Are we creating a conflict in our training?

An Eternal Student

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This is something I've been thinking about recently, and I wanted to run it by a few other people and find out what they think.In general, martial arts training is desgined to fight mutliple opponents.Our forms and katas are constructed with this specific aim.Whne we perform these, we keep moving, going from each threat that presents itself to us and dealing with it.There's no standing around and testing the opponent, no back and forth exchange of blows just attack,defend and win.

However whenever we do sparring training we're not really doing that.You have two people line up against each other, probing and testing each other, shuffling back and forth, having way more time think about it than you you're going to have in an an actual fight.

So are we creating a conflict or hesitation in ourselves by doing this?We practices movements for fighting mulptiple threats, constantly moving and not getting a chance to really think.(Because if you do try and think too much it screws up your movements anyway)
Then we try and put this training into practice by focusing on a single threat, which isnt properly committed to attacking you and taking you down, and so we shuffle back and forth and inevitable think about things too much.

Any thoughts?
 

Adept

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Basically, yes.

A few things - Neither patterns nor point sparring effectively mimic 'real' (and I use the term with reservations) fighting. Patterns, or forms are actually detrimental at multiple opponent situations, enforcing rigid deep stances, unrealistic movements, and concentrating on one single imaginary enemy at a time.

Point sparring really doesn't take into account the two or three drunked yobs in a bar trying to seperate your face from your skull with a broken beer bottle.

The bottom line is that you will fight the way you train. Unless you train with aggressive, resisting and 'live' opponents in a 'realistic' way, then when you are in that situation, you won't perform as well as you could. It will be different to what you are used to, it will throw you off, and the techniques you know will no longer be useful.

Of course, there is a large problem trying to define what a 'real' street fight is like. One persons real experiences will differ wildly from anothers. The cop who has had to subdue suspects will have difference experiences to the bouncer who has to deal with drunken patrons, or the crowd controller who has to deal with angry or aggressive mobs.
 

Zepp

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I'd rather not get involved in yet another debate about whether there is practical value in patterns and point sparring. So let me just say that I accept Adept's opinion as valid, but not absolutely right.

Patterns/forms/kata were indeed created with the intent that they help you visualize a fight against multiple opponents (among other reasons). But they were never intended to be the only training tool against such an encounter. Similarly, point sparring is only supposed to be a training tool. Rarely can sparring ever be considered a simulated fight. Even if you spar with multiple opponents, in a so-called "live" setting, there are still rules for everyone's safety. You and your opponent(s) aren't really trying to hurt each other (otherwise it wouldn't be sparring :)). Personally, I believe that the most valuable things you're training when you spar with a single opponent is your sense of timing, and how to control distance.

The saying "fight the way you train" is somewhat misleading in my humble opinion. I would say that you will fight the way you are mentally prepared to fight. Thinking about what you would do in certain situations ahead of time is one part of the process of mental preparedness. Patterns are another part. Sparring with one opponent is yet another. Sparring with multiple opponents is another still.
 

pesilat

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An Eternal Student said:
This is something I've been thinking about recently, and I wanted to run it by a few other people and find out what they think.In general, martial arts training is desgined to fight mutliple opponents.Our forms and katas are constructed with this specific aim.Whne we perform these, we keep moving, going from each threat that presents itself to us and dealing with it.There's no standing around and testing the opponent, no back and forth exchange of blows just attack,defend and win.

However whenever we do sparring training we're not really doing that.You have two people line up against each other, probing and testing each other, shuffling back and forth, having way more time think about it than you you're going to have in an an actual fight.

So are we creating a conflict or hesitation in ourselves by doing this?We practices movements for fighting mulptiple threats, constantly moving and not getting a chance to really think.(Because if you do try and think too much it screws up your movements anyway)
Then we try and put this training into practice by focusing on a single threat, which isnt properly committed to attacking you and taking you down, and so we shuffle back and forth and inevitable think about things too much.

Any thoughts?

Depends on the mindset behind the training.

The simple reality is that it's impossible to train for real fights. You're training or you're fighting. There's a line between the two. The closer you get to that line in training the more dangerous your training becomes. It's good to push that envelope and test yourself but if that's all you ever do then all you're doing is testing and not developing and you're playing russian roulette with a revolver that has three rounds in it ... eventually someone's going to get hurt (i.e.: be forced out of training and/or work for a time) and that's counterproductive to the whole endeavor.

