310b in accordance with embodiments of the invention that seek to offset a difference in skill levels between training partners 300b.

In an embodiment of the method of the invention, if both partners pull off the other's marker devices at the same time, a draw is declared. If one of the marker devices of the invention attached to a first user falls to the ground, the partner of the first user can be required to stand over the fallen marker device while the first user retrieves it. Finally, training periods may be defined as the time necessary for one training partner to detach one or all of the markers from a training partner, or the lapsing of a predetermined time period if that happens first.