How important is full contact for self defense?

MJS

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Lousy title, I apologize, but sometimes it is hard to fit an idea into a title. The question really is, how important is full contact training for preparing oneself for self defense? There is a school of thought that I think quite logically states that you need full contact so you get used to taking blows should a self defense emergency arise. There seems to be a concensus that normally when you are attacked you will get hit, hence if you arn't used to taking blows you won't be hardened or tough or prepared enough to take a blow should you be hit when somebody attacks.

Than there is a school of thought that states that what really works in a self defense emergency is too dangerous for full contact. That to train or spar full contact using techniques that "really work" would result in the practitioners being maimed or killed every class. That would of course be completely unacceptable.

What do I think? Well, I'm kind of confused to be honest. I think there are merits in both arguements. So I ask those who know more, what do you think?

I think it would come down to how you want to train and what you want out of your training. If you're in it for the purpose of meeting new people or something to do after work, and nothing more, then contact really isn't an issue.

If you're in it to learn to defend yourself, then yes, contact needs to be a part of that training. Better to get used to it in the dojo, than find out when your life is on the line. Sijo Emperado (Kajukenbo) had a saying, something along the lines of..."Make pain your friend, so when it comes to visit, it won't be a stranger."

Now, I believe that when you're new, the contact should gradually be introduced. In other words, if you're a white belt, there should be either no contact, or very light. The arts are a contact activity, so IMHO, if someone can't deal with it, then perhaps they should find a new activity.

I'm not saying that half the class needs to leave on a stretcher or head to the ER afterwards, but my God, once you reach the upper levels, hell yeah, there better be some contact!

As far as the too dangerous thing goes....lots of things are dangerous. We dont choke out or break limbs during grappling, every session, but you still train those things. Pad up and fight or run thru your techs.
 

blindsage

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You need to hit a resisting opponent to learn HOW to hit a resisting opponent.
Hitting the bag is not the same. Hitting a resisting opponent lightly is not the same. Timing is wrong and the need to follow up and not stop is not the same

You need to get hit to learn how to get over the chock of being hit hard.
"Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth" -Mike Tyson.

The only reason you would not need to be used to fighting while taking serious hits, is if you think you can fight a real fight without getting hit.
So you and your sparring partners regularly punch each other in the face full force?
 

Skpotamus

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So you and your sparring partners regularly punch each other in the face full force?

Boxing gyms do it regularly as do mma gyms, they just use protective gear to cut down on injuries. Why not martial arts schools? I mean, it's kind of sad that the sport schools train harder to fight with rules and refereees than the self defense schools that are supposed to be training to fight without rules, referees, even numbers or against weapons.
 

BLACK LION

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Throttle control is essential... You may get whacked every now and again but take it and move on... I got hit in the face 2 times during 2 different evolutions yesterday... 1 to the chin which I can still feel and another to the jaw that pinged and went away. I politely told him that was twice too many and on top of that he was missing his target... I told him to slow down and balance speed with accuracy.
So, you should expect to get hit but there is no such thing as "full throttle, full contact, full speed" or "full" anything for that matter when it comes to striking targets or you will find more injuries than your HMO/PPO can cover and likewise more lawsuits than you can afford to defend against... Full force is left for the scumbags that deserve it...that is the easy part of all the hard work training and practicing... the dividends if you will.
It is much harder to train to injure but NOT to pass that threshold by balancing speed and accuracy than it is to just go full bore into flesh and attempt to pick up the pieces crash after the fact...
Speed equals fear and if you have to go full speed into your opponent to feel like you are getting somewhere then you are afraid... yes... afraid that the very last thing you did was not good enough. By adding accuracy and balancing the two...you negate the "need for speed" and to go head on into meat hoping for concrete, long-term integrity... what good is speed without efficiency and consistency...??? If you accurately target and using the essentials agress them efficiently there is no need to blow a hole in your partner... the results will emerge without you forcing them...
 