The intention behind training should be to develop our tools. Once we've developed them as far as we can in a cooperative environment - which doesn't mean the same as a "coddled" environment - then it's time to push that envelope and start testing the material. Some material reaches a point of testability sooner than others.

It's true that we will, to a large degree, fight how we train. But it's impossible to train how we fight. The only way to do that is to go get in real fights.

Yes, the boundary between sparring and fighting can be pushed. Some prime examples are the UFC, NHB and Dog Brothers. All of these take sparring to a place where it's right on the edge of being a fight. But they're still toeing that line between sparring and fighting.

At the other end of the sparring spectrum you've got point sparring. Point sparring has its place. If you can control the range and the fight and remain aware of your surroundings (i.e.: where the refs are and what they can and can't see) then those are useful attributes in any confrontation. Yes, it will be harder to remain aware of your surroundings in a real fight. But if you've never trained it in any way, shape or form, then your chances of doing so are even slimmer.

Training - developing our tools - just increases our odds in a fight.

The problem comes in when people think that sparring - of any type - is fighting. It's not. Even at the most extreme levels like UFC and Dog Brothers, it's still sparring.

Some things that, to me, define the line between sparring and a fight are:

A known environment

A known number of attackers

Knowledge of weapons involvement

There are rules - written or not
... i.e.: eye gouges and biting aren't commonly allowed

Knowing you're about to mix it up
... with someone else who's ready and trained to fight
... who knows they're about to mix it up with you

And these are just a few of the items that separate sparring from fighting. Of course, these elements can be fudged with to a certain degree. You can, for instance, put a group of unknown people around the fighters and some of them can jump in whenever they want. Or toss random weapons into the mix. Or cause distractions (a glass of cold water tossed on a fighter will usually give his opponent a few openings). You might even set up ambush scenarios. But, as I said before, the closer you get to a real fight, the higher the chances of someone getting hurt.

These distinctions are important to recognize and remember. But I've found that training with intent is vital.

In the Filipino arts, we regularly hit each other's sticks in training. We tell people that our intention is to hit the hand or forearm. I've met people who didn't train with that intention. They did get into the habit of hitting the stick and even when they'd put on gear and go full contact, they'd hit the stick. I've always kept that intention in mind. I'm aiming for a specific point on the stick. I'm hitting that point intentionally and always thinking about where I'd want to hit their hand/forearm. I find that when I put on gear or have a padded stick I hit their hand/forearm with no problem or stutter.

I compare it to target practice with a bow or firearm. If I train to hit the target with accuracy then it doesn't matter whether the target is a spot on a stick, a hand, a head or anything else. I hit it with accuracy when I aim for it. Keeping my intention in mind during training means that I'm not allowing my body to program a reflex to hit the stick but rather I'm programming my body to hit where I aim.

I hope that made sense.

I compare sparring to a wind tunnel for testing aircraft. Does it simulate reality? No. But it adds elements that are guaranteed to be present in reality while keeping the exercise in a controlled and safe environment where it can be analyzed for problems. Then those problems can be ironed out in the lab.

In martial arts, we spar to find problems that we need to isolate. Then we isolate those problems and develop them farther. Then we spar again and isolate new problems.

Slow sparring or point sparring can also be useful as part of the developmental process. If, for instance, you find yourself always using a particular technique as a finisher but you want to develop another finishing technique then you can restrict yourself to that technique during light sparring. You're not going to go to your comfort zone. You force yourself to work with a handicap. This can also be done by only using one hand, not allowing yourself to use kicks or punches, only allowing yourself to you kicks or punches, only allowing yourself to defend, etc. But I consider these methods to be most effective for higher ranks who've already developed a solid foundation.

Overall, I think sparring should be used for testing material that's already been developed. The testing should lead to isolation of problem areas that can then be taken back to regular training to be analyzed and developed further.

Mike
 

terryl965

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You can never really train in that matter for the simple reason, you are never going to know where, who how and why. So we train as hard as we can and hopefully all the training kicks in when the time is right.
 

Andrew Green

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Zepp said:
Patterns/forms/kata were indeed created with the intent that they help you visualize a fight against multiple opponents
I don't think so... I'd say they where designed more to enforce a type of movement. But multiple opponent fighting looks far more chaotic then a kata, the footwork is just not there for dealing with two people...

Not to mention that most bunkai just shows one person attacking, then another, then another. Not fighting more then one person at the same time.
 

MJS

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An Eternal Student said:
This is something I've been thinking about recently, and I wanted to run it by a few other people and find out what they think.In general, martial arts training is desgined to fight mutliple opponents.Our forms and katas are constructed with this specific aim.Whne we perform these, we keep moving, going from each threat that presents itself to us and dealing with it.There's no standing around and testing the opponent, no back and forth exchange of blows just attack,defend and win.

