Do you believe in open sparring sessions

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by Mark Lynn, Jan 8, 2012.

  1. Mark Lynn

    Mark Lynn Master Black Belt

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    I had a discussion with a friend the other day and it got me thinking.:rolleyes:

    1) Do you believe that schools should have an open mat sparring sessions?

    2) If you are or where a school owner/instructor would you have or conduct open mat sparring sessions, where anyone off of the street or in your school could go and spar. (When I mean off of the street I mean from another school, or say people that use to train in the martial arts etc. etc. could come and spar to tune up their skills)

    3) Do you as a school owner or instructor believes this practice would help or hinder your students or your school?

    Just wondering.

    I'm not talking about the instructor vetting people to come and spar their students per say to help raise the students skills up by sparring people they don't know. I mean just have people randomly show up at this time and put up or shut up so to speak.
     
  2. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    I have been told that in the past, a few people have showed up at our dojo who wished to spar and were given the OK to do so. They do have to sign our liability waiver before stepping onto the dojo floor. However, in my time at our dojo, I have never seen this happen.

    There is a dojo not far from me which teaches a different style; I know their sensei and they have adult 'fight night' on Fridays in the evenings sometimes. I have been invited to drop by and spar. I haven't done so yet, but I may at some point. We've never talked about fees or whatever, but I'd be happy to pay a 'mat fee' to spar once in awhile. I think it's good for everyone who like sparring to be able to experience sparring with different students in different settings, and not actually in competition. I'm no expert, but I don't think it would do any harm. Just my 2 cents.
     
  3. Twin Fist

    Twin Fist Grandmaster

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    any school that wont allow guests to get on the mat? there is a reason why. And it aint that "our stuff is too deadly to show outsiders"
     
  4. MAist25

    MAist25 Blue Belt

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    I absolutely believe in open sparring sessions. Experiencing a fighting style different to your own can really open up your eyes and help you improve on your overall abilities. Training in one school, you become used to the rules, to sparring the same people every class, to learning the same way to approach or react to a certain technique, etc. and that is dangerous because it severely limits you. You dont learn how to fight by doing the same thing every class, you learn how to fight in YOUR school by doing the same thing every class, which is not going to be the way everybody else in the world fights.

    Open sparring sessions can only be a positive way to enhance and improve the overall training of your students AND of yourself. I also think that schools that are open to this and do encourage this show a real confidence in their students and in what they teach, and this is definitely appreciated by the students. As Twin Fist said, if a school is against training with other people and other styles, and those who may have a different philosophy or perspective on sparring or fighting, there is usually a reason...
     
  5. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    Legitimately -- it could simply be the liability & insurance concerns. As well as the "oh, crap, this nut job is going to get killed/kill someone" factor...
     
  6. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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    I'm not a school owner, but to answer your questions...

    1) Sure.

    2) Sure.

    3) Yes.

    I think that it would be good for people to get a taste of how other people fight. It not only a good way for schools to interact, but also there is a strong possibility that by these sessions, it'll lead to other avenues for people. I've met some fantastic training partners from seminars, so the same can be gained from sparring sessions.
     
  7. Buka

    Buka Sr. Grandmaster

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    I think every school owner knows what's best for their student body as far as who comes in for slammin' and jammin'. God, I hope so.
     
  8. Cyriacus

    Cyriacus Senior Master

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    In a Competition themed Dojo? Yes.
    In a Not-Competition themed Dojo? No.
     
  9. Danny T

    Danny T Senior Master

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    Yes, Yes, and Yes.

    1. It would depend on the what the school wants for its members. I want those who train with me to be better than me.

    2.We do and many of the schools in our area do also.

    3.In those students who are consistent in training and sparring there is an almost immediate increase in fight ability and relaxation. Have had absolutely no problems as for personnel. We do have a liability waiver that must be signed and we do cover some safety aspects. Had only 1 over the past 8 years who came in with an attitude (was quickly shown the frt door) Rule 1 leave your ego at the door. If you bring it in you will be removed. Other than that 1 everyone has been very respectful, some playful trash talking outside but once inside it is all respectful and giving it your all. It has made us better.
     
  10. Big Don

    Big Don Sr. Grandmaster

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    The more the merrier, as long as they are over 18 and sign the waiver.
     
  11. Mark Lynn

    Mark Lynn Master Black Belt

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    Thanks for the posts and feedback for the discussion

    First off I'm not against sparring with other like minded individuals, even of different styles or what ever so I'm not against open sparring sessions where a time is set aside and anyone who wants to join in can. In fact as an instructor I believe in it strongly enough that I try and arrange times when my advanced students can go (on a field trip so to speak) to spar with another school in our association, work out with a different class etc. etc. I have arranged for other instructors to come and spar with my brown belts to help build their skills. I get that.

    I have heard of some schools who have open mat sessions and I just wondered if other instructors thought they were a good idea. There is no way for me to have open matt sessions at the rec. center I teach at so for me it is a moot point.

