sparring

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

  1. KyleShort

    KyleShort Green Belt

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    Awesome post Nimvarus!

    Sadly I agree that many people dupe themselves into thinking that they are training in one thing, but really training in something completely different.

    1. I agree that regular BBT training builds sensitivity, however in my experience it was mostly sensitivity to long energy and full body motion. there seems to be limited attention paid to short, fast energy like you would encounter in boxing, wing chun etc. What do you think? The opposite is also true which is why I loved moving from WC to BBT, I got solid exposure to both types of sensitivity.

    2. I don't believe that is fails in the way you describe at all. Not all excercises can train all skills. I would never expect live training (sparring) to teach me how to avoid conflict, or walk away from it. That is trained in other ways. Sparring trains for when you are already in it. Why would you even expect sparring to teach the latter? Seems rhetorical and moot? Also note that I do not advocate sparring as your sole means of training.

    3. True enough and in actuality a good heavy bag workout can teach that too...same with scenarios...I am not saying that sparring has this exclusively, just that it is a benefit.

    4. Kinda...if you are saying that regular BBT training includes, spontaneous, un-rehearsed responses against an uncooperative uke then I agree. This was almost never the case in my training. It is the dynamic, uncooperative part the forces both gross & subtle adjustments...because you are adjusting to something that uke does unexpectedly...you just don't get this if you don't expose yourself to it.

    5. -

    6. Also, true enough. You would think that the technique would not be there if it had not been proven to work =) However, that having been said, everyone expresses the arts in their own way and so what may work for some may not work well for others. This is where dynamic application can teach you alot about what the traditional kata mean to you.

    7. Very true! Look at MMA events for example...highly controlled, but they don't like to admit it. Again though, we need to be intelligent about our approach to sparring. What are we trying to gain from it. If you are looking for true "no rules" experience...well you need to become a criminal for that

    Also, the limits can actually be beneficial in ways. In escrima sparring (WEKAF style) you fight weapon to weapon. In doing so your targets are limited to areas that will be effective, but hopefully not land you in prison in a real situation. So sparring can also teach you the right kind of restraint.

    8. Right, assumption being the key. Never assume. This is part of why I advocate sparring, as scenario training tends to do a lot of assuming. Important for skill building, not so good for applied experience. In my Sambo training, when we execute a throw it always works...which is good because I need to know how to do it. When we sparr, it does not always work which is good because I need to learn to adjust it or compensate.

    9. Only true to an extent. First off we always advocate sparring with people you don't know...better experience that way. Second, there are certain things that you learn VERY well through sparring. Example, being hit in the groin will not always double someone over. A boshiken to the ribs may not actually hurt at all etc. etc. You learn to weed out, or modify a lot of stuff because it simply does not work against 200lbs. of raging flesh and bone. This trancends that fact that it is learned through sparing because it is more basic than that. So no, what you learn in sparring is not limited to only sparing applicable techniques.

    Again, that having been said, sparring can teach you bad habits and stuff that would only work in sparring...like sacrificing your head in order to give a shot to the body...bad form! =) You just have to be intelligent about your training.
     
  2. Grey Eyed Bandit

    Grey Eyed Bandit Master of Arts

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    And again...

    1. All about who you train with and for how long. We tend to start out at long range and utilize smaller movements as we progress. Why, just look at Hatsumi sensei...

    2. My point was that it can teach you to be an active, willing participant of a fight. If so, you are part of the problem.

    4. Why do you think Hatsumi sensei is unable to teach a technique exactly the same way over and over again?

    6. To apply the kata, you have to be able to perform them well to begin with.

    7. I'd say we need to be more intelligent about Bujinkan training overall. Secondly, if you're speaking about bio-mechanical cutting, I think it's based on a legal misunderstanding. If it's bad enough to use a bladed weapon, it's bad enough to warrant killing. And if you're involved in a fight with an equally armed and prepared opponent, well...see above.

    8. So you don't think that there is a lot of assuming how a real opponent might behave in sparring training?

    9. The knowledge you speak of is already available in the Bujinkan. "The blood is still on the katana", to paraphrase Mike Inay.
     
  3. Grey Eyed Bandit

    Grey Eyed Bandit Master of Arts

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    You know, if more people said that about Bujinkan training, we might not even have had this discussion.
     
  4. KyleShort

    KyleShort Green Belt

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    Yeah but in my mind, being intelligent about your training includes semi-regular sparring, so I guess we would not have avoided this.

