I hate sparring. I love sparring.

Discussion in 'Aikido' started by AngryHobbit, Dec 18, 2017.

  1. AngryHobbit

    AngryHobbit Black Belt

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    Noooo! I'll pout and cry! I am so fragile and delicate - you can't do this to me! :(
     
  2. AngryHobbit

    AngryHobbit Black Belt

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    Definitely a good point. Of course, the other side of it is - I can no longer watch movie fights with even a suggestion of suspension of disbelief. I know those preposterous 15-minute choreographed pounding sessions are total BS. Like anyone has time for that... :)

    Of course... I'll still watch Lara Croft beat up a dozen guys while jumping off a chandelier.
     
  3. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    I'd argue you're getting the benefit she's talking about from your matches. Those are sparring, too. Feedback from your first fight fed into the next, and so on.
     
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  4. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    Agreed. When I started my program, I decided sparring needed to be part of it - it was a rare part of my Aikido training over the years. But I didn't want folks just blundering in. So I've progressed folks through drills to get them there. With sporadic attendance and a small program, it's taken me longer to get everyone to where some actual sparring happens. That's food for thought for me - I don't think it should take that long, so I've been making adjustments to how and what I teach, including the sequence, to get there earlier.
     
  5. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    I agree with the principle, though sparring isn't always win-lose. I see sparring as including two things. One is almost like a drill, except there's not the rigid framework of a drill. That version isn't win-lose, but is about working on specific skills (like when I decide I'll just be defending, or if I tell a student they're only allowed to use round attacks). The other is about skill testing, and in that case we should be trying to win, because that's the only way you can fail, and failing is necessary input.
     
  6. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    I've also seen folks who struggled with the basics, not quite understanding the point of some of them, until things got more "live" for them (resisted training and sparring).
     
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  7. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    I think sparring is more necessary (and more directly applicable) to striking. The movements and attacks in sparring are (at least part of the time) reasonably close to what will happen when someone tries to punch you on the street. That's not so true with grappling. What two Judoka do against each other in sparring/randori isn't going to bear much resemblance to any likely attack on the street. To get that for grappling, you have to manufacture drills that approximate those attacks, so you can practice those mechanics. I still think the resisted training has value on that side, but the direct application of sparring is less clear.
     
  8. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    This is where I hope to lead them, as well - the part about controlling by being able to change games and distance, though each individual will have their own preferences for how to do that. Any art/system that combines striking and grappling has this option. Because I'm not solely a striker, I don't need to get into striking range - I can move across it to grappling range. And because I'm not solely a grappler, I don't have to get to grappling range - I can hang out in striking power zones if I want.
     
  9. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    Absolutely. Somehow I forgot to add I’ve seen people look horrible during kihon and kata, then tear it up during sparring while actually using the art’s techniques.

    Case in point - during line drills, my roundhouse kick sucks. I struggle to get it to waist height, I don’t pivot my plant foot enough, I over-turn my body, and I either lean too far back or am standing too upright. During sparring I can kick people about my height in the head, and I don’t have any of the other issues. It actually looks more textbook during sparring than it does when I’m trying to make it textbook during kihon. I think I’m overthinking it during kihon and just letting it fly when I’ve got the opportunity during sparring.

    That’s the exception though. I’m far better during kihon with everything else.
     
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  10. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    sparring is about learning. Competitive sparring is about winning and loosing. I've done both. Sparring to learn is about learning how to use the techniques that you train. You'll either get it right or you'll get it wrong. When you get it right it's validation that you understand the technique or understand one application of it. When you get it wrong, it means you need to go back and figure it out. I take kung fu so I'm not limited to just basic kicking and punching. I have a deck of crazy techniques to figure out and there's no way to figure it out if I'm focused on winning or losing.

    When I focus on winning or losing then I won't take the risks that I need to learn because those risk will have a high failure rate during the learning process. For me not trying to win during sparring isn't big deal. There's no ego to protect because I understand that I'm learning. For me I see it the opposite way. People try to win when they should be learning because of their ego. They don't want to "look bad" so they focus on winning and not focus on trying to learn techniques.

    No one hops on a bicycle for the first time in their lives and think "I'm going to win." They hop it understanding that they first have learn how to ride the bicycle and they understand that they will fail before they get good. I see sparring in a similar light.
     
  11. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    That was in response to kempodisciple’s post saying he didn’t know whether to rate my post funny or agree.

    Which way should I go with yours; agree so you can be happy, or disagree so I can give your pride the death blow?

    I’m still assessing my overall mood today, so I’ll have to get back to you on that :)
     
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  12. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    My thoughts exactly. Then again, you could look at working a technique and making it work regardless of the outcome of everything else during that session as a win. So I guess by that definition, I’m trying to win every time.
     
  13. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    I see this happen a lot with kung fu. Ones level of understanding using a technique in sparring tends to bleed into the form when doing the form.
     
  14. AngryHobbit

    AngryHobbit Black Belt

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    Somewhere, gpseymour is rolling over laughing at the idea of my being delicate and fragile. Based on the smiley face I hope you realized I was being silly. :)
     
  15. AngryHobbit

    AngryHobbit Black Belt

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    A slightly different take on this for me. I am not a great striker. I am an atrocious kicker - I have a skeletal defect that makes high kicks excruciatingly painful for me, which sort of defeats the purpose - they aren't supposed to be more painful to me than to my opponent. ;-) So, I also look terrible in drills - just for a different reason. But in sparring, I feel more at ease exploring what I can do within my limitations, or despite them. Sure, cracking someone on the shin doesn't look as impressive as kicking someone in the head (I am in awe of people who can do really high kicks), but it's effective. It's still an "ow" for the opponent. It's still a point to me. It's still a sneak past someone's defenses. It helps me realize I too can be formidable in my own way.
     
  16. AngryHobbit

    AngryHobbit Black Belt

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    Oh, I switched instructors some time ago. The last two years, I've worked with the one who encourages sparring and works it into the overall training very well.

    My old instructor was good - in his own way. But I think he was overly attached to tradition, form, and more staged, static training. He taught me a lot, and I am grateful. But I do like the change.
     
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  17. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    What are you talking about, my delicate flower?
     
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  18. AngryHobbit

    AngryHobbit Black Belt

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    That's delicate FEMININE flower. And don't you forget it.

    [​IMG]
     
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  19. marques

    marques 2nd Black Belt

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    It depends what do we want from sparring. For me, ‘everyday sparring’ has goals other than beating my opponent.

    What if my opponent is weaker than me? I will try to ‘beat him’ with hands down, or using only the technique of the day, or setting up for the technique of the day... and probably I will get more hits than deliver. But I learn in the process (ideally).
    What if he is stronger than me? I will just try to avoid his strengths, priority on defence, learn their tricks...

    Sparring for winning is only a light contact (or more controlled) fight. It is fun when the opponents have similar skill (and weight), which is hard to have in most of gyms... Competing (sparring for winning) when levels are miles apart is just weird, IMO.
     
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  20. AngryHobbit

    AngryHobbit Black Belt

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    I found during most of my sparring I am not fighting my opponent as much as I am fighting myself. All jokes aside, I am actually a very non-violent person. So, making a decision to actually hit someone, even as part of an exercise, is always a tough one for me. I understand it is important and necessary. One of my instructors used to say, "When you practice self-defense, you have to determine where your limit lies. What are you willing to do to protect yourself, your loved ones, or even a total stranger?" Having had some experience with real-life assaults, I know my adrenaline gets me where I need to be, but pounding someone in a training situation is still hard.
     

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