Sparring...what is it and is it worth doing?

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by Tez3, Jan 11, 2012.

  1. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    I'd asked for proof from him on another thread when he made the same claim, I wanted to know the name of the fighter, who he fought and where. I pointed out that asking for proof may sound cynical but matchmaking can be a cynical business, I do know fighters who's coaches have found them matches they were bound to win, it's been going on in boxing for years.

    To ask me to take some of the lads out of training to try the no spar thing is frankly ridiculous, if that system worked we'd have all been doing it years ago, like the no touch KO thing, it that worked we'd all be doing it. All the top pro fighters in all the countries that have MMA are always looking for something to give them an edge, if this was choreographed sparring then they would have been on it like fleas on a dog, but they aren't. Every fighter I've know spars, every boxer spars, every Mt fighter spars. If there was a better way to train they'd be doing it that they aren't if proof what they are doing works.
    In martial arts to varying rules and restraints just about everyone spars, not to means you aren't doing martial arts.


    LOL at the bums rush..it is more technical than that with feet in the right place etc, it should be done properly with the head close to the side of your opponents body at about hip height...to avoid being choked, it should be done while your opponent is coming towards you to save you being dumped on the floor as he goes backwards and it should be done quickly because of the danger not so much of being struck on the spine but from eating a knee.

    As everyone is saying, sparring isn't be all and end all of training but it's a very useful tool without which you are missing something vital from your training.
     
  2. Cyriacus

    Cyriacus Senior Master

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    Sparring is great for practicing sustained striking against a sustained striker to practice keeping up sustained striking.
    Its also good for Training Aggression, and reactive Defense.

    Unlike Drills, Sparring constantly changes who has the initiative, and exactly whats happening. I feel it teaches You to react better to unpredictability. Optionally, it can be used to learn to fight by fighting.

    This is also highly subjective to the System. Some Arts will suffer for Sparring, others will flourish.
     
  3. Buka

    Buka Sr. Grandmaster

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    If you are training in a dojo and not sparring, ask for your money back. If you are training in a dojo and not sparring, God help you. If this becomes a trend, God help us all.
     
  4. Big Don

    Big Don Sr. Grandmaster

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    Amen Brother
     
  5. jedtx88

    jedtx88 Yellow Belt

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    Hmm... Sparring. Sparring is the second best way to improve your fighting skills. The first being to go out and find yourself a fight, but that is also the best way to improve your skills at douchebaggery. So while it may be better in a way to run around fighting random folks I would rather spar full contact and not worry about being stabbed.
     
  6. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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    Jason,

    I'm going to be as respectful as possible with my replies. I hope that you can answer the following for me. First, I asked this question in the other thread, but never got a reply. Could you clarify this please?
    http://www.martialtalk.com/forum/sh...-open-sparring-sessions&p=1452570#post1452570

    Now for the quoted posts.



    Do you ever, at any point in your training, do unscripted sparring? I can agree that scripted is good...in the beginning, so that the student can learn. Ex: Just like when I talked about the *I* method Matt uses. Technically, I do the same thing you do....I teach the students a scripted reponse to a set attack, and they work on that. But I'm just not seeing how anyone would be any good, if they don't train unscripted. If they're walking to their car at 11pm, and someone comes up to them, they're not going to know who the person is or what they're going to do.



    No, as its been said numerous times, you'll never replicate things 110%, BUT....you will get close. Why? Because time and time again, people simulate combat thru drills. I had the chance to use a FATS machine (Firearms Training Simulator) at the PD. Granted, when I was being 'shot' at, I really wasn't going to die, but its the mindset. It was numerous random scenarios...unscripted scenarios. This is what makes an effective firefighter, LEO, martial artist, etc. Again, to clarify, scripted is good too. I'm not saying its bad. I do it. Ex: With my last Kenpo inst., we'd focus alot on boxing skills. Depending on what the focus of the private lesson was, we'd work on specific things, get in the ring, and I'd work just those things. I knew what he was going to do. We'd isolate specific things. Of course, then we'd also work random things too. Why? Because IMO, without doing that you're never really going to be able to fully test it.