    I mean if someone comes in to your school and they are from a mixed MMA style say, and you teach a traditional martial art say TKD, Karate, Kung Fu, etc. etc. how does that benefit you or your students? You are comparing apples to oranges the techniques you don't allow your students to do are maybe his bread and butter so to speak. You spend your time teaching point sparring and he spends his time on the ground and pound. I would think if your student gets hurt you might share liability. I understand about the waviers but I was looking at it from the possibility if he hurt your student, and you let them on the mat.
     
  12. Blindside

    Blindside Senior Master

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    My instructor's kenpo school had one, the only caveat was that any newcomer would be paired with black belts until they were vetted as "safe" for the rest of the student body. The black belts had enough experience in most ranges that we could hang with just about anybody, we never had a pro-fighter walk through the door or anything, and most guys visiting were just like us, looking for a new experience. It was fun to fight a variety of types, the first time I fought a Muay Thai trained fighter was eye opening for both of us. I kept kicking him in the groin, he kept annihilating my lead leg. Good stuff.

    I'd love to have one for my kali school, but people look at your weird if they come in for an "open mat" day and realize that it involves rattan sticks or aluminum knives. :D It just hasn't been an issue.
     
  13. Mark Lynn

    Mark Lynn Master Black Belt

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    Just wondering if you are talking about different styles such as different styles of karate, TKD, even Olympic style TKD going against like minded styles or do you mean allowing judo students to spar against your TKD students, a boxer comes in and wants to go against an Olympic TKD stylist etc. etc.

    All karate styles, TKD styles, etc. etc. are similar when it comes to sparring (in a general sense), like competing in open karate tournaments. You might go against kung Fu stylists, TKD stylists, karate etc. etc. but you not going against a BJJ player. So when you say "Open sparring sessions can only be a positive way to enhance and improve the overall training of your students AND of yourself." are you meaning like the "open" karate tournaments or the MMA matches?
     
  14. Big Don

    Big Don Sr. Grandmaster

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    Oooh. Fun! We're about to start stick and knife sparring in a few weeks
     
  15. Mark Lynn

    Mark Lynn Master Black Belt

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    :rofl:
     
  16. jedtx88

    jedtx88 Yellow Belt

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    To tell you the truth I think that having someone with a ground fighting experience spar with your stand up fighting students is great. As prevalent as BJJ is these days they'd better know what to do if someone takes them down.
     
  17. MAist25

    MAist25 Blue Belt

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    That is a good question. I think it is easier to have striking styles spar with other strikers because obviously neither of them will be totally new to the idea of striking and vice versa. But if a grappler came in and wanted to spar a striker I think it should be more of a sharing experience for both practitioners rather than full on sparring. The grappler would get to feel what it was like to go against someone who would actually hit him back if he were trying to use his grappling techniques, and the striker would get to feel what it was like to go against someone who would not simply stand in front of you and throw fists, but come in on you and try to take you down. Sparring should not be about winning, it should be about learning. If both practitioners are open-minded and not there to cause problems with the whole "my style is better than your style" garbage than I think both people can learn a lot no matter what style. But overall, 2 strikers would be able to go a little harder simply because they would both have a better understanding of the overall game.
     
  18. ralphmcpherson

    ralphmcpherson Senior Master

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    I think it would depend on the level of contact. I can understand why some instructors may be dubious as to someone with (perhaps) no fighting experience being unleashed into a full contact sparring bout against good black belts. Even if they have signed a waiver, it could get ugly legally when they want their hospital bill paid. If its just light/medium contact with little or no real threat of injury then I dont see a problem. I suppose its difficult to match a complete stranger up with someone to spar because you dont know how good they are. One of my employees came along to where I train one night and had told me for years how he is some bad *** street fighter who always gets into fights and has all this muay thai experience. Because of this our instructor let him spar on his first night (which we dont usually do), and we matched him up with some guys with about 3 years experience. We spar full contact and he got hurt pretty badly and I think our instructor regretted the whole incident in hindsight.
     
  19. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    You can't have 'mixed Mixed Martial Arts'. If you had an MMAist they don't spend all their time on the ground, they can fit in with what you want. If you do stand up they can spar stand up, even do points if that's what you wish. If you do ground work they can do that, we can do it all separately and usually do when we are training. We have boxing teams come in to spar stand up with our guys just for the practice against people other than themselves. Bring in a karateka/TKDist we can do the same, want to do ground we can do that. We don't fight as you see in the cage all the time.
     
  20. Never_A_Reflection

    Never_A_Reflection Blue Belt

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    I am definitely an advocate of open sparring events--my dojo is actually hosting one in March that I am organizing for us! Sparring with other styles gives you very valuable experience with handling people that fight differently than you do, and I think that regardless of whether you train for competition or for self defense you need to be exposed to different methods of fighting. I have only ever sparred people trained in Kyokushin, Shuri-Ryu, Shorin-Ryu, Ken-Sho-Do, TKD and Muay Thai (unless you count grappling) so I am looking forward to getting to spar with more styles. Our event, so far, should have Shorin-Ryu, Kyokushin, MMA and Kenpo in attendance.123
     

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