Usefullness of sparring

Discussion in 'Beginners Corner' started by watching, Mar 24, 2018.

  1. watching

    watching Green Belt

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2018
    Messages:
    108
    Likes Received:
    40
    Trophy Points:
    68
    Location:
    United States
    I feel like there's a big difference between point sparring and actual real world self defense. For example, in the real world you won't be wearing protection, fights probably won't last two minutes, and there are no rules or off limits areas.
    With that in mind, is sparring supposed to be something that helps you prepare for real world self defense in some way, or is the purpose of sparring something else entirely?
    Thanks everyone.
     
  2. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2014
    Messages:
    18,062
    Likes Received:
    4,437
    Trophy Points:
    308
    Part of learning is about repetition.

    So the pads and the rules allow you to fine tune your timing a lot more than say a minute of street fighting.

    Otherwise I don't think not wearing protection or even your favourite fighting trousers makes that much of a difference. As opposed to say actually being able to fight.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. CB Jones

    CB Jones Senior Master

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2017
    Messages:
    3,483
    Likes Received:
    1,588
    Trophy Points:
    253
    Location:
    Saline
    Per one of the black belts in our org...

    Point Sparring helps teach one aspect of a real fight.

    It teaches the initial engagement or entry. You use spacing, timing, movement to control the beginning of the fight and/or to strike or defend. You land your shots and the ref stops you before you actually finish your opponent with more strikes or a takedown. Don't approach it as playing tag for points....but learning how to better engage your opponent. He does a better job explaining it.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  4. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

    Top Poster Of Month

    • Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2012
    Messages:
    23,048
    Likes Received:
    6,827
    Trophy Points:
    448
    Location:
    Hendersonville, NC
    If you never spar (with or without gear), you'll probably develop some misconceptions about how people move, what strikes (same is true for grappling techniques) connect with which openings, and a few other areas. You'll probably also be surprised in a SD situation when you get hit - both by the fact of the hit (in SD training, we often get a misconception of how hard it is to avoid), and by the feel of it. Getting hit in sparring - even with pads - helps get you accustomed to it mentally, helps condition you for it physically (assuming there's any power in the sparring), and gives you a more realistic notion of your vulnerabilities.

    It won't be much like many SD situations, but it can actually be a fair amount like some of them. Depending upon the style of your partner/opponent, they may even move like someone you could end up facing on the street. And there are situations where SD can end up looking a lot like a fight, which looks a bit like sparring.

    It also gives you a lot of chance to practice movement, targeting, and strikes (and/or grappling), and that repetition is important.
     
    • Like Like x 4
  5. Jaeimseu

    Jaeimseu 2nd Black Belt

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2011
    Messages:
    849
    Likes Received:
    226
    Trophy Points:
    58
    Location:
    Austin, Texas, USA
    At the very least, contact sparring of any kind will help you apply techniques against someone who is providing live resistance, meaning that they are actively engaged in defending against your attacks and attempting to apply their techniques against you. You also get to practice maybe the most important aspect of physical fighting/defense imo, controlling the distance. It’s up to the participants to determine how realistic things are.

    I try to always approach sparring of any kind with a “what if this were a real fight?” mentality, whether I’m rolling in BJJ, doing Olympic style tkd sparring, or stop point sparring. In any case, I can’t completely control what my partner does, but I can have a reasonable amount of control over what positions I put myself in (given fairly equal ability levels). If my partner is much better than me, I try to recognize what my partner does to me. Sometimes that’s a victory in itself. Being humbled can teach you a lot.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
    • Like Like x 4
  6. Anarax

    Anarax 2nd Black Belt

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2017
    Messages:
    890
    Likes Received:
    259
    Trophy Points:
    78
    Location:
    New Mexico
    Not all MA sparring is point sparring, from my experience very little of it is. All the MA schools I've been to have continuous sparring, the point sparring is usually only done if someone is training for a point competition.