However whenever we do sparring training we're not really doing that.You have two people line up against each other, probing and testing each other, shuffling back and forth, having way more time think about it than you you're going to have in an an actual fight.

So are we creating a conflict or hesitation in ourselves by doing this?We practices movements for fighting mulptiple threats, constantly moving and not getting a chance to really think.(Because if you do try and think too much it screws up your movements anyway)
Then we try and put this training into practice by focusing on a single threat, which isnt properly committed to attacking you and taking you down, and so we shuffle back and forth and inevitable think about things too much.

Any thoughts?

Keep in mind that there are 2 different aspects...sport and reality. A kata is not going to teach you how to effectively deal with mult. opponents in the same fashion as it will most likely happen in reality. Can we effectively train for an all out assault? Probably not without some serious injury, but it can be done. As it was said, adding in some aliveness to your workouts is one way. During the scenario training, having the 'attacker' pad up will also give a different feel. Will the attacker on the street be wearing pads? No, but it'll allow us to put some power into our shots, w/o having to worry about serious injury.

Mike
 
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c2kenpo

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Not to get into a debate here about which way is "Right" or "wrong" as I believe there is neither. So I see many valid points here.

First off we all can probably agree that there is no "ONE" martial art or training that solves and covers every posibility. So this is why such a various amount of training and different systems/styles.

Forms / Katas are "Exercises" a tool to use to focus on proper body alignment, posture, hand /foot work, etc etc etc. I would never expect any one foRm from any of the MA that I have studied to be a Multiple man attack solution. I can use forms / katas to forcus on timing of hand and feet, timing of power, setting, etc etc. I have even developed many forms but the ones that involve multiple man attacks I do 2 ways, FULL through the whole technique to the next and so on and REAL covering what if's body positioning, mechanics, dynamic stages of a fight, attitude and so on. The latter way of building a from helps me understand the what might happen so my brain doesn't get locked into a single path of thinking.
Sparring is another exercise where you can try to apply what you know but much more difficult to work and if you were working a sparring drill agasint multiple man attacks many of my attacks / defends are simple 1-2 combos and footwork to creates distance.
Both forms and sparring I think give you a better understading fo the who's whats and whys of the MA. Not doing them I dont think helps either.

David Gunzburg
 

47MartialMan

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Our upper level students spar full, no pads and almost anything goes. This type of spar is only conducted once every other month because of injuires that may be sustained.
 

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An Eternal Student said:
In general, martial arts training is desgined to fight mutliple opponents.Our forms and katas are constructed with this specific aim.

A bit of a side comment, but I hope you don't mind. Not long ago I started a thread here about imaginary opponents in forms. It might be worth looking at because some of the replies were suggesting that it's wrong to think of forms as a fight sequence meant to fend off multiple opponents.
 

47MartialMan

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Dronak said:
A bit of a side comment, but I hope you don't mind. Not long ago I started a thread here about imaginary opponents in forms. It might be worth looking at because some of the replies were suggesting that it's wrong to think of forms as a fight sequence meant to fend off multiple opponents.
I don't think it is wrong, but unlike live opponents/soar partners, forms can't have one compnesate for a change from those opponents. A interesting from Ihave seen at a tournament was that the competitor was emulating actual strikes that he had received. Instead of a form where he succeeded with every method. Almost half of the form was getting struck and the other of coming back with perserverance. The end was him emulating being knocked out. May I say people did know what to think and that competitor won first place without flashy moves and a flashy uniform.
 

Zepp

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Here's the thread Dronak mentioned: http://www.martialtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=23698

47MartialMan said:
A interesting from Ihave seen at a tournament was that the competitor was emulating actual strikes that he had received. Instead of a form where he succeeded with every method. Almost half of the form was getting struck and the other of coming back with perserverance. The end was him emulating being knocked out.

Wait a sec... you mean the guy created a form that emulated him getting his *** kicked? That's definitely original. :lol:
 

47MartialMan

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Zepp said:
Here's the thread Dronak mentioned: http://www.martialtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=23698



Wait a sec... you mean the guy created a form that emulated him getting his *** kicked? That's definitely original. :lol:

Yes! He was in a winning battle in his form but lost (threw himself around pretty good on a hardwood gym floor)...but won the tournament competiton via "losing"......

Think about it...as if we are destined to win always...
 

