sparring

Discussion in 'Ninjutsu' started by samuelpont, Feb 2, 2005.

  1. heretic888

    heretic888 Senior Master

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    Yeah, but here's the kicker...

    Sparring ain't the real thing. Not even close.

    Sparring is analogous to going into flight simulator and telling everyone you have real-life experience being a fighter pilot. Or, going into an anti-terrorism training camp for survival classes, and claiming you have "tested" your survival skills in "real life".

    This is the overarching problem I see so often in those that are really, really, really worried about sparring (as opposed to those who use it in a limited fashion as a sometimes useful training tool) --- they seem to think its the "real thing", and develop this sort of competitive attitude about "beating the other guy", about "being the best".

    In other words, it becomes an ego thing. Bad, bad idea to take to the street.

    The only way to "test" your skills in real life is to go out and pick fights with the wrong people. Not particularly intelligent if you ask me, but its the only way to know for sure. Sparring is training, its not the real thing.

    Laterz.
     
  2. samuelpont

    samuelpont Guest

    again your missing the point it helps carry you through the exhaustion, and can be the closest thing your going to get to it. if your practising full contact with thumb on eye simulating eye gouging etc much like our animal day in england. i`m not saying its the be all and end all but its an essential learning tool, and not only that it develops proper functional strength that can give you the edge in many a conflict.
     
  3. samuelpont

    samuelpont Guest

    one other point I have worked with many matial artists over the years on the front doors of night clubs and there is a trend to who is actually able to effectively defend themselves, and the vast majority are those who practise full contact in some form or another. I`ve seen so many people so illusioned with their mystical art and when it comes to practise they fall down with a bump. The art is always only as good as the practioner, but those such as boxers judoka and those in the field of mma seem to always come out ontop whilst i`ve seen many a karate ninjitsu and kung fu practioner been shocked when the opponent didn`t behave like he did in the dojo. Sparring aslo helps you to fight through pain, many a time in the training gym i`ve been tossed on my back and pounded in the face. The first time I went to jelly and was unable to defend myself however with practise I learned to keep my mind and apply technique and escapes. this is invaluable. Especially when in many schools the concept of fighting through pain and keeping your head is a foreign one, sorry guys meditation and practising technique just doesn`t do it.
     
  4. samuelpont

    samuelpont Guest

    I'm sure I'm not the only person here who has had it verified by others that their taijutsu skills came into use during real life situations?[/QUOTE]
    so you`ve got no first hand experience then
     
  5. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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    I think that there is some confusion here. There is a big difference between sparring and actually doing your techs. in the street or in a life/death situation. While sparring does help with conditioning, it will not give you that street fight feeling due to the limitations.

    It has been stated many times by numerous people on this forum that BBT has in fact helped many people out in real life situations.

    Mike
     
  6. Cryozombie

    Cryozombie Grandmaster

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    Thanks Mike, I concur.
     
  7. KyleShort

    KyleShort Green Belt

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    Samuelpont,

    I whole heartedly agree with you.

    All,

    If sparring is analgous to learning from a flight simulator then training with out sparring is analagous to learning from a book. At least in sparring you have an opportunity to apply your skills dynamically.

    Fighting, combat, etc...it's all semantics and not worth arguing. I think we all undertsand the intent here...

    You will perform how you train, that is true. And yes if judoka only ever expose themselves to randori they will not have a lot of experience with punching and kicking. So what then...if BBT practitioners only expose themselves to stop action scenario training they will only ever peform at that level?

    Speaking of bad habits...if sparring teaches bad habits, so does the opposite. You can easily become habitualized to not handle the stress and adrenaline of a live confrontation. Similarly, you can easily become accustomed the compliant uke and the ideal situation for technique execution. How man times have you tried a ganseki nage against a raging drunk, or a take ori against someone flailing a beer bottle at you? I have and let me tell you, it was WAY different than in the dojo.

    The fact is I did experience elements of free sparring in BBT, and it was great. Generally speaking though it did lack the ammount of dynamic, resistant opponent training that I think is important to MY training. I am not saying that one form of training is superior to another. You need to employ both as they both have their benefits and drawbacks. To willingly ignore this facet of training is to limit yourself.

    I also agree that those who have regular exposure to continuous controlled or free sparring (not point...more like randori, boxing, chi sao etc.) tend to fair better in live confrontations. That has been my life experience and certainly most bouncers etc. would confirm that.
     
  8. KyleShort

    KyleShort Green Belt

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    Just caught the comments about pain.