    It only creates a flase sense, IMO, if the student is afraid of losing. Losing is a part of life. I've pulled off disarms against attacks in my Arnis class, yet when we gear up and those sticks are really swinging, half those disarms went out the darn window..lol. I didn't get upset, it was a learning experience. What creates the false sense, is if I never test myself. If I don't then I'll always assume that what I do will work, when in reality, will may not, no matter what art you train or how hard you train. We're not Supermen.

    Anyways, I've said my piece. I look forward to your reply. As I said, I'm posting in a respectful fashion, and I hope I get the same in return.

    Mike
     
  7. jasonbrinn

    jasonbrinn Purple Belt

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    Thanks Mike, I really appreciate the post and your questions.

    I did answer the question but in the flow of things I am sure it got shuffled around so here it is

    Free Sparring (Jason Brinn's definition): Unscripted free flowing sparring between two willing people with a given rule set where no specific technique sequences having been pre-selected and agreed upon (basically what most people consider sparring).

    I really DO NOT utilize sparring at all for training, ever. I actually have a saying I drill into my groups head, "Train to fight don't fight to train." Without people going off on the semantics inherent there I am referring, as my group fully understands, to sparring as a training tool.

    My first art was Kyokushin Karate believe it or not, I like sparring. I get why others like sparring. I understand everyone's points about sparring, it is just after many many years of research and analyzing the data then going back and testing and on and on I have found that it has many more negatives in the building of a combat efficient warrior than positives (IMO - based on my research). I also got a green belt in TSD at one point in my life and we sparred all the time. I have trained boxing and taught at a prominent ISKA Kickboxing school training side-by-side with a couple of World Title holders. I say these things to let people know I come from a sparring world - I have not gone soft or grown scared I have just chosen to follow the path of highest percentage results created by the best suited training processes.

    From your posts it seems like you might be in Law Enforcement...? If that is so then I am sure you are familiar with different "shooting stances" such as; Isosceles, Weaver, Chapman, Bull’s-eye, Point Shooting, etc. Now some departments choose and teach different stances based on the results they have collected and their conclusions about the effectiveness for their department of a specific stance over another. You can probably guess based on the tone of most of my posts that I personally favor Point Shooting in line with my studies and belief in Applegate (also from my personal experiences but you wouldn't know that until now). Well, as you know I'm sure, Point Shooting is good for a certain type of application but it probably "ain't" going to win me any trophies.

    Can sparring be good? As I have said before I know that it can be and that its fun and on and on. However, for my objectives and in my research it is the least favored for "our department's" purposes.

    So, do we ever spar? Not anymore, and not in a long time! We do compete though (some of us). I personally do not compete anymore due to the fact that competing over the years lead me to have to have spinal surgery in 2010 for injuries resulting from such training (note: I had already years before stopped advocating sparring though so the surgery has nothing to do with my views - oh and people reading this and training please for safety's sake respect weight divisions when you train - I banged it out with too many big boys I think). Internally we have a sumo-styled game I developed to learn and train weight distribution and things like that that can only come from a dynamic feel. The other things are MMA events, BJJ sport events, etc.

    In my school the research is done outside of class and brought in to teach after passing several tests and has been proven to work for various body types in line with being based in anatomy, physics and combat psychology, etc. There isn't any WORKING THINGS OUT in training. Students train what is given cause they know we are telling them what works. If a firearms instructor who has shot people and been in "gun battles" tells you to shoot a certain way and to train a certain way then you go with that - until different and better data presents itself or until you develop your own unfortunate personal reality driven understanding.

    In my system we know (believe) what movements form the most practical and replicable defenses. We break those down and make everyone brutally efficient in the components that are entailed then drill obsessively until it is engrained. With other tactics we developed will power and strong mental aggressiveness that has been found to be needed in such scenarios. Training is as "clean" as possible. We know from experience that when the time arrives the student will find all the tools they need to strike when they're needed (experience such as: prison work, bouncing, police work, military operations, MMA, sporting events, etc.).

    Were not throwing chi balls in my basement! lol
     
  8. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    Jason how is what you do different from what we do other than we also do a bit of free sparring?

    You have mentioned several times now your research etc but you give us no indication of this research, I can see no difference from how you train to how anyone else does ther than you don't allow free sparring. You also keep adding 'qualifications' ie training boxers etc.