MJS

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Boxing gyms do it regularly as do mma gyms, they just use protective gear to cut down on injuries. Why not martial arts schools? I mean, it's kind of sad that the sport schools train harder to fight with rules and refereees than the self defense schools that are supposed to be training to fight without rules, referees, even numbers or against weapons.


QFT!! For me, some days are lighter than others, but nonetheless, there is still contact!
 

BLACK LION

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You can still injure a person wearing pads or gloves or protection... I think far too often people think they cant injure or be injured becuase they are wearing some form of "protection"...
I think people often rely on "protection" becuase they lack a certain level of throttle control and in turn lack a certain level of trust in thier partner.... the mutual agreement/contract is missing.
I am not saying to scrap the whole "protection" bit... I am just saying that people should make sure that thier shyt is straight and there is an understanding of things so you are not just throwing protection on so you can bounce off of someone as hard as you can... I am also saying that just becuase there is protection...balancing speed and accuracy is of no less importance...
Protection is there to mitigate blunt force trauma but its a secondary safety precaution next to the primary which is the person....same as a guns safety is secondary to the operators brain and trigger finger...

excuse the rant....
 

Skpotamus

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You can still injure a person wearing pads or gloves or protection... I think far too often people think they cant injure or be injured becuase they are wearing some form of "protection"...
I think people often rely on "protection" becuase they lack a certain level of throttle control and in turn lack a certain level of trust in thier partner.... the mutual agreement/contract is missing.
I am not saying to scrap the whole "protection" bit... I am just saying that people should make sure that thier shyt is straight and there is an understanding of things so you are not just throwing protection on so you can bounce off of someone as hard as you can... I am also saying that just becuase there is protection...balancing speed and accuracy is of no less importance...
Protection is there to mitigate blunt force trauma but its a secondary safety precaution next to the primary which is the person....same as a guns safety is secondary to the operators brain and trigger finger...

excuse the rant....


I don't mind the rant at all, you put forth your point in a logical manner without being offensive in the slightest.

I agree that you have to use good technique when you train, otherwise you're just flailing. But the intent to make contact and some contact should occur at every level of training, the power should be modulated for new techniques, new students and your "off" days. Then again, some days you just gotta go out there and bang a little bit.

I just find it ironic that the "sport" schools that commonly get looked down upon by "self defense" instructors use better training methods to instill skill and confidence in their students than most self defense instructors.
 

BLACK LION

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I don't mind the rant at all, you put forth your point in a logical manner without being offensive in the slightest.

I agree that you have to use good technique when you train, otherwise you're just flailing. But the intent to make contact and some contact should occur at every level of training, the power should be modulated for new techniques, new students and your "off" days. Then again, some days you just gotta go out there and bang a little bit.

I just find it ironic that the "sport" schools that commonly get looked down upon by "self defense" instructors use better training methods to instill skill and confidence in their students than most self defense instructors.
I definately agree....
 

Daniel Sullivan

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You do not have to risk injury in order to train... It is much harder to train to injure people and not do it than it is to really injure some one... it is rather easy to hurt people on purpose.
I believe that training under duress or stress is what is desireable... not being a human meat pulp... as stated above, fighters like that dont last long and once into thier 40s and 50s they will really be sorry.
You keep your longevity by being smart with your body...dont abuse it cuz you can or later on you will wish you had not.
This does not mean you cannot experience pain and discomfort in the course of learning as it is natural and necessary to the process but there is no need to put strain on your body that is not going to make you stronger for the long haul...
This is the very reason I slowed things down and concentrate more on principle elements like using my entire inseam, keeping my back straight and skeleton alligned... going slow and smooth and getting a deliberate target as well as seeing the product of that work and finding a flow in the midst of it all....

You can work you muscle and bone to combat efficiency without being a meat pulp... use tact and be smart about your training. Dont forsake yourself the fruits of a resisting partner either... I do mean practical resistance...not some dodo that has no business in a preofessional environment.
I was going to respond, but BL pretty much nails it with this one, so I will just go with his answer.:)

Daniel
 

blindsage

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Boxing gyms do it regularly as do mma gyms, they just use protective gear to cut down on injuries. Why not martial arts schools? I mean, it's kind of sad that the sport schools train harder to fight with rules and refereees than the self defense schools that are supposed to be training to fight without rules, referees, even numbers or against weapons.
No, they don't. Very few fighters train full contact. They train light to medium contact, because even with protective gear, the injury incidence of full contact training would prevent a lot of their fighters from making their competitive matches.

