Jiyu Kumite or Free Sparring

Discussion in 'Karate' started by MatsumuraKarate, Aug 2, 2015.

  1. MatsumuraKarate

    MatsumuraKarate Yellow Belt

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    How many of you practice free sparring and to what emphasis do you put on its value in training?

    My personal philosophy is it is an excellent tool to develop ones techniques and ability to defend themselves under stress. Like everything that is good it must be used in moderation. I feel if too much emphasis is on free sparring as opposed to one or three step sparring/kata bunkai we will develop limitations in the targets we engage if we must defend our self. By balancing the two we can help ensure we do not develop a training scar that could get us hurt.
     
  2. marques

    marques Master Black Belt

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    I love relaxed (free or conditioned) sparring, were you still can think about proper technique, tactics, strategy, objectives.
    Under stress (or for fitness) only from time to time (check up).
    Sparring to win, no way. It is NOT a competition. If it is , it is not sparring. And our monkey side mixes it too often... (The problem is here.)
     
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  3. MatsumuraKarate

    MatsumuraKarate Yellow Belt

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    I agree with no winner or loser. A good teacher will critique both students according to rank. I am somewhat old school in the "prey on the weak" mindset during free sparring. More advanced students should be focused on offense when fighting a less experienced opponent. Its the only way to realistically develop the timing and fluidity needed for attacking. Less experienced fighters should focus on countering and defending against attacks. Now I'm not saying beat on each other, but keeping pressure and stress on your opponent is key for developing good defensive skills. This is the way it will be on the street so we should make the greatest effort to simulate reality on training.
     
  4. marques

    marques Master Black Belt

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    @MatsumuraKarate , I agree with pressure, but not too much stress too often. I agree with everything else you say, generally speaking.
    I can had that the most advanced can also focus on a particular technique* or situation* (or ...). Otherwise it will be boring for the most advanced, an useless for both, if the level is really different.
    *complex in itself or easy to defend due to repetition and expectation.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2015
  5. tshadowchaser

    tshadowchaser Sr. Grandmaster

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    I will agree that one and three step sparing are important to develop techniques that would otherwise severely injure our classmates if we used these techniques in live sparring. attacks on joints eyes, and parts or the neck, spine, and head can not be fully used in live sparring but live sparring helps to develop distance recognition, as well as speed and reflexes.
     
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  6. marques

    marques Master Black Belt

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    I like the 3 step sparring, but not for safety.
    For safety I chose slowness and relaxation (no stress), but always with intention and potential (not just to connect, but capacity to cause damage).
     
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  7. MatsumuraKarate

    MatsumuraKarate Yellow Belt

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    Why not stress? You have to develop your mind to be able to function properly when stressed. I also believe that contact needs to be hard when free sparring or one step sparring. This to me is part of the stress. You must be able to defend yourself and effectively attack an aggressor even while in pain. Without such training the first time a practitioner is struck they will panic and not be able to effectively respond.
     
  8. marques

    marques Master Black Belt

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    @MatsumuraKarate,
    Because brain doesn't learn very well under stress. We (or at least I, but this is scientific) under (more than enough) stress will not learn, just repeat (mistakes often). Under (more than enough) stress it becomes only cardio training (to me).

    By your name I guess you are a karateka, and you train forms and other ways that I don't.
    I only train(ed) 1. the basics, 1.2 a few combinations and 3. diverse sparring. So, when I spar, I'm still analysing, thinking solutions for the next time... If I speed up, it will become automatic (not learning, maybe checking progress). If I stress... it is already other training. That I don't value very much. This is the moment, in face of danger*, where I feel more in peace, because I'm fully in the concentrated in the present and not wondering about fantasies or death. And for the pain... Even if I feel in peace, my body is ready in a cardiac beat for whatever comes due to hormones released... You know, for example if you angry 'nothing' will stop you, but in training a joint lock is already 'deathly'. :)

    Also under (more than enough, that is usually very little) stress, sparring can become 'personal', monkey fight. Almost useless for training purposes.

    *more often driving than facing bad guys, but the feeling is quite the same.
     
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  9. Oldbear343

    Oldbear343 Orange Belt

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    As in all things a balance is needed. Yes, sparring can make MA more real, but unless it is extreme it can never duplicate street conditions, where the assailant knows no rules or Etiquette.

    But sparring can lead to a focus only on fighting, which can take you away from the other self-development aspects of MA.

    This is why a balance of techniques, sparring, and forms (kihon, kumite, kata) is a good thing.
     
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  10. DaveB

    DaveB Master Black Belt

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    While the above cannot be disputed, I do feel that an even balance between the three elements is not the best way to train.

    Kihon and kata are effectively the same thing in that you practice technique with no resistance. I see no reason to separate them and prefer to add techniques into kata sequences, thus expanding coordination, breaking patterns made into habit and exploring the potential of the form.

    Sparring in its various forms should make up the lion share of martial arts training IMO. The arts are nothing if not applied to an opponent. It's their reason to exist and the most challenging part of them. The skills we develop in solo training are there to support this end goal and though important there are many things you simply cannot learn without a partner.