    If your style of teaching is so successful why aren't the top people in MMA using it? It's hard, to be honest, to take what you say as being genuine because there is no proof whatsoever being posted, no data, no facts nothing other than your opinion.I am cynical, I'm open to being persuaded but there's nothing other than your saying you've researched this and think it works. You tell me to stop our guys sparring for a while and see the difference but why would I do that when what they do now works especially when what you do sounds like what everyone else is doing minus the bit of sparring we do to make sure that what we do works (plus all the other benefits sparring brings).
     
  9. jasonbrinn

    jasonbrinn Purple Belt

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    I appreciate your honesty. I also completely understand your point. Unfortunately, due to events that occurred over an MMA school where I was the head coach and a malicious internet forum full of people hell bent on discarding the truth along with all the subsequent fall out over it I will NOT be releasing any specifics. I know I know - its fine if you don't want to or can't find good reason to believe me - again I understand your points. All I can say is that I am telling you the truth and have no reason to lie. I guess I should just keep silent about things that I am not willing to provide truth over its just I was hoping someone would look past me and test what I was saying instead. I can also say that if you try what I am suggesting then you will find the same results I did and they are much better than average.

    I guess on the conceptual level what I do and advocate isn't different than what you do without the sparring. I do believe the "way" we do it and the specific training we've worked on is different, but conceptually I am sure you are mostly right.

    I too was VERY curious about the points you bring up. I am not so delusional as to think I found something and it is the best and go against the grain without testing it. In an effort to make sure we were not completely in la la land (as far as the MMA goes) we sent a fighter to live and train at Jackson's gym for about 3 months. He actually was there with Jones before he made it big and trained along side him and the rest that were there. I fully expected to find that he would be outclassed and would come back reporting how much we needed to work on. I was VERY surprised when he returned bags in hand after the three month period saying we were doing a lot of the same things and that he did very well at the gym and jumped right him keeping pace with everyone. I thought he would come back with his confidence shattered and decide to live their in AZ and train at Jackson's gym full time (which was the initial plan) but he didn't. He actually came back confident that we were doing a great job and on the right track and he decided he would rather be back at our place and have us house him! Now I am not saying we are on any kind of caliber as Jackson's - far from it - only that our training put out great results to the effect that one of our own could fit in at such a gym so well right from the start.

    So we went on to train this guy for the next year having him fight 4 fights all within a 3 month period between each other, and actually the last two were fought in the same night back to back. He weighed 210 sitting at the bottom of the heavyweight group and is around 5'11". We didn't want to cut him down because we thought seeing such a discrepancy between him and his opponents made for exciting fights and we were confident he would succeed. All of his opponents had previous records and much more experience - he had none before starting to train with us. His first fight was against a 6'4" 250lb kimbo look alike and he gave him his only loss to date. His next fight was against a Marine from a STRONG gym down at Fort Bragg. His last two fights were back to back against BIG boys as well in a school gym were the air conditioner had went out and was scorching hot! He never lost and put on a hell of a show each time (as you can see I am very proud of his hard work and fight). Now, we couldn't make him fight nor can we take credit for his spirit but he does believe our training made the difference for him at that time.

    I'm not looking to change anything or anyone's opinion I am just offering a different approach as a suggestion to try. I don't run an open gym anymore and I am "out of the MA business" altogether. The only thing I do now is consult with teachers about Self Defense as it pertains to using non-lethal methods and running schools as businesses without comprising their passion. I am not selling anything (here anyway - I do sell products but not related to any of these discussions). I am not looking for fanfare my name has been dragged through such a huge gutter that even people here that don't even know me start referencing the attacks of a few biased people as facts or something - my name has been more than ruined.

    Heck the only reason I post on this forum is because I love the MAs so much and did them my whole life that is is just hard to just walk away.

    Take it for what it is worth or simply ignore it. I am not saying it is better than anything only that it seems to offer better results.

    If you do what you have always done you will get what you have always gotten. And just cause your the best now doesn't mean you will be 5 years from now. Just think how well the UFC 1 guys would stand against the caliber of guys today!
     
  10. Never_A_Reflection

    Never_A_Reflection Blue Belt

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    Since I keep seeing this "have them stop sparring and see how they improve" thing so I'm going to actually step into this conversation, even though I have just been watching it up to this point.

    I have done the "stop sparring and keep doing pre-arranged drills" thing (and kata) because of injuries. Currently, I have a fractured foot and index finger. These are not enough to stop me from training, but they do stop me from sparring because I will inevitably aggravate the injuries. Because I have done this in the past for similar injuries, I know what the results are for me and so I will share them now and you can make of them what you will.