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There's a lot of good feedback given so I'm only going to briefly throw in my two bits. If I'm being redundant then :idunno: oh well... :D

It was said that you will fight the way that you train. Aggressive is as aggressive does.
True Kata will not actually help you in a "for-real" but it will hone your movements to be precise when/where they need to be. Your wrist will be perfectly aligned and your leg will be at the right angle and so on.

Your awareness of your surroundings and immediate situation should be "on line" enough to know that this is a "for-real" and you should think of nothing else except where is your opponent(s) and let your training take over.

Bruce Lee said it best I think: "...when the opportunity comes to hit, I do not... for it hits all by itself."

If you are training for self-defense and are training for real, (not just to learn the moves and to look cool) then when the time comes you will (or should
:rolleyes: ) respond as your training has thus far taken you. Mine has and I continue to train whenever/however I can.

Suggested reading: "Living The Martial Way" by Forrest E. Morgan, Maj USAF (Barricade Books 1992)
 
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An Eternal Student

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Im doing a lot of sparring outside of class with a few friends of mine who do martial arts.We all do a somewhat varied mix of styles, so it gets intersting.It also ends up being somewhat "rough and tumble" so we keep some sense of realism.Highlights so far include my 16 stone brother (thats about 224 pounds) grabbing my shoulders, jumping up, and ramming my chest with both his feet.End result: I go flying about 12 or 13 feet.
Cant really do stuff like that in normal sparring.

(I know that wasnt really a practical self-defense move, but it was fun.)
 

47MartialMan

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One should be careful with such that I deem horseplay.


What all of you that participate in this must realize, is it practical to use in a real fight?

Is it practical to practice and risk greater injury?
 

Jerry

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However whenever we do sparring training we're not really doing that.You have two people line up against each other, probing and testing each other, shuffling back and forth, having way more time think about it than you you're going to have in an an actual fight.
Well, you are a little presumptious about how many people spar.

But yes, I think that sparring generally works best when people have the time to think. Not "stop and think", but think while acting. If the point of sparring is to improve our ability to fight, then we need the ability to see and analyze and correct *during* sparring. I think one trap many fall into is to think of sparrin as a contest when it should be training.

IME, when the doo-doo hit the fan, the skills from sparring came up to speed nicely, and what I had leaarned through that consideration was instinct.
 

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Hock Hochhiem has written some material on a similar subject (maybe it's the same really) called "The Myth of the Duel"

Basically in sparring we are training as if we are really dueling Stick/sword/empty hand (whatever) in that both partners are equal and you have the probing types of attacks ect. etc.

However real fights or self defense type situations don't happen like a duel normally it's like chaos. In this aspect I think your training in your basics, timing, your fundemental techniques (bread and butter type techniques) will be what saves you. Your mental attitude etc. etc. (do I retreat or attack) will pull you through or defeat you.

If you have trained hard in your basics (of whatever style you practice) then you will probably hit and defend yourself with a hard core mentality. If your have practiced your basics of your system like its a game and it's play time. Then when the crap hits the fan chances are you'll react like it's play time. No matter if you spar or not.

mark
 

47MartialMan

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The Boar Man said:
Hock Hochhiem has written some material on a similar subject (maybe it's the same really) called "The Myth of the Duel"

Basically in sparring we are training as if we are really dueling Stick/sword/empty hand (whatever) in that both partners are equal and you have the probing types of attacks ect. etc.

However real fights or self defense type situations don't happen like a duel normally it's like chaos. In this aspect I think your training in your basics, timing, your fundemental techniques (bread and butter type techniques) will be what saves you. Your mental attitude etc. etc. (do I retreat or attack) will pull you through or defeat you.

If you have trained hard in your basics (of whatever style you practice) then you will probably hit and defend yourself with a hard core mentality. If your have practiced your basics of your system like its a game and it's play time. Then when the crap hits the fan chances are you'll react like it's play time. No matter if you spar or not.

mark
I have to agree. When our advance practitioners spar, we all know and mentally train to be serious. Not serious to want to maim the each other. Our advance spars is a "almost anything goes". From a outsider, the spars look like real fights. Sure there are some contusions and somewhat sanguinary, but after each spar, a vast concern from both particpants of injury to the other and not primarily themselves.

In other words, our advance practitioners spar really rough and with a serious mentality. There is no referee to stop. We send up a stop watch a go at it for 4 minutes. 4 minutes seem like a enternity. Based upon that we had been in and observed "real/street" fights only last that long. Unless there are many people against many.
 
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