And specifically I asked Martin h if him and his sparring partners do because it appears that he trains Kyokushin, which doesn't generally use protective gear, and doesn't generally punch to the head no matter how hard they punch to the rest of the body.
 

Skpotamus

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No, they don't. Very few fighters train full contact. They train light to medium contact, because even with protective gear, the injury incidence of full contact training would prevent a lot of their fighters from making their competitive matches.

And specifically I asked Martin h if him and his sparring partners do because it appears that he trains Kyokushin, which doesn't generally use protective gear, and doesn't generally punch to the head no matter how hard they punch to the rest of the body.

Every gym I've ever trained at does. They put on thick headgear and 16 oz gloves. The thai gyms would put on the heavy shin pads as did most of the MMA gyms. Now, I didn't say they did it all the time, as I said, we'd cycle our training. Skill based classes would be light to medium contact at first to build up skill. General sparring was generally medium, depending on what you were trying to accomplish. But sometimes you'd pad up heavy and bang. How often would vary from person to person, but usually once every two or three weeks we'd go hard. Some of the guys would spar hard pretty much every chance they got.
 

Tony Dismukes

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No, they don't. Very few fighters train full contact. They train light to medium contact, because even with protective gear, the injury incidence of full contact training would prevent a lot of their fighters from making their competitive matches.

Every gym I've ever trained at does.

I wonder if there's some discrepancy in the definition of "full contact". What a pro boxer would consider "light-to-medium" contact is what most folks would consider very hard contact.

My experience with full-contact fighters (boxing/muay thai/MMA) is that when sparring with boxing gloves they will let the punches fly and hit hard, but they won't be putting everything they have into trying to knock their sparring partner out the way they would in actual competition. I guess it's a matter of interpretation whether you consider that to be truly "full-contact".
 

BLACK LION

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Muay thai in these mma gyms as of late seems to be more agressive in thier sparring... And it looks to be full bore during thier sessions... This may have a lot to do with the fact that they compete overseas in Thailand where they are hard to the core with thier training and that includes full contact "sparring"...

Then again...as stated above, it seems that the perception of what full contact is, differs from person to person...
 

blindsage

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Every gym I've ever trained at does. They put on thick headgear and 16 oz gloves. The thai gyms would put on the heavy shin pads as did most of the MMA gyms. Now, I didn't say they did it all the time, as I said, we'd cycle our training. Skill based classes would be light to medium contact at first to build up skill. General sparring was generally medium, depending on what you were trying to accomplish. But sometimes you'd pad up heavy and bang. How often would vary from person to person, but usually once every two or three weeks we'd go hard. Some of the guys would spar hard pretty much every chance they got.
They bang like they would in an actual match? I've rarely seen this. Full-contact to me means just that, and coming from a Kyokushin background, it doesn't mean pads. If you're padding up heavy, how is that full contact?

I'm not saying I think there should never be padding, or that people should punch each other in the face with bare fists during regular training, but I do think people should be realistic about what they consider 'full contact'. And keep those limitations in mind when their talking about contact training and it's importance. Very, very few (if any) of us spar full force with no pads and no target restrictions, for good reasons.
 

Daniel Sullivan

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They bang like they would in an actual match? I've rarely seen this. Full-contact to me means just that, and coming from a Kyokushin background, it doesn't mean pads. If you're padding up heavy, how is that full contact?
This is one of those areas where full contact is relative. WTF sparring, for example, is classified as continuous and full contact. The participants are all padded up, so the recipient of a blow does not receive a full contact blow, but the blow can be delivered up to and including full contact on the part of the attacker.

Daniel
 

MJS

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I agree with the member who said that there may be some confusion on what full contact is defined as. The OP should come back to this thread and clarify, as that would take some of the tension off this thread.