    I also agree with this. Self defense in a viloent confrontation is all about dammage control. You will get hit, cut, slapped, hair pulled etc. Someone who exposes themselves to that regularly will have a mind that is better conditioned to handle that. That having been said, I encountered plenty of pain in BBT training. However, it was under known conditions and the pain was expected (joint locks, pinching, nerve tapping etc.) so the element of surprise, fear and adrenaline was removed from the equation.

    The first time I sparred full contact with sticks my whole perspective changed. I knew how to take pain, but when it happened instantly, and when I least expected it I was shocked! Additionally, my opponent did not stop attacking and I had to gather myself and continue defending my body from harm. Experience that enough and your dammage control becomes much better...not only do you protect yourself better, but you also are able to move through the pain and injury and continue offense/defense.

    The first heavy shot I took to my unprotected groin dropped me to the ground instantly, but it was psychological. Groin pain usually takes several seconds to register, plus a person can take a lot of pain before their body physically gives out...the mind almost always quits first. I have never been dropped from a groin shot since, even though they hurt just as much =)

    Needless to say, I now wear a cup whenever I can remember =)
     
  9. Shizen Shigoku

    Shizen Shigoku Purple Belt

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    I haven't seen enough data to know which method (sparring or no sparring) is best for everone, but in my own personal experience, I believe that you fight (or defend yourself, however you want to call it) how you train.

    I don't train with sparring, resisting opponents, or adrenaline stress. And you know what? In the real fights I have been in recently, I was calm and light-hearted (just like in the dojo). My opponents were trying to fight me, but I wasn't fighting back as if we were sparring - I was controlling them with proper technique (just like in the dojo).

    There was no resistance, because I didn't give them anything to resist against. Instead of reacting like I would in a fight/spar scenario (getting excited, trying to beat the other person, etc.), I reacted the same way that I do in the dojo: calmly, fluidly, and laughing at my opponents' frustration.

    I think the experience I have gained from a handful of real encounters has taught me much more than weekly sparring sessions could.

    Before I trained in the Bujinkan method, I trained in other styles that taught how to fight. I got attacked for real once and managed to block a lot of strikes and deliver a lot of my own, and get a throw of opportunity in, but I wasn't effectively defending myself - I was fighting, and I took a lot of damage by the time it was over.

    I know personal anecdotes don't count for much, but when it comes to my own training, I trust the results I have personally experienced.


    " . . . it is the song that never ends . . ."
     
  10. Grey Eyed Bandit

    Grey Eyed Bandit Master of Arts

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    And this is exactly the premises of a give-and-take situation!!! Two people just itching to find out who's the better fighter!!

    You have yet to say a word about the strategy of knocking down the guy/distracting him for long a period of time that you can run away, instead of staying there and beating him. That's the difference between a fight and a self defense situation.

    As I've said before, sparring tends to make people confuse their backyard pool with the ocean.

    Not what I said. Anyhow, that's not something I'd like to discuss here.

    Neither does trying to judge the effectiveness of budo taijutsu with a level of experience with the system and its practitioners and training methods as minimal as yours.
     
  11. Grey Eyed Bandit

    Grey Eyed Bandit Master of Arts

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    No, we do not! Fighting is symmetrical, self defense situations are assymetrical.

    You can be familiarized with that through other ways than full contact sparring.

    The former - no, the latter, yes, and with good results. Only it wasn't me he was swinging it at.

    Not necessarily. Check out my thread "where do we draw the line?". People are unpredictable even in regular training.
     
  12. KyleShort

    KyleShort Green Belt

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    Nimravus I disagree...that is how you define fighting...it is just a word and no generally accepted meaning can really be applied to it. I might choose the term fighting to describe a life and death struggle with blades, or I might call it the "dance of steel"...it does not matter. What is important is to recognize the intention. I do believe that he meant fighting as in defending oneself.

    See the thing is I was not talking about your experience or anyone else in the bujinkan...I was only talking about my own in that instance. Ie. "not necessarily cannot apply because I am telling you that it is exactly how my training was =)

    If you have other ways of training the attributes that sparring develops (note that I do not ONLY mean full contact) then bravo! At least we recognize the need to develop those attributes.

    Personally I think that sparring is the best way to develop certain attributes that I have already mentioned...outside of real combat of course.
     
  13. KyleShort

    KyleShort Green Belt

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    On the contrary Shizen, I think that personal anecdotes are where the gold is! No one can tell you something that you already know better for yourself.

    Also I think that what you learn from actual (real) combat experience is sometimes better than anything else...fortunately most are not morally flexible enough to "train" by picking fights on the street, but learning from the times that you are forced to fight is GREAT.

