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I just spent about 45 minutes sweeping up accumulated leaves and debris from the sidewalks and gutters around my house. This gives me plenty of time to think, and so I often wonder: Is there a martial arts drill or routine I could be practicing right now, and sweeping my sidewalk at the same time?

Sweeping with a push broom involves a fair amount of motion, including but not limited to:

  • Full extension of the arms, closed stance (liquids, large debris)
  • Short extension of the arms, closed or open stance (dust, small debris)
  • Bending/stooping
  • Footwork

I'd be particularly interested in learning about a traditional or contemporary form or drill specifically designed for practice with push brooms. There's an awful lot of inventive choreography in the entertainment industry using household items (umbrellas are popular), but this classic Stomp routine is the only bit I know of that specifically uses push brooms (and it's a musical ensemble number, not a martial arts routine).

However, any routine that focuses on the types of motions outlined above that could be adapted for practical use with the broom would be acceptable. It does not have to specifically be a weapon drill. It could be a long form, a single technique or anything in between. The only specifications are:

  • I should be able to actually sweep the sidewalk. (Certain types of movement simply aren't practical for this purpose; e.g., slashes, blocks and parries, strikes at or above the knee.)
  • The goal here is recreation/fitness, not self-defense. I'm looking for something low-impact that supports good posture. Vertical movement is fine but because this is going to be an extended, repetitive activity, bending from the waist might be something to avoid.
  • Off-balance stances will probably be less effective for sweeping (but if they're really fun, it might be worth taking a bit longer to do the job!).
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    You could practice some sort of footwork while sweeping. Use the broom/leaves as resistance training. I could write a little more but it feels like it would be a very short answer... – Sardathrion - against SE abuse Sep 18 '14 at 6:34
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Try these footwork patterns:

  • Stepping forward in a low bow/front stance as you push the broom, alternating legs. It will be a challenge to actually effect the sweeping while doing this.
  • Fighting stance: step back foot together with front foot, step front foot out to fighting stance. Do right foot forward going one way, left foot forward coming back.
  • Fighting stance: step lead foot forward, drag back foot into fighting stance. Do right foot forward going one way, left foot forward coming back.
  • Fighting stance: imagine a diagonal zig-zag pattern. Step left foot out 45 degrees to the left, bring feet together, step out 45 degrees to the right. Repeat on the opposite side.

I'm assuming you have some MA experience and so my descriptions are brief. If you need any clarification, say so in the comments and I'll change my answer.

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