Effective Self Defense with never a day sparring?

shoebox

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Hi everybody,

I visited a bajiquan school today and I got to check it out. The master gave some demonstrations on me and there is no doubt that his power is real. I was really impressed with the guy, in fact kind of unbelievable skill. I really agreed with everything he told me that kung fu takes time and effort and he emphasizes building the foundation through stance work and then teaches you techniques and then you get to apply that technique on a non-resisiting opponent. I was hooked, and ready to sign papers when I found out that there is no sparring...ever.

Common sense would tell me that to be fully confident in your technique you need to apply it on a resisting opponent in real time. I took brazilian jiu-jitsu before and what I really thought was useful is you are applying the technique in real time--there is no guessing whether or not you can do it.

Does anybody else agree with my concern? I don't want to be a martial artist with impeccable technique and power and only be able to give demonstrations on a person who I can predict what is coming at me.

Please let me know what your thoughts are.
 

Rich Parsons

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Hi everybody,

I visited a bajiquan school today and I got to check it out. The master gave some demonstrations on me and there is no doubt that his power is real. I was really impressed with the guy, in fact kind of unbelievable skill. I really agreed with everything he told me that kung fu takes time and effort and he emphasizes building the foundation through stance work and then teaches you techniques and then you get to apply that technique on a non-resisiting opponent. I was hooked, and ready to sign papers when I found out that there is no sparring...ever.

Common sense would tell me that to be fully confident in your technique you need to apply it on a resisting opponent in real time. I took brazilian jiu-jitsu before and what I really thought was useful is you are applying the technique in real time--there is no guessing whether or not you can do it.

Does anybody else agree with my concern? I don't want to be a martial artist with impeccable technique and power and only be able to give demonstrations on a person who I can predict what is coming at me.

Please let me know what your thoughts are.


I think you need to do what makes you happy.

If you want to spar then you need to find a school that has sparring. This is what I think.

But if you enjoy the training at this school then go ahead and train there.
 

Steve

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Hi everybody,

I visited a bajiquan school today and I got to check it out. The master gave some demonstrations on me and there is no doubt that his power is real. I was really impressed with the guy, in fact kind of unbelievable skill. I really agreed with everything he told me that kung fu takes time and effort and he emphasizes building the foundation through stance work and then teaches you techniques and then you get to apply that technique on a non-resisiting opponent. I was hooked, and ready to sign papers when I found out that there is no sparring...ever.

Common sense would tell me that to be fully confident in your technique you need to apply it on a resisting opponent in real time. I took brazilian jiu-jitsu before and what I really thought was useful is you are applying the technique in real time--there is no guessing whether or not you can do it.

Does anybody else agree with my concern? I don't want to be a martial artist with impeccable technique and power and only be able to give demonstrations on a person who I can predict what is coming at me.

Please let me know what your thoughts are.
Ultimately, if it doesn't make sense to you, it's not a good fit. I trained at a school that didn't spar and it was one of a few things that really drove me to find a different school.

Another thing you might want to do is to look at the students. The instructor is solid, but what about his students? one thing I've always thought was odd is that many of the instructors in these styles DID spar and pressure test their styles before disavowing the practice. Hatsumi trained in many styles including Judo. In my opinion, it makes it difficult to really know whether they'
re skilled because they pressure test or in spite of it.

Bottom line for me... it hurts my brain to think that pressure testing and sparring is bad. So, I won't train in a style that doesn't.
 

jarrod

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this is my opinion on sparring arts vs. non-sparring arts for self-defense.

non-sparring arts (tai chi, baqua, most forms of aikido, etc.) i view as the graduate school of MA training. if you drop into a ph.d. program without a foundational education, you're not going to have a clue about what's going on for a very, very long time. but you can get it eventually. but if you have a solid foundation, there is much to learn from those styles.

but one of the most important self defense skills is to not freeze up when confronted with an attack. imo, that is most easily (& safely) accomplished through sparring.

jf
 

mook jong man

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If you really like it , sign up for it , learn all the techniques.
Then get some mates to come around your place on the weekend , pad up and spar all day.
After that analyse and dissect your performances over a couple of beers and a few laughs.
 
OP
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shoebox

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That sounds like a really good idea because after seeing the master's power I know that if it can be mastered in a live setting there are great possibilities. I simply do not know how to spar. I do not know the steps to sparring. I mean there is such a methodical process of first learning the stances, then learning the technique, then practicing applying it against a non-resisting opponent (which all makes very logical sense). Then something weird happens now go spar or go fight. I just feel like there are critical steps missing before one should consider free sparring.
 

theletch1

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this is my opinion on sparring arts vs. non-sparring arts for self-defense.

non-sparring arts (tai chi, baqua, most forms of aikido, etc.) i view as the graduate school of MA training. if you drop into a ph.d. program without a foundational education, you're not going to have a clue about what's going on for a very, very long time. but you can get it eventually. but if you have a solid foundation, there is much to learn from those styles.

but one of the most important self defense skills is to not freeze up when confronted with an attack. imo, that is most easily (& safely) accomplished through sparring.

jf

That is quite possibly one of the best posts I've ever read. The PH.D. analogy is spot on. While my aikido school doesn't "spar" we do practice randori. Randori is freestyle training in which one student attacks while the other defends and then the roles reverse. The attacks are never choriographed and you defend with which ever technique lends itself best to the attack... in real time. Not full force but dynamically correct in all other aspects. As aikido uses a great many locks and throws that could destroy a joint you'd obviously tune it back a bit.