    CB covered all the technical aspects sparring trains. The psychological factors are also a major part of sparring that is crucial. Learning to deal with adrenaline and pressure from an opponent are things that you'll learn to control through sparring.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  7. marques

    marques Master Black Belt

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2015
    Messages:
    1,180
    Likes Received:
    378
    Trophy Points:
    123
    Location:
    Essex, UK
    Sparring prepares you “in some way”. For instance, improves timing, distance management and reading oponent’s intentions / possibilities. But nothing mimics a ‘real fight’, specially the emotive aspect (or the complexity of every possible scenario).

    Then sparring doesn’t need to be point sparring. You make the rules. The ‘real fight’ lasts 5 sec? Sep up 5 sec rounds. Fights happens anywhere and without protections? Train this way... (if you are skilled enough and you think it is a necessary risk).

    You make the rules (if you can) according to your aims. It becomes more useful, but still does not solve (or even evaluates) everything.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  8. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2015
    Messages:
    7,420
    Likes Received:
    2,201
    Trophy Points:
    263
    My perspective about sparring is that it allows you to train for fighting without suffering the damage and injuries that come with an all out fight. The purpose of sparring is to learn and not win. Sparring gives you an opportunity to learn and train martial arts application with relative safety. It's the only time you'll have to plan and develop your ability to create strategies. It's the only time you can learn from mistakes. It's the only time you can gain a familiarity for being grabbed, punched, and kick without paying a high cost for it.

    There's no way anyone can train with the exact same ferocity and violence that they would use in a real fight without suffering severe damage. Think of military and law enforcement paintball /paint bullet drills. It's the closest you can safely train for the real thing, without suffering the same damages and injuries that would come from a real bullet.

    Training to fight by actually full on fighting will shorten your ability to train and in some cases will end your training all together. The fix to this is sparring. With all of this said, you still need to pay attention to the quality of your sparring. Sparring without quality and realism is useless.
     
    • Like Like x 4
  9. DanT

    DanT 2nd Black Belt

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2017
    Messages:
    702
    Likes Received:
    288
    Trophy Points:
    118
    Location:
    Planet X
    For me, I've always found that in terms of my MARTIAL development:

    50% came from physical fitness
    25% came from hard sparring
    25% came from all other drills
     
    • Like Like x 2
  10. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes MT Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2005
    Messages:
    5,501
    Likes Received:
    3,988
    Trophy Points:
    448
    Location:
    Lexington, KY
    Sparring is never an accurate simulation of self-defense, although it can be a reasonable effective simulation of fighting (not the same thing). More importantly, it can give you experience in executing technique under pressure against an opponent who is trying to defeat your goals and achieve his own.

    How you practice sparring matters a great deal. Some people practice sparring as a game of bouncy-bouncy tippy-tappy tag where they flick under-powered punches and kicks from out of range, with little or no contact, 80% of potential targets disallowed, no clinching or grappling, and stopping after each "hit." That sort of "sparring" has little combative value in my opinion. It might even make students worse in real fighting.

    There are a lot of other ways to do sparring, though, and many of them are very useful in developing fighting skills.
     
    • Agree Agree x 6
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Danny T

    Danny T Senior Master

    • Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2002
    Messages:
    4,104
    Likes Received:
    2,175
    Trophy Points:
    388
    Location:
    New Iberia, Louisiana USA
    There are numerous ways to spar.
    Each help a potential fight aspect. But only that one particular piece. It takes many aspects to develop a complete fighter so all should be utilized in sparring. I feel many spar simply to spar with no real development plan.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2018
    • Agree Agree x 3
  12. JR 137

    JR 137 Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2015
    Messages:
    5,011
    Likes Received:
    3,074
    Trophy Points:
    448
    Location:
    In the dojo
    If your sparring matches your desired goals, then it’s useful. If it doesn’t, then it’s usefulness is minimal.

