Documents, Martial Arts

What are your goals when Sparring?

Hello Everyone,

So as many instructors know, I believe that you can’t just throw a student into “a lion’s den (sparring)” without teaching them some basics like punching, kicking, blocking etc.  I met some of my other friends (Instructors) in other martial arts schools and they said why not?  Wouldn’t it be better for them.  That got me thinking…If I look at my personal training variations of teaching, one could get someone to do a workout without you speaking or mentioning your reasoning behind doing something a different way and just let them try it their way and see how they do.  This would be done for different reasons like seeing what they already know, see if they have been in fights before, see if they can get their own natural fighting style and one of the main reasons is to give you a base line for improvement.  My only concern is this leading into injury quickly!

But you can also ask yourself the question, why spar if sparring isn’t like a street fight at all?  That got me looking into this with science and different masters train of thought etc.  But in the end, sparring can be defined  by many as a free-form fighting with enough rules or agreements to make injuries unlikely. Thus, sparring to me is a tool and is not fighting. Sparring is normally distinct from fights or even fighting in competition. The goal of sparring is normally for the education of the participants, while a competitive fight seeks to determine a winner and a street fight seeks to injury, take or more violent thoughts leading possibly to death.

As we all know, although there are rules in combative sports, one could think of the roughest like MMA where many fights are ended by one combatant purposely injuring another combatant. And, in street-fighting, the rules of the asphalt and/or jungle come into play. The fight might be ended once again by death.

So then one must ask the question again, why spar?

Sparring allows you to practice your movement, blocking, slipping, bobbing and weaving, ducking and other defenses against a moving opponent trying to punch or kick you. This is in stark contrast to shadow boxing, hitting the heavy bag or defending against prearranged punches and kicks thrown at you. In addition, there is the stress of being hit by an unpredictable opponent as well as understanding that you will be hit. Remember this saying: “Fighters get hit. Good fighters get hit less.”

When I’m sparring, I concentrate on a few things that I want to improve. It may be counterpunching, kicking, a multiple attacker technique. I do not think of my partner as an opponent. We’re educating each other; not competing.

– According to a KMWW Force Training Division instructor, “Students I’ve trained who have gone on to defend themselves in real life (mostly law enforcement and/or military) usually had no sparring experience when they defended themselves successfully.” Once again, sparring is not fighting – .

The downside to sparring—I believe—particularly for a smaller or weaker individual, is the development of a false sense of fightingability versus a larger partner. Since the larger and stronger partner has been instructed to temper his punches and kicks, the smaller and weaker partner mistakenly believes that he can overwhelm his larger and stronger partner with his fighting prowess and that is where as instructors we must teach strikes to vulnerable places instead.

In this universe, greater mass overwhelms lesser mass. I think we all know this Sir Isaac Newton law of motion: Force = (Mass x Acceleration). For example, in a head-on collision, a Truck will do more damage or in my experience demolish a Smart Car than the Smart Car will do to a Truck. Do not attempt to go against the laws of physics and try this; you’ll lose. There is also a reason why combative sports have weight classes!

The bottom line is… keep sparring for it’s pros and just remember it’s cons in proper perspective? Do you agree… but one might also say, why can a female win again a male wanting to rape her or hurt her! Because adrenaline and kicking to the balls must count for something… (Krav)

Please leave your comments, I would like to know what you think.