Admittedly, I'm not on the advisory board here but felt I could add something to the conversation.
 

jarrod

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That sounds like a really good idea because after seeing the master's power I know that if it can be mastered in a live setting there are great possibilities. I simply do not know how to spar. I do not know the steps to sparring. I mean there is such a methodical process of first learning the stances, then learning the technique, then practicing applying it against a non-resisting opponent (which all makes very logical sense). Then something weird happens now go spar or go fight. I just feel like there are critical steps missing before one should consider free sparring.

nope, that's pretty much it. get proper safety equipment, & start fighting; slowly at first then faster & harder as your skills improve. i highly recommend you have some supervision though.

have you thought about maybe taking another class once a week or so? boxing, kickboxing, something like that? my kickboxing coach, dwane lewis, is one of most effective strikers i know, & he started doing tai chi & kung fu after he was already an accomplished kickboxer. but the tai chi comes through in the KB. it's funny, i think we have the only kickboxing & boxing coach who tells us to steal our opponent's chi, or uproot them when they try to clinch, etc. but it absolutely works.

jf
 

Andrew Green

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That sounds like a really good idea because after seeing the master's power I know that if it can be mastered in a live setting there are great possibilities. I simply do not know how to spar. I do not know the steps to sparring. I mean there is such a methodical process of first learning the stances, then learning the technique, then practicing applying it against a non-resisting opponent (which all makes very logical sense). Then something weird happens now go spar or go fight. I just feel like there are critical steps missing before one should consider free sparring.


There is, but to be honest a lot of schools don't really teach it and just throw people straight in.

If sparring is important too you I would suggest finding a good boxing coach to get you started. Once you learn basic tactics and strategy you will have better luck applying other concepts to that.
 

mook jong man

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That sounds like a really good idea because after seeing the master's power I know that if it can be mastered in a live setting there are great possibilities. I simply do not know how to spar. I do not know the steps to sparring. I mean there is such a methodical process of first learning the stances, then learning the technique, then practicing applying it against a non-resisting opponent (which all makes very logical sense). Then something weird happens now go spar or go fight. I just feel like there are critical steps missing before one should consider free sparring.

There are steps missing , you have to make it a gradual progression. Learn the various counters , drill them on both sides and then practice defending against random timing , and from random arms.

Maybe just start off with a very limited type of sparring such as just countering random straight punches , or only round house punches , or only punches to the stomach , you get the idea , once you get comfortable stopping them , then slowly add in more attacks that you have to deal with.

Maybe you could ask the Sifu how do you stop straight punches , round house punches , punches to the gut , throat grabs , arm grabs , tackles etc basically the stuff you will encounter on the street.

Just explain to him that you want to get into some sparring / random reflex type of stuff in your own time but you need a few things to work with first.

Most Sifu's worth their salt should be willing to help you , even if their policy is not to allow random reflex types of training or sparring in their school.
 

Empty Hands

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If you don't spar, you are not learning an effective martial art. Period. You are learning some pretty techniques and forms that have never been applied.

Can a surgeon perform surgery after practicing the movements in the air and never on a body? Could a football player ever perform well in a game without training in scrimmage games? It's just foolish to think that the chaos of real fighting can ever be effectively dealt with when you have never experienced anything like it. When you didn't know what attack was coming. When you get unexpectedly hit. When you have to apply your techniques on the fly.

I strongly suspect that any martial arts instructor who disavows sparring has never been in even a tournament match, much less a real fight.
 

seasoned

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If you don't spar, you are not learning an effective martial art. Period. You are learning some pretty techniques and forms that have never been applied.

Can a surgeon perform surgery after practicing the movements in the air and never on a body? Could a football player ever perform well in a game without training in scrimmage games? It's just foolish to think that the chaos of real fighting can ever be effectively dealt with when you have never experienced anything like it. When you didn't know what attack was coming. When you get unexpectedly hit. When you have to apply your techniques on the fly.

I strongly suspect that any martial arts instructor who disavows sparring has never been in even a tournament match, much less a real fight.
Nice post.
 

seasoned

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In the realm of DoJo sparring, there is productive and counter productive. As long as there is a Sensei who is willing to keep it real, students will benefit greatly, or be compromised, and suffer false confidence.
 

jks9199

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If you don't spar, you are not learning an effective martial art. Period. You are learning some pretty techniques and forms that have never been applied.

Can a surgeon perform surgery after practicing the movements in the air and never on a body? Could a football player ever perform well in a game without training in scrimmage games? It's just foolish to think that the chaos of real fighting can ever be effectively dealt with when you have never experienced anything like it. When you didn't know what attack was coming. When you get unexpectedly hit. When you have to apply your techniques on the fly.

I strongly suspect that any martial arts instructor who disavows sparring has never been in even a tournament match, much less a real fight.
Sorry -- but you're oversimplifying things.

There are lots of ways to train; sparring is only one. And it's one that can easily build some bad and unrealistic habits. Done properly, sparring is an excellent way to practice the learned techniques with an opponent -- but other partner and reaction drills are also important parts of the training set.

Of course, I swear this topic has come up a time or twenty before...
 

Empty Hands

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Sorry -- but you're oversimplifying things.

There are lots of ways to train; sparring is only one.

Sparring is necessary but not sufficient. Other drills and training methods are useful and important, but all of them build in some level of predictability. You know what is coming, at some level. That makes an enormous difference between training and a real fight. There is plenty that sparring won't prepare you for either, but it's still necessary.
 
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