Now, full contact:

1) This could mean nothing other than a mouth piece and groin protection. Full power shots to the face and body.

2) This could mean dressing up in a redman suit, or something similar, and the other person just going off on the padded man.

3) This could mean both people in headgear and gloves, of any size, ie: boxing gloves, karate sparring foam rubber type gloves, MMA gloves, and pounding away at each other.

4) Same as #3, but the contact is med. to heavy, not quite full.

My version is going to be different from the next guy and the next, etc., etc. etc.

When I spar, I normally wear headgear. My 9-5 job isn't fighting, so I can't afford to be out of work due to martial arts related injury. I wear gloves, usually something like this. MMA gloves have been worn. Contact will vary depending on what the goal of the day is. In other words, are we just sparring, are we focusing on a particular technique, ie: combos, bob/weave, etc. I do the majority of sparring/boxing, with my teacher during my private lesson, so we do not do the typical karate type sparring. The matches will vary in time, usually starting off with some light, 1min rounds, and moving up to 2-3 min with heavier contact. Heavier contact meaning there have been a few times when I've been hit and it was close to a KO. I needed to stop for a few to get my land legs back.

To each his own. Personally, I think that the contact should vary. I say this because its good to give the body a rest. :)
 

Skpotamus

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They bang like they would in an actual match? I've rarely seen this. Full-contact to me means just that, and coming from a Kyokushin background, it doesn't mean pads. If you're padding up heavy, how is that full contact?

I'm not saying I think there should never be padding, or that people should punch each other in the face with bare fists during regular training, but I do think people should be realistic about what they consider 'full contact'. And keep those limitations in mind when their talking about contact training and it's importance. Very, very few (if any) of us spar full force with no pads and no target restrictions, for good reasons.

No offense, but you don't have a boxing or muay thai background, so you have no idea what the training is like. I studied kyokushin for a while (just under one year), and the contact used at that school during "hard" sparring was on the level of the boxing and kickboxing gyms light contact during skill development drills. It was nowhere near the level of power used during pad training. At the muay thai and boxing gyms, you worked the pads the same way you sparred for the most part. I left because I didn't like the styles lack of realism in their training (no head punching, no real evasion or defense tactics, the sparring was essentially stand and trade until one person fell down).

As I said before, my boxing gym would vary the sparring contact from skill development (medium contact), to all out sparring (full power). The average sparring session there you'd get your bell rung and knockdowns were common. My muay thai gym did the same with the same level of contact. On top of that, the Thai gym would have "smokers" every month or two. A smoker is an in-gym fight between people. They'd put knee and elbow pads, full headgear, shin pads and 16oz gloves on us, we'd fight for real, going for the KO, which happened pretty frequently.

These weren't hobby gyms, they were cranking out fighters, who train at another level than the non fighters at karate dojos for the most part.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VnkAp9yW5o&feature=related this is about how the sparring in my kyokushin school went, which is significantly lighter than I was used to in MT or boxing,

YMMV
 
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Hudson69

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I think it is important to have some type of sparring if the art you are learning is going to be used for self defense. It helps with timing, it helps reinforce good fighting habits (don't lead with your chin and keep your guard up come to mind), it shows how physically draining a fight can be, under controlled circumstances, and it shows how it feels to take a punch or kick and how it feels give back.

I understand that sparring is not "real" fighting but it is as close as you can get without the real thing.

I have run into an instructor who literally stated "these moves are too dangerous" and I will agree that there are some techniques that should be shown and not practiced (at anywhere near combat speed anyway) but when it comes to seeing how good you are at throwing punches and kicks or trying a technique on a moving resisting partner, well this is where sparring shows its real value.

If you want try something really fun get your school to contact another school (on only the best of terms of course) where that school has a different focus; if you are a stand up fighter (karate, gung fu, krav,....) then find a juijutsu school and cross spar/train and see how you do against someone you have never met who has never been indoctrinated into your way of thinking. It takes every precaution to ensure safety but what an eye-opening way to have some fun, make friends and test yourself and your system.
 

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