    If your goal is to win the Kyokushin open, WKF style sparring is going to get you into trouble. If your goal is to win the WKF championship, knockdown sparring is going to ingrain some contradictory habits. I could go on an on, Judo, BJJ, TKD, etc. Your sparring must be as close to what you’re looking for as possible.

    Not everyone wants to fight or compete. Some want the non-martial benefits of MA with a touch of fighting ability as a side effect. Others think if it’s not preparing them for an all-out life or death brawl, it’s completely useless. Some want block-kick-punch, some want throw you on the ground, some want drag you down and choke you. Some want it all. Some want to go light, some want 100% resistance, and some want somewhere in between.

    So long as your sparring is truly meeting your goals or at least progressing you there, it’s perfectly useful. If it’s not, at least you’re getting some exercise :)
     
    • Like Like x 3
    • Agree Agree x 1
  13. JR 137

    JR 137 Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2015
    Messages:
    5,011
    Likes Received:
    3,074
    Trophy Points:
    448
    Location:
    In the dojo
    A lot of people would think sparring like this is a waste of time. I’m pretty sure the people in the video think it’s useful. Im not sure how it’s useful, but hopefully they know.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. pdg

    pdg Senior Master

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2018
    Messages:
    3,568
    Likes Received:
    1,032
    Trophy Points:
    263
    A bit more training and I reckon they'd be able to add a level or two to that hurticane at the end...
     
    • Funny Funny x 1
  15. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Senior Master

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2018
    Messages:
    2,217
    Likes Received:
    958
    Trophy Points:
    253
    Location:
    Australia
    Great post mate, well said. If you truly want '100% realistic' sparring, the only way is going out and fighting for real. No rules or anything. It gets to me a little when others say about certain types of sparring 'ah that's not realistic/self-defense based'. Of course it's not 100%. Other types of sparring develop other attributes, but of course none is really complete in itself (depending on what your designated goal for it was).

    It's done in a safer way for a reason. Like the argument about 'no head punches in Kyokushin', I think Oyama wanted to still keep the bareknuckle aspect for a reason, and clearly constant bareknuckle head punches is not a good frequent practice.. although I think I heard they did have facepunches in the early days (hands wrapped with towels or something), but eventually phased it out (not 100% sure on that).

    Yeah that's it ay... I spent many years doing bareknuckle, full contact sparring in my old style. Never competed in it however, and wasn't interested at all. And last year I entered non-contact point-sparring tournaments. And I absolutely loved it. They're both very different styles and both develop different aspects.

    I left my first style I reckon because I listened to other people too much saying 'it's not realistic enough', 'it's not legit'. It's good to listen to all and take everything onboard that's actually useful, but not every style of training suits everyone, and of course many have other reasons why they train.
     
  16. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Senior Master

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2018
    Messages:
    2,217
    Likes Received:
    958
    Trophy Points:
    253
    Location:
    Australia
    Oh WOWZA! Intense man! A kick for a kick! Yeah I don't understand it, but they're doing it for some reason I'm sure... Quick 20s bouts hey!
     
  17. WaterGal

    WaterGal Master of Arts

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    Messages:
    1,588
    Likes Received:
    443
    Trophy Points:
    123
    While sparring is never going to be 100% realistic self-defense training, it can have immense value in training distancing, endurance, dodging, speed, what it feels like to get hit, etc. I definitely prefer continuous sparring over the stop-and-start style of point sparring, though. My understanding is that point sparring comes from the "one hit one kill" school of thought in karate, and that that was itself derived from the same idea in kendo/kenjutsu (where it makes sense, because one good cut would, in fact, kill or incapacitate your opponent).
     