    Oops, I used the term "fight" to denote a self defense situation =)
     
  14. Grey Eyed Bandit

    Grey Eyed Bandit Master of Arts

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    I'd like to quote mr Marc Animal MacYoung on the subject, because I feel his descriptions of the concepts reflect my own opinions the most.


    "In many ways a duel is a ritualized fight. Much in the same way that the sports of boxing, ring sparring, sumo, grappling and muay Thai are ritualized and controlled aspects of fighting. A duel, however, is not self-defense, any more that self-defense is fighting, or that a fight is combat. This failure to differentiate between topics, while a bonanza for sleaze bucket instructors, is pure marketing. Odds are against what you are being taught saving your *** against a dedicated attacker. And if you use it on a non-dedicated attacker, then your *** is going to be getting a lot of action in the prison showers.
    But let's look at some of the salient points that dueling, fighting and sports contests share. First of all, what they all have in common is choice. By definition, with all of them you choose to be there. And that is an incredibly important point, because by this choice, you approach the event with a different mindset. One that is prepared to engage. Yes, you mentally psyche yourself up

    Second in all of them you have the ability to withdraw before the contest.

    Third, you are facing a similarly equipped, trained and/or hostile person. In short, it is theoretically a level playing field.

    Fourth, they all have rules. If you object to applying that concept to a "fight" then you better go out and do some reading on A) legal issues B) social hierarchy process and C) human aggression. Fighting is a social process to achieve dominance and/or a means of acquisition. Whereas a duel, might encompass those elements, but it also includes issues as pride, honor and revenge.

    So in light of these, let's look at dueling. A duel, as a fight, means you choose to be there. This includes the fact that you had the chance to withdraw, usually by means of a public apology and a change in your behavior. If you choose not to, then you are willingly and consensually engaging in conflict against an equally equipped opponent.

    Quite simply, dueling is about pride, revenge and your perceptions of face/honor. In short, it is about maintaining your social position/self-esteem... not about staying alive. Another way of putting it is it is about what you want, not what you need in order to survive. And quite often duels resulted because both parties were being *******s. That same motivation as with less formalized and spontaneous fighting.


    Not to put too fine of a point on it, but someone who intends to kill you by any means possible is going to attack differently than someone who is concerned about the damage you can do to him because you are similarly equipped. There is an world of differences in strategies.


    In case you missed the significance, let me repeat that in clear, concise terms: You attack and defend differently against an equally armed, equally prepared and equally skilled opponent than you do when you are trying to murder someone before they can defend themselves.

    This is why I say that an overwhelming majority of the training and drills that is done in Americanized martial arts is training for the duel. It is EXACTLY what you need to do and train for when you opponent is equally armed. And for those exact circumstances it is pretty damned effective(5). It is for when you and your opponent are both very concerned about the damage that each the other can inflict, but not concerned enough to withdraw.

    It is not like combat where you need to kill him quick and move on. It's not like self-defense where getting away safely is your only goal. No, it is more punitive in nature. It means you are going to stay there and engage, possibly kill him, for other reasons than personal safety. Usually, among hot heads, that is pride, anger or revenge for perceived insults or wrongs.

    DO NOT underestimate or dismiss the influence that this punitive aspect has on the strategies and tactics employed in real life and how it influences your training. In most cases, conflict is personal. It is very much about punishment, torture and dominance A duelist and/or fighter wants the person to know who is punishing him; who is doing this to him. It is all about "winning" and he will stay and engage in order to let you know that he won.

    Whereas a professional doesn't care about you knowing that he has won. What matters is the job is done. This comes in many forms: maybe he shoots you from a distance, maybe he steps out of the shadows with a shotgun and shoots you in the back without saying anything, maybe he hires someone else to kill you or, in the case of the criminal, without warning, you're down and out and he has your money. Whether he busted you over the back of the head with a tire iron or just walked up and shot you, it is the both the ferocity and unexpectedness of the attack that makes it effective.

    The absolute last thing any of these are interested in is fighting you. And that mindset is going to drastically effect how such a person attacks. Up to and including, striking with full lethal force, before you have a chance to defend yourself. Sadly enough, this same attitude is common among bullies and violent people. They don't want to fight you, they don't want to fight at all, they just want to attack you and get their way. In this case their attack strategy is very much about torture, punishment and dominance, but without the cost of a fight. And to get it, he will attack in many of the same unexpected ways as a professional. This is the non-dueling/fighting mindset. And it is far more common among those who use violence to get what they want than the dueling mindset. Unlike the conditions of dueling, he doesn't want you to be his equal. Therefore odds are he will attack, and attempt to overwhelm you before you have a chance to deploy your weapon and duel with him. Like a duelist, he fears and respects your weapons. Unlike a duelist, his answer instead of fighting accordingly, he's going to do his best to make sure you never get a chance to fight back."


