How often should you spar?

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by Midnight-shadow, Jun 5, 2017.

  1. Midnight-shadow

    Midnight-shadow 3rd Black Belt

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    There is no doubt that sparring helps you train, regardless of whether you are training for competition or self defence. But can you do too much sparring? Can do you too little sparring?
     
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  2. MrRazot

    MrRazot Yellow Belt

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    I would say that when you're leaning to fight with other people, fighting with other people would be ideal.

    I think it is possible to do too little as you don't learn the actual lessons from what you've been shown how to do. How would you know it actually works?

    In contrast, could it be possible to do too much and forget/ignore everything you've been shown in favour of what you believe works.

    Sparing is definitely an important learning experience. I look back after each time and think "how can I do better, where did I go wrong?" and try spar with the same guy again. Maybe I learn a new technique in class that helps me or maybe something was wrong with my form that I didn't notice.
    Sparring I think, just needs to strike a balance with regular training.
     
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  3. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    I can see yet another defintion argument on the horizon. Yes you can do both to much and to little dependent on what your defintion of sparing is.

    I believe that training should were ever possible have a degree of discomforts or inconvenience so that it focus the mind. If I'm practising my balance I do so on a fallen tree over a,stream. If I fall , I fall 4 Ft in to 4ft of cold water. I dont fall very often. So it is with the mechanics of fighting, if I over commit to a punch, I should get a jab in the ribs to re enforce the lesson. We do a lot of flow,drill blocking or dodging punches, I require my partner tp throw real time punches sp if I dont move a get hit, this keeps my brain involved in the exercise. There is though no need to spar full force where people get really hurt. Moves that will actually cause real damage pain should be pulled or designed to miss. If I'm swinging an elbow at someone cheek, a skim rather than hit,

    so there are a lot of moves that can never by fully used in sparing. .

    compo sparing of Couse is different, the extent of your moves are limited by the rules. So real damage is unlikely, so yes you need to have had some real time experience in a,contest before you face some for real
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2017
  4. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    No you can't you can do whatever you want. You want to spar once a year that's fine you want to spar 20 times a week that's also fine it's personal choice nothing more
     
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  5. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    if people keep punching you very hard in the head, you can definitely do to much of that and get brain damage
     
  6. Martial D

    Martial D Senior Master

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    Question.

    How would you differentiate what 'you believe works' from what actually works if not though rigorous sparring?

    I'm of the learn it and forget it school. Styles are guidelines, principles. Allowing yourself to crystalize based on what is correct or incorrect within a given style at the expense of what works is a step in the wrong direction if the intent is combat readiness.
     
  7. Midnight-shadow

    Midnight-shadow 3rd Black Belt

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    Ok, I'll define sparring as being put in a situation where you don't know exactly what your opponent is going to do. This is different from drills where you know exactly what your opponent is going to do before they do it, to train for a specific situation. My question is mainly referring to the balance between pre-defined drills and free-style sparring. There are some schools that do sparring every lesson, whereas others that only spar once a month. My instructor is of the opinion that most of the lessons should consist of drills and sparring should be done only occasionally to test your progress. Would you agree with this or do you think you should spar more often?
     
  8. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    yes i would, or rather if you using sparing as the exam, then you need to work on the skills and then go back and examine them again. You wont learn the teachings by sparring, you make your own up as you gp along to avoid getting hit. These might be better or worse than the skills your being taught, but they won't be the same. Constant repeating of the movement patterns in drill is what is needed to make them instinctive
     
  9. Danny T

    Danny T Senior Master

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    Sparring is a method of training and there are different aspects of sparring.
    When to spar and how much depends on several factors.
    1. the individual
    2. the purpose of the training
    3. the skill level and experience of the participant/s
    4. the specific intent/purpose of the sparring
     
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  10. DanT

    DanT 2nd Black Belt

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    Sparring is important. I spar 2 times a week usually. I think training and perfecting individual techniques and combinations is equally important however. Your jab needs to be perfect, your side kick needs to be perfect, etc.
     
  11. Martial D

    Martial D Senior Master

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    When you are learning/training in new moves or reflexes, once a week. Too much at that point can actually undo the movement/position conditioning.