  18. Kababayan

    Kababayan Blue Belt

    Joined:
    May 7, 2017
    Messages:
    215
    Likes Received:
    84
    Trophy Points:
    43
    My view on sparring isn't always popular. I don't feel that Black Belts above a certain level should spar frequently, as I feel that it creates bad self defense habits. When I say "certain level"...maybe 1st or 2nd Dan. What tends to happen is that Black Belts sparring looks like really fast lower-rank sparring. Like others have said, sparring helps develop proper timing, speed, reaction time, etc. As a former Sport Karate competitor and kickboxer back-in-the-day, I understand how important all of those are. I feel, though, that higher ranks should focus more on realistic scenario training. I didn't have the belief about sparring until my friend and I were in a confrontation 25 years ago. Long story short, my friend (we were both 1st Dans) got into a sparring stance against the other guy and they both started fighting. I don't know if the other guy had martial arts experience. Neither of them put their body weight into the punches, nor did they follow through with their kicks. Everything was thrown to make "surface-level" impact. It looked like a controlled sparring match. Both got tagged a bit, but nothing too damaging. Needless to say they both stopped after a minute or so, talked **** to each other and then walked away. After that I began to examine the habits (some good, some bad) that frequent sparring can have on higher ranks, such as lack of follow-through, lack of quick reaction from a non-fighting stance, and the importance of escaping immediately. Sparring is so important in the martial arts, but I think it should be replaced with scenario training (and more impact training) in higher ranks. I think sparring should be done every so often, but people will "defend how they train" and I've found that many go into "sparring mode" if they spar too frequently in a dojo. Sparring has its place, just maybe done less frequently at higher ranks.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Disagree Disagree x 1
  19. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2014
    Messages:
    18,062
    Likes Received:
    4,437
    Trophy Points:
    308
    That is how fights generally work out. These Jack reacher syle confrontations where I knock this guy out and break that guys knee are the pipe dream.
     
  20. wab25

    wab25 Black Belt

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2017
    Messages:
    636
    Likes Received:
    499
    Trophy Points:
    218
    I agree with most of what has been said already. But I did have some additional things to consider.

    1. Study the rules you are using in your sparring. One of the important things they will tell you is: What you are not practicing. This is important. If you are doing stand up striking, you are not practicing take down defense and you are not practicing ground fighting. If you are doing Judo style randori, you are not practicing punches and kicks. Some places that do stand up striking, don't let you hit to the head, which means you are not practicing targeting the head, nor are you practicing protecting your head. Once you learn what you are not practicing in your form of sparring, you at least know the holes you need to work on. You can change your sparring rules, find outside sparring opportunities, work on drills... Further, when you find something that works for you in sparring, you need to find out if it works because of the rules. If you are not allowed to strike to the head... and you find a way to consistently land a combo on the other guys, you need to figure out if that same combo works when the other guy can snap your head back with a jab. Are you only able to get that choke, when the other guy has no gi on? Are you only able to break out of the clinch because the other guy is not allowed to use a double leg take down? This does not mean your sparring is bad. This means you need to understand what your sparring actually is.

    2. This was already stated here before, but I want to reiterate. Sparring is not about winning. Sparring is about practice and learning. When it is about winning, you start relying only on your go to, tried and true techniques... because you want to win. But, if you can keep it about learning and practice... then you are free to work on the things you are not so good at, so that they become better. If a drill is taught that day before sparring... use that drill in your sparring. If the other guy gets you with something, try to get him with it. It might not work (probably won't) but you will get to see how they defend it, and you will have something new to work on... eventually you may get it. If you are bad at a certain aspect, put your self in a position to work on that. (maybe you have a hard time getting out of side control... get yourself in a position to practice your escapes over and over again)

    3. What else can you work on while sparring? Its more than just the techniques. If you are in a ring... can you keep your opponent in the corner? Can you pick which corner? If there are multiple pairs sparring at the same time, can you be aware of where everyone else is on the floor? Are you the one bumping into the other pair or can you make it so that your partner is the one bumping into everyone else? Can you keep yourself closer to the weapons on the wall than your opponent? There are a lot of things you can work on while sparring, beyond just: Can I land this punch?123
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1

Share This Page