    The whole premise behind my side of this discussion has been that sparring it in fact an intelligent addition to BBT training. Not better than what is already there, but rather that it fills gaps. Of course, I don't think I have convinced anyone that this is true, but that's ok too =)
     
  5. Grey Eyed Bandit

    Grey Eyed Bandit Master of Arts

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    So how do we deal with the issue of techniques that are too dangerous to use in sparring safely? After all, battlefield jujutsu is meant for killing people...
     
  6. KyleShort

    KyleShort Green Belt

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    I have thought about that at length and I believe that "live" training helps with all of your techniques. You don't use them in sparring, but you build up tons of skills that support you when you need to use them.

    But again, sparring is not meant to train you in eye gouging or neck breaking per se, but you will get better at it because of all the support skills...it's all about getting as much experience, in as many different ways as you can.

    How do wind sprints make you a better basketball player? They trains crucial supporting attributes...and does not require you to stop practicing your jump shot at other times too.
     
  7. Grey Eyed Bandit

    Grey Eyed Bandit Master of Arts

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    Ponder a bit what Hatsumi sensei means by "enveloping" your opponent.

    By going faster and adding pressure, you program yourself into a behavioural pattern. If you therefore only rely on your sparring practice, you seriously limit yourself.
     
  8. KyleShort

    KyleShort Green Belt

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    I thought we were getting somewhere Nim =)

    If you look at any of my previous posts you will see that I EXPLICITLY stated that you need to do other training as well and specifically stated many times that one should not only rely on sparring.
     
  9. Grey Eyed Bandit

    Grey Eyed Bandit Master of Arts

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    The bottom line is we're generally not as good as we need to be before using sparring to any large extent.

    One other thing we haven't touched on before is that in real situations, unlike sparring, if you screw up you don't always get many chances to fix it.
     
  10. r erman

    r erman Green Belt

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    I have one extended question. Why did Takamatsu participate, accept, and engage in challenge matches in Japan and while in China? Was it to compare the size of his 'fatty'? Was it to see if he was the baddest *** on the block? Was it to develop bad habits? Was it to fool himself about the efficacy of his technique? Was it for reasons as petty as machismo and ego?
     
  11. Fool Wolf

    Fool Wolf Guest

    r erman brings up a good point. Hatsumi also practiced judo as well as other martial arts. Many of the well known Bujinkan practitioners trained in styles that involved sparring, ran dori, or shiai. I think it is a pretty common characteristic of warriors accross cultures to engage in less than lethal fighting, whether to hone their skill or for some sort of ego gratification, I do not know. Musashi did alot of fighting, not always to the death. I do not believe that his competitive boughts made him less deadly or taught him too many bad habits.

    FW
     
  12. Grey Eyed Bandit

    Grey Eyed Bandit Master of Arts

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    Well...why not? He did after all become a priest when he came back to Japan. He also states in his autobiography that he regrets his youthful recklessness.

    You're not suggesting he would have had the self-confidence to do what he did in China without his extensive training behind him, do you?
    And I REALLY hope you aren't suggesting that the environment Takamatsu lived and fought in, as well as his training experience, is comparable to that of the average kyu ranking student in the western hemisphere nowadays?

    Well, someone did manage to bust up his eardrum and break his elbow.:idunno:
    Also, he had the possibility to bust up his opponents as badly as he deemed necessary in the matches he fought - that's hardly an option these days in regular training.
     
  13. Grey Eyed Bandit

    Grey Eyed Bandit Master of Arts

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    He killed his first opponent when he was 13 years old. That, if anything, is what I think you can call a bad habit. :rolleyes:
     
  14. r erman

    r erman Green Belt

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    Takamatsu had a lot of training under his belt when he went China, yes, but he also fought matches before then in Japan.

    I mentioned this only to point out that this kind of training had some value to Takamatsu. Is it not true that he fought western boxers and wrestlers? Seems to me he was trying to test himself and what he knew--which is part of shugyo.

    FWIW, I would say that the enivonment in which Takamatsu lived(not to mention the environs of the sengoku and edo periods) is not comparable to anyone in the booj that I know of--including Hatsumi and the japanese shihan. That doesn't mean, however, that people move all that different or that there should be a large dychotomy between training methodologies between then and now...
     
  15. Shizen Shigoku

    Shizen Shigoku Purple Belt

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    bushi shugyo is not the same as dojo keiko.