    If people want self development they are better off spending their money on psychotherapy. However, one of the key points that has been forgotten by many is that it is the mental fortitude required to push through fear, to focus on technique in spite of pain and exhaustion and generally the mental abilities born in combat that are the source of MA's rep for self development.
     
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  11. Zero

    Zero Master Black Belt

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    I agree with much you have to say but interestingly, my approach and that of my old goju club was that seniors should use sparring more for defensive and evasive work while partnered with junior or less skilled fighters. I think this is also a very useful approach. My sensei often had me only able to defend with blocks or at times limit my defense only to evasion. I and other seniors would have to spar with juniors where they were the ones attacking, to work on their offensive skills, while we were forced to defend only. This is very good for enhancing your timing and evasion skills.

    OF course we also used the approach of when facing equally ranked or sparring more advanced fighters, this is the time to work on your offense, you soon realise that when you try to hit someone who is skilled you almost always create an opening in which they can counter. Being an effective striker under pressure is a good thing.
     
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  12. Zero

    Zero Master Black Belt

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    I'm kind of with DaveB on this one Oldbear...what other self-development aspects are there? Everything goes to being a better fighter - and that includes being able to act effectively in self defence situations (although many schools never impart SD teachings at all!).

    Kata, sparring, conditioning, it all has one purpose and one purpose only, to become a better fighter, be it in tournaments or on your street with no rules.

    And any mental development such as greater discipline, focus, calm of mind/clarity, confidence, awareness which you may obtain along the way and as a product of your martial training is again only there to serve you better when you are fighting or forced to defend yourself (or avoiding the situation in the first place).
     
  13. Zero

    Zero Master Black Belt

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    Unfortunately you do see this in some dojos - and in my opinion that is not a healthy environment - or what should be the norm. I have been lucky to train in a couple karate clubs where you can up the intensity of the sparring to a very high level and it is never a "monkey fight". When you fight with guys that have proven themselves in the ring or outside, that kind of thing doesn't mean anything to them. Sometimes they get their licks in, sometimes you come out on top. Afterwards you can have a laugh together and shake it off. It's no big deal to lose to another good fighter when sparring.
    In this environment it is not useless for training purposes; it is the level below what is expected of you in a competition fight and is necessary for conditioning. It is also very useful for conditioning you for a street fight or violent altercation.
     
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  14. Jacky Zuki

    Jacky Zuki Yellow Belt

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    I like a bit of free sparring, just going toe to toe and throwing techniques around can be very therapeutic and is good cardio. More often I like to impose limits in order to make it more of a training session, concentrate on kicking or trapping rather than just dancing around throwing rabbit punches. Relaxed sparring without the need to win points is where karate comes alive, it is where you can figure out exactly how techniques work on someone who is actively resisting, something you can't do in drills.
     
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  15. JohnnyEnglish

    JohnnyEnglish Green Belt

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    I prefer full-contact sparring.
     
  16. tshadowchaser

    tshadowchaser Sr. Grandmaster

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    JonnyEnglish would you define your idea of what sparring is and what is allowed in it please.
    At places I study or teach sparring may well be against 1, 2, 3, or 10 people. Kicks to the groin are allowed as well as take downs and attacking those on the ground. You can see where full contact in these places could be a hazard to ones health. We also allow throws and kicks to the nerve centers in the upper thigh and around the calf just above the Achilles tendon ( one miss and good by Achilles if it is full contact)
    Also please tell us why full contact in your opinion is better than the training being talked about by others and how it improves ones knowledge of the arts and the techniques in the arts
     
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  17. Zero

    Zero Master Black Belt

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    Is that the type where it only ever ends in KO?
     
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  18. Zero

    Zero Master Black Belt

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    Groin strikes...nasty!:) As you say, everything has a time and place, from controlled sparring where you can try out all this nasty soft target stuff and the full range of your learning, through to full contact in the club where you are gloved up and it's mouth guards in, cups on and wheezing on the ropes.
     
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  19. JohnnyEnglish

    JohnnyEnglish Green Belt

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    In my place we do not do full contact at all.

    We are allowed to kick the upper leg ( thig ) but only outside even without protectors, we are allowed to kick and punch to the head, but prefered to hit the protectors, we are allowed to kick to the torso. But all is more semi-contact. If you go full-rage on your opponent you get a warning usually. We do not use knees,elbows.

    It's taekwondo ITF style I am doing, but I miss the full-contact days. In my spare time outside the dojang, I usually train fullcontact without any rules.
     
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  20. MatsumuraKarate

    MatsumuraKarate Yellow Belt

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    We progress the level of intensity and targets as the student progresses. 10th-7th kyu are only allowed body contact belt to neck. 6th-4th we add controlled head contact, sweeps, and groin contact. 3rd-Dan ranks takedowns, leg kicks, grappling are added. At 6th kyu we also incorporate bare knuckle Kyokushin style soarring123
     
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