    After sparring on a fairly regular basis (one or two nights a week) for several years, then receiving injuries that allow me to continue training all of my partner and solo drills but not sparring for up to two months, I found two major things when I started sparring again: I did not lose my defensive reaction time but I did lose my offensive reaction time. By that, I mean that I was still just easily able to block or evade incoming attacks, but I was not able to counter-attack or find openings nearly as effectively and that left me open to being hit by more counter-attacks than I had before.
     
  11. decepticon

    decepticon Green Belt

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    Piping in with a response from a beginner...

    I want both! I would have loved to have the luxury of some scripted sparring when I was just starting out! However, my instructor starts us out with light contact, unscripted sparring. I was scared to death - afraid I would make a fool of myself, afraid that I would, in my inexperience, accidentally hurt my sparring partner, afraid that I would forget everything I had learned and just stand there empty-headed. And in reality, every single one of these things did happen. My early sparring experiences would have been so much more enjoyable if I could have avoided those things. I do think I would have learned more quickly if I had been in a scripted situation where I knew, at least logically, what to do and when to do it. Then I could have focused more on timing, distance, etc.

    However, I think I would have missed a lot if I remained in the scripted arena. Over time, in our unscripted sparring, I have had to learn more about how to read what is coming in. I have tried various responses and now know what works better for me and under which circumstances. I have had to learn how to get past that initial rush of adrenalin and focus on the business at hand. Much of the sparring we do is with two or more attackers. That adds even more variation and less predictability to the exercise - making the skills learned even more transferrable to an actual fight. I can't imagine how scripted sparring could teach the split second decision making that is the crux of unscripted sparring.

    Certainly, sparring can never take the place of an actual fight. It just isn't practical to expect to provide the experience of truly fearing for your life, of actually trying to disable or kill an opponent. There will always have to be that leap of faith that our training will rise to the surface if those situations occur. But in my inexperienced opinion, unscripted sparring is the next best thing. But scripted sparring may well be an excellent introduction to this activity or a tool to work on specific rough spots.
     
  12. Twin Fist

    Twin Fist Grandmaster

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    when it is for real, you WILL get hit in the head

    the ONLY way to get hit in the head and NOT freak out and freeze is to be USED to getting hit in the head

    the only way to get used to getting hit in the head is to...................GET HIT IN THE HEAD
     
  13. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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    Thanks, and yeah, it probably was just mixed in with the other posts.

    Ok...points taken. One more question for you. I believe you stated that you have trained people for MMA fights. Am I safe to assume that for those people, sparring was done?

    Funny you should mention Kyokushin, as I'm currently training in that. We'll usually spar 1-2 times a week. Its certainly not like any sparring that I've done before...lol. I just view it as a way to learn to deal with a moving, resisting person, other than just doing empty hand Sd. Now, out of curiosity, what do you think of the rolling thats done in BJJ? This is considered their 'sparring'. Do you feel that it hinders what they do? What about a boxer?

    I grew up in a LE family. I worked for the DOC for a short time, however, currently I dispatch for a PD in CT. Many of my good friends, training partners and instructors, have a LE background.

    Ok.

    Isn't it amazing and I find myself saying all the time, that the martial arts are supposed to be good for us, yet look at how many times we get injured...lol. All kidding aside, it sounds like you've had some pretty bad injuries.

    Ok. I'm assuming that each person at some point, has to develop what works for them, no? In other words, what may work for a 6'2 205lb male, will probably vary for a shorter, lighter female.

    Sounds good. :) One more question. In another post, (I think it may've been that other thread) you mentioned that everyone knows whats going on, ie: everyone is on the same page, things're scripted, etc. Am I safe to assume, that at some point in the training, a random, unscripted tech. is worked on?
     
  14. ETinCYQX

    ETinCYQX Master Black Belt

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    IMO you have to spar, unscripted, to learn martial arts. If you're not free sparring you're not training properly.
     
  15. jasonbrinn

    jasonbrinn Purple Belt

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    Not even once. Not a single punch - nothing! He trained the entire time with me without one sparring match - in fact when he went into his first fight he had NEVER in his entire life even been hit by anyone - not a single fight or anything!