    "Simply stated if you are fighting you are part of the problem. Fighting implies that you are not only part of the conflict, but that you assisted in its creation and escalation. This is what we meant when we said your pre-conflict behavior will be carefully reviewed. If you, in any way, were a) instrumental in the creation of the problem that lead to the physical violence, (e.g. if you were threatening him, insulting him or arguing with him), b) continued to attack after he was obviously losing and/or had broken off his offensive actions or c) instead of attempting to escape you stayed there and fought to "win" you are fighting, you are not defending yourself. Straight up, police arrest both combatants of a fight... no matter who started it.
    We address the difference between fighting and self-defense more fully elsewhere. In this section we would like to address another critical difference. A difference that is by and large why experienced fighters so often speak of the martial arts failing in "real fights" And that is the difference between assaultive behavior and a fight.

    Unfortunately, when most martial artists dream of fighting, what they are picturing is assaultive behavior. A situation where you charge in and immediately overwhelm your opponent with a flurry of kicks and blows is not a fight, it is far, far closer to the legal definition of assault and battery. Putting it bluntly, charging in and beating the hell out of someone before they can defend themselves is a pretty reliable strategy. That is why it is so commonly used by aggressors.

    It is not, however, a fight. If you have seen this strategy, you were not witnessing a fight, what you saw is legally deemed an assault.

    Legal issues aside there is another critical component. With an assault you have the confidence of success because you are initiating the violence. In other words, you are pretty safe because you are launching the attacks and by immediately overwhelming your opponent you pretty well assure your safety. As such, even though there is an adrenalin dump and excitement, you're not overly concerned with your personal safety.

    Not so in an actual fight. A "fight" is a knock down, drag out, tooth and nail conflict with someone who is just as tough -- if not tougher -- than yourself. And that somebody is as dedicated to getting a piece out of you as you are dedicated to getting him. And that means the only thing keeping from doing unto you before you do unto him is you and your fighting skills. Here's a hint, how to tell if you're in a fight, you fire your best shot and he shakes it off and charges in firing back.

    When you find yourself in a fight, all the confidence of an assault goes out the window. You now have to deal with the fear of getting your *** kicked. And putting it mildly, this can result in performance anxiety, especially when you find your defensive moves crumbling before his attacks. Now you have the extra stress of making him go down before you do.

    This happens even in empty handed slug-fests where the fighters are not trying to kill each other, but rather establish dominance, punish one another for misconduct, ego-preservation, revenge, seeking a "prize" or any of the other sociological/psychological reasons people fight. If you aren't scared of damage being inflicted on you, you aren't in a fight, you're assaulting someone.

    Let me tell you, you know you've done treed yourself a bad one when he takes your best shot, his head whips back and glares at you for a split second before launching himself back at you. When that happens you know you're in a fight and it is a bad, bad sinking feeling. 'Cause win, lose or draw, you know this one is gonna hurt..."
     
  15. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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    You're quite welcome!

    Mike
     
  16. KyleShort

    KyleShort Green Belt

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    I don't disagree with "the Animal", but still it is not relevant to the discussion. I was talking about the use of the word "fight" to conote a specific something...and how one could choose, because we often do, to be selective in how they use the term. You are talking about a specific application of the word...I have no problem with that. I am simply pointing out that it is not the only use of the word.

    Someone could easily say..."I was walking through an ally and I got hit from behind, before I knew it I was on my back and my attacker had sunk his 5 inch blade into my leg for the second time. I managed to FIGHT him off and get away." Does this conote a duel or self defense? Do you see what I mean? It is just a word, I was not arguing your supplied meaning.
     
  17. DWeidman

    DWeidman Blue Belt

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    So... to bring the discussion around full circle then...

    When was the last time you "sparred" with two five inch cuts in your leg and a concussion / skull fracture?

    Do you believe that trading punches with your buddy for a couple mins gets you ready for that?

    -Daniel
     
  18. DWeidman

    DWeidman Blue Belt

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    Also to note:

    Here were the benefits to sparring as described by the thread starter:

    1. test my metal against other opponents
    2. Both parties attempt to impose there will and one wins
    3. greater will to win, heart, strength conditioning
    4. sparring helps develop the will to continue through the exhaustion and mental fatigue to make the likely out come much more favourable
    5. it develops proper functional strength.