    I'll have to find the source material later, but paraphrasing quotes I've read by Hatsumi and Takamatsu:

    I know better in my old age after my "youthful recklessness" and I say to you, do not engage in the hard training that I did as it is not necessary.

    It's kind of like a 'learn from my mistakes' - people have been sparring / challenge matches for a long time. Over that long time, kata practice has evolved based on those matches as well as on fields of battle and in personal protection situations.

    Others have done that hard work for us, so we can practice really good stuff, safely, effectively, and efficiently - in the dojo.

    For your own shugyo, fight all you want, prove to yourself you're a badass, you'll feel better.

    [note: the above line is *not* to be taken with any sarcasm, i.e. I'm serious - it's your life.]

    In the dojo, follow the training methods that your instructor provides.
    "sensei" means old-wise-one. . . he knows better.


    I can understand some arguments for the responsibility of instructor and school to provide what their student needs, but some things are the students' responsibility (testing their mettle, etc.)

    p.s. from my understanding of Musashi's writings, I don't think he really advocated to the reader to engage in the practice of dueling as he did.
    The basic thesis I gathered from the bulk of the book was:

    Picking up a sword is for the purpose of killing. The sword is in your hands, now kill the other guy - or at least don't die with your sword undrawn.
     
  16. Fool Wolf

    Fool Wolf Guest

    It is interesting that people point out that Takamatsu, Hatsumi, Musashi, etc... say in effect "do what I say, not what I did." Does anyone believe that they would have been who they were without the "rough training" of their past. I would point out that a standard barrier motif to the hero's journey is the archetype of the old wise man trying to turn away or discourage the hero from advancing in order to test dedication and perserverance. The safe and easy way is always more comfortable.

    I am not advocating dueling or sparring. Just do not think you will be the next Musashi or Takamatsu because you train in a dojo 3 or 4 days a week. Most of us do not have that desire, we just want to learn skills to protect our families and ourselves.

    I believe that although sparring or ran dori is not exactly like a real fight situation, real value is obtained from them. In the military, we train constantly in "force on force" exersices. It is not lethal, but it teaches many lessons that cannot be taught any other way and is the reason we have military superiority. Sparring can be equated to this on the micro scale.

    FW
     
  17. Grey Eyed Bandit

    Grey Eyed Bandit Master of Arts

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    How was it again that you related the battles he fought about a century ago, in which no regard had to be taken to the participants's safety, to safe and beneficial sparring practice nowadays?

    There's always the possibility to test each student for rank by letting them participate in actual life-endangering combat. Thing is, how many would survive to be granted another rank some other time?

    See above.

    You'd be surprised to hear about the "war stories" Bujinkan practitioners sometimes have to offer.

    No, I'm sure they put on their cups, mouthguards and Slayer gloves and went at it back then as well. :uhyeah:
     
  18. KyleShort

    KyleShort Green Belt

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    Thought it was worth noting that though a shinai is a relativley new invention, the boken has been used for hundreds of years for "safe" sparring.
     
  19. r erman

    r erman Green Belt

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    Nimravus,

    Don't know that I tried to relate Takamatsu's matches to safe and beneficial sparring directly. I asked why he did it if it is so detrimental. And btw, any of us making assumptions about how 'deadly' his matches were are just...making assumptions. I also said that Takamatsu must have seen some benefit to this kind of training. He also found benefit in toughening exercises that he has later chided against--which I believe is where the quote about recklessness came from.

    I would relax the stance that you seem to be taking thinking that everyone is trying to discredit your position. If you don't enjoy or believe there is benefit in randori then so be it. Good for you. You can learn many beneficial things from training without it.

    All of us have different life experiences. Some of us have come to the conlusion that without some sort of--and I hate using this word as it is often mis-interpreted as forcing a technique(which I don't agree with)--'resistance' base to our training there is something lacking. I've seen some shihan display this lacking when attempting randori...

    FWIW, I know the benefit of relaxed and supple movement. I spend a lot of time training this way. I wouldn't have near the understanding of movement and concepts that I do without that kind of training.

    BTW, to others who have posted. There is a lot of 'rough' training in the bujinkan--just not always a lot of randori.
     
  20. r erman

    r erman Green Belt

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    Almost forgot to add this:

    No I'm sure 'they' wouldn't have done that. Nor, I'm sure, would it be an accepted training paradigm in those times. Which is strange since we have quotes from texts like Heiho Zakki by Yamada Heizaemon(1639-1716) in which he states:

    123
     

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