    YES - I FULLY believe that rolling is BAD! I coached BJJ for quite a while and for the last 5 years or so kept people from rolling - they all did much better and won...a lot. Boxing to me is slightly different just cause of the rules - now I don't believe sparring helps even for boxing but in boxing you almost have to due to all of the limitations. If I trained someone I still probably wouldn't let them spar even in boxing.


    C4-C5 Spinal fusion. I spent a year in the VA with them trying to figure it out. I actually took a few challenges and sparred a lot during the time before my surgery - I coached an MMA school in a very competitive region and guys would show up each night wanting to spar or roll with me so I had no choice - there was a lot of drama and I wasn't going to let some meathead looking to prove a point hurt any of my students. I would always say after a match that I didn't feel the full power in my right arm and just thought I had a shoulder cuff injury or something. But the pain got MUCH MUCH worse!



    Actually no. If it doesn't work for the smallest and weakest then we don't train it - seriously. We attack the body anatomically so the general nature fills in a lot of gaps for us.



    NEVER. At least not on purpose. When we train I have developed it so that the students don't even have to touch each other so it is pretty hard to do anyway. The only time something flies in is during the sumo-styled matches we do - in the moment things happen when you are doing dynamic partner drilling but nothing is EVER planned as unscripted.
     
  16. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    This is the internet, obviously, I have no way of knowing who you are, where you train, who you've trained with. I don't know who or what Jacksons gym is or who Jones may be so it means little or nothing I'm afraid. that's negative I know but there's nothing in your posts to convince me that you do MMA even other than my willingness to believe what is on here.
     
  17. Cyriacus

    Cyriacus Senior Master

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    @jasonbrinn

    UFC 1 Guys fought practically bare knuckle, and there were less Rules. And many Strikes hadnt been illegalised yet.




    Notice how the Bouts are alot shorter than most Modern Bouts?
    Theres also a whole lot more continuous Striking. This was before it was all about Combinations, and shooting for Takedowns. If anything, They probably changed the way it went so that those Styles of Fighting were less commonplace. The UFC is an entertainment competition outlet. People would tire quickly of seeing how someone got beaten down 'this time'.

    Theyd hold their own just fine.
    Everything has to evolve, but that does not mean it has to evolve away from itself.
    You are free to have your standpoint, but ruling out Methods such as Sparring and Rolling is impractical. Not doing them personally? Sure. But what doesnt work for You, might work wonders for someone else.
    I recall when I first went to a Boxing Gym. Punch a bag for two hours. Come back two days later. Spar for 2 hours. The improvement was exponentially noticeable.
    You can achieve similar improvements doing drills, but without Pressure Training, I do not believe You can reach Your full potential.
    I am able to accept that You Train differently to that; But that doesnt make it the only effective way to Train.
    Football causes People to be fit. Not because of the Exercise, but because blunt trauma to the Bones strengthens them. The risk of injury is there, but the Fitness combined with the regulatory impacts strengthens the practitioner. And as Twin Fist said - Practice to get hit in the head by being hit in the head. And so on and so forth.

    EDIT: We sometimes get Students whove done Self Defense Classes. They tend to try and be too "Someone does this so Ill do this"; When one of us interrupts their predefined response, They dont know what to do. Sparring can easily fix this.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 24, 2014
  18. jasonbrinn

    jasonbrinn Purple Belt

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    Greg Jackson's Gym
    Jon "Bones" Jones

    He trained with them - wasn't coached or taught by them.

    Everyone's entitled to their opinions but that doesn't mean they will necessarily be insightful or correct.

    The two fights back to back were the "sanctioned" events parameters not ours.

    MMA is all about the show sir. The promoters are looking to create exciting fights. Plus when you know you're better trained than it isn't that much of a concern.
     
  19. ETinCYQX

    ETinCYQX Master Black Belt

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    I really don't get how people expect to train without sparring. You can't really be effective if you don't spar.
     
  20. Never_A_Reflection

    Never_A_Reflection Blue Belt

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    I have a question regarding this, if you would be so kind as to answer it. You have said, several times, that training scripted drills without any sparring makes you a better fighter according to the research you have done. How did you test that? The MMA fighter that you mention is obvious, but you have mentioned that you do it for everyone so I would like to know how you have tested this theory. Thanks!123
     

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