    The word Samuel uses over and over again to describe the favorable outcome to the "fight" is "win". He doesn't use the word survive.

    The philosophy and strategy around SURVIVING are significantly different than the strategy around WINNING. There is no bravado or Machismo attached to being a Survivor. There is plenty attached to being a badass - or testing your metal so you can kick ***, etc...

    The funny thing is people get upset that the art is "watered-down" because you aren't taught to stand there like a man and fight fairly.

    Samuel - to put it bluntly - I suspect the forefathers to this art would be rolling over in their graves right now if they knew that someone like you wanted to DUMB-DOWN the art so you could compare the size of your fatty with another drunk bastard outside of a pub. They didn't pass this art along so you could feel like you are the biggest badass on your block... They passed it along to the other guy on your block who poisons you in the middle of the night - and never has to face you "Man to Man"...

    Anyway...

    -Daniel
     
  19. KyleShort

    KyleShort Green Belt

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    Daniel, you took my scenario out of context. Again I was simply speaking to the use of a TERM, having nothing to do with the majority of this thread...the efficacy of sparring as a training method.

    I am no longer going to post about the use of "fight" and other terms because I feel like I am unable to aptly communicate my thoughts via my words. Meh...

    In any case, I was stabbed when I was 14...I have been hit in the head with a baseball bat twice, and have been in many self defense, and bravado duel types of situations during my teenage years...luckily never as an adult.

    Again, I hope that you can see that I never suggested that sparring will train you to deal with multiple stab wounds and skull fratctures.

    I see some serious issues with the list you reposted.

    First winning and surviving, though not the same, can certainly be interdependent. If you are pinned on the ground and an attacker is trying to smother you...are you fighting to win or to survive? I ask because we do train this exact scenario in sparring...are we trainng to win or to survive? Does it matter? In sparring we train to triumph...that can mean winning or survival...all depending upon the mindset that you bring to the sparring match.

    Generally that list is weak because it ASSUMES that one chooses only to train dueling attributes, but that is a matter of choice, not cannon. The fact is sparring does a lot more than that.

    I think the problem here is that a general presumption is being made as to what sparring is...two people squaring off equidistant and then engaging in combat. That is one way, bot not the only way. I like to define sparring as live training against an uncoopertaive opponent. This can mean many things. Considered in this light sparring can:

    1. Build tactile sensitivity (chi sao, tapi tapi, hubud hubud etc.)
    2. Develop a will to survive, to fight with every ounce of your spirit
    3. To drive your attack relentlessly
    4. To understand how moves need to be adjusted dynamically
    5. To understand the danger of certain grips
    6. To experience technique execution under the influence of fear, adrenaline and fatigue
    7. To deal with the totally unexpected
    8. To go to the ground with someone when you did not want to or expect to (ie. you throw and they hold on to you)
    9. To understand what moves just plain do not work

    ...the list goes on. Sparring is not the be all end all, but it is a great (IMO needed) part of regular training that includes drills and scenarios.
     
  20. Grey Eyed Bandit

    Grey Eyed Bandit Master of Arts

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    Someone just dinged me a bad rep point again for quoting too large a text. Well, had the link I put in to Animal's webpage been read, that might not have been necessary.

    True, but not everyone has the ability to differentiate between fighting, combat and self defense.

    1 - comes through regular (Bujinkan) training as well. Don't ask me how, because I honestly don't know.

    2 - good but fails to take into the account that one might be opted to stay behind and fight when escape actually might be an option. As Tim Bathurst said once: "as long as HE does not kill ME, I can come back tomorrow and shoot him or run him over with my 4WD."

    3 - good, but at the same time, this can be practiced by utilizing attacks with genuine intent, a skill that, sadly, is in many places quite lacking in the Bujinkan nowadays.

    4 - see point 1.

    5 - good.

    6 - good, but that's already been given quite a bit of consideration when one looks at the design of many koryu kata.

    7 - is good but fails to take into account that one can easily fool oneself into thinking that the sparring is much less controlled than it actually is.

    8 - good, but if you assume that's going to happen all the time you might neglect practicing your throws correctly to begin with (as Animal would say, things can go south two ways, by him countering and yourself screwing up. The former is much easier to deal with, given that you have sufficient technical expertise).

    9 - is my main reason for skepticism againt sparring. The ONLY thing you know from that is what works in sparring against a training partner who knows who you are and what you're capable of.123
     

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