    Once you understand technique and are capable of doing it effectively, sparring should be every session to keep yourself from crystalizing into a robot.

    Your milage might vary.
     
  12. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    I'm with this, if you have reach a really good level in you skills, then sparing is a good way of keeping them sharp, if your at the beginning of your journey then it will be counter productive as the require moment patterns are not there and you will learn your own patterns. That how most people learn to fight, but then they are not learning a specific ma
     
  13. MrRazot

    MrRazot Yellow Belt

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    Oh I agree,
    Styles are built up of principals and the fastest way to learn something is to exercise that principal. If you can master a principal, you know a thousand techniques and sparring is great for discovering that.
    However, if all you do is spar, you can miss out on a lot of things that you wouldn't have noticed. I believe that there does have to be someone with experience stopping you and showing you the right way to do it.

    When I learnt how to do Ikkajo, I could definitely pull it off on someone and have them trapped. However when I was sparring with someone outside of the dojo and I tried it on them, they managed to get out of it with ease and I had no idea how! Turns out that I was putting the wrong leg forward and while it worked, it created the perfect opportunity for someone to grab and take control of the situation.

    Yes I learnt that lesson from sparing, but not with my life on the line. If I'd used it in a combat situation with someone who knew what they were doing, I would have been screwed.

    Sparring is great, but you can't learn everything from it.
     
  14. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    Do it as often as your sensei feels is correct.
     
  15. JR 137

    JR 137 Grandmaster

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    It's a rare occasion if we don't spar. I'd say we spar in about 90% of our classes (that doesn't mean 90% of the class is sparring).

    Sometimes we spar with very light contact and no protective gear. Most often we spar with medium contact with gear on. When we go that route, the level of contact depends on who you're sparring with - there's a handful of guys who I'll spar pretty hard with because we have a mutual trust/understanding.

    If sparring isn't focused on accomplishing a goal, then it's easy to spar too much. If the contact is too hard, then it's easy to spar too much. If you're working on specific things and your body can easily recover from the level of contact (hitting hard enough to have to block, but not so hard that you're constantly injured), then that line where it becomes too much gets pushed a lot further back.

    We spar just about every class. Most times it's about 5 or 6 two minute rounds. Some classes we've spent 45 minutes sparring, but those are more rare than anything else.

    My previous dojo had Friday night sparring class - all sparring for an hour and a half. I miss those. They built character.

    Edit: Too much vs not enough also depends on the feedback given from the instructor. Just telling students when to start, stop, and who to pair off with doesn't do much good. Pointing out mistakes and how to correct them, and communicating better strategies makes a night and day difference in the effectiveness of sparring sessions.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2017
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  16. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    A short and general answer would be. Too little sparring is when you lose the comfort of having someone attack you. Too much is when you are spending a great deal of time healing as a result of sparring. There will be variations to this because there are different types of sparring that can be done an not all of sparring is focused on competitive fighting or self-defense fighting.
     
  17. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    This is a good list. I know some people spar without understanding #2 and #4. This usually happens in free sparring where people tend to go off in their own direction even when the purpose and intent has been given.
     
  18. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    My approach is a gradual shift from very little sparring to much more sparring. I think that's nicely vague. :rolleyes:

    Early on, students get a lot of drills, and a bit of the "unknown" input. The latter will be mostly in the form of single "attacks", where they don't know which attack is coming. There is a little sparring, pretty light at this stage. Maybe 10-25% (at most) of their time is "unknown" input.

    Later, I would graduate them to more "unknown" input. This would be more single "attacks" (in more varieties, with more vigor and violence), plus more sparring, with harder contact. Maybe as much as more than half their time at this point would be "unknown" input in many classes.
     
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  19. marques

    marques Master Black Belt

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    Nothing is too little, unless you are a complete beginner and/or unwilling to do. Too much is when you are not motivated to spar and your technique is degrading due to using it too much in a chaotic environment. Just to make it look simple. :) But, in my opinion, essentially it depends on what you want to get from sparring.
     
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  20. Ironbear24

    Ironbear24 Senior Master

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    I have found that drills are more important than sparring. Sparring should be done of course but you can only do it so it so often due to injuries and potential brain damage.123
     
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