Is sparring very effective?

TigerHeart

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A friend of mine told me a sparring will help gain better skill. I have been hearing on both sides. I heard it is only good for MMA match and not for street fight, then I heard another way around.
 

Martial D

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Short of fighting, sparring is the most important part of your training if you want to develop applicable skill, for my money.
 

Anarax

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A friend of mine told me a sparring will help gain better skill. I have been hearing on both sides. I heard it is only good for MMA match and not for street fight, then I heard another way around.

Sparring is a very important and effective teaching/learning tool. Sparring is important for two main reasons.

1) It gives the Martial Artist feedback to what they need to improve on. Punches, kicks, movement, stances, balance sweeps, chokes, speed, power, defense, offense, combinations, etc. For example; If you're landing strikes but getting hit a lot, then you need to work on defense. If you're not getting hit but can't land anything, then you need to work on offense. Martial Artist can usually discern what they need to work on after a sparring session. If they can't, the instructor should be able to after watching the student spar.

2) Dealing with a live opponent is something you have to learn how to do in sparring. You have to learn how to stay alert, yet control your fear and emotion. Essentially you have to learn how to deal with the psychological aspect of it.
 

drop bear

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Ok. Think of it this way. If you did a MMA fight but for some reason couldn't grapple. And you go to your coach "I really want to submit this guy" The coach should call you an idiot and tell you to fight with the tools that you know"

People make this same basic mistake with street fighting. That it is somehow different to sparring. When in reality you don't throw out everything you have worked on. That has proven successful for you in real time to start trying out moves you have only the barest understanding of.

So sparring will let you refine the tools needed for MMA. If you are in a street fight you should be using the tools you can make work.
 

gpseymour

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A friend of mine told me a sparring will help gain better skill. I have been hearing on both sides. I heard it is only good for MMA match and not for street fight, then I heard another way around.
I don't know of anything else that can replace sparring's function in training. It puts you with someone who doesn't want you to do what you're about to do (throw, lock, punch, whatever). All while they're trying to do something you don't want them to do. I can't say for certain that sparring is a necessary part of developing functional fighting/defensive skills. But I'd be hard-pressed to accept anything entirely lacking a sparring/resistive element as a good idea.

Mind you, there are a lot of different types and levels of sparring. The more you amp up the intensity, the more you learn about dealing with violence...and the more you risk injury (including long-term injury like CTE). You have to make the decision of how much you're willing to trade off in each direction.
 

JR 137

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I agree with what everyone's said. But...

It depends on the type of sparring. If you're just doing non-contact and completely fantasy based sparring, then it's pretty much a waste of time. If it's truly resistive sparring, then its critical in your training. Truly resistive sparring doesn't have to mean hitting as hard as possible; rather it means hitting hard enough where you genuinely don't want to get hit by your partner.

Edit: In the early stages, non-contact sparring can be beneficial. At more advanced stages, it can be beneficial too if it's done in a very technical and realistic/scenario based way. But in no way should non-contact sparring be the only way nor remotely close to being a majority way to spar once the student is somewhat comfortable and a little capable of defending him/herself.

There's a time and place for everything. And a limit.
 
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Danny T

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Sparring? To spar or not to spar.
Really depends on what one's goal for training is.
If one's goal is to be a fighter then sparring is a very important part of the training & practice puzzle. One learns to work at real time, changing ranges, not knowing what is coming at you, learning to read the other's movements, spatial awareness, openings in the opponent's movements. One learns to accept the fact you will get hit by getting hit and continuing with counter attacks and one learns what not to do and when not to do it plus a whole lot more.

Can one use sparring to help prepare for a self defensive fight. Yes...I have students do situational sparring vs 1, 2,& 3 opponents.
 

FighterTwister

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A friend of mine told me a sparring will help gain better skill. I have been hearing on both sides. I heard it is only good for MMA match and not for street fight, then I heard another way around.

Sparring is the essence off applied learning!

Meaning what you learn from your class sessions be it theoretical or practical you should be absorbing and taking mental note and listen as well as ask questions.

Martial Art is a do thing so do it.

Example...................









This is where your instructor should give you feedback after sparring what to improve and praise you for what you did good so on.

Its what you take into sparring sessions and what you take out that really matters as you grow and harness your skills and assist others in your group.

Good team spirit and fun learning thats what its all about! ;)
 

Axiom

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A friend of mine told me a sparring will help gain better skill. I have been hearing on both sides. I heard it is only good for MMA match and not for street fight, then I heard another way around.

Define the type of sparring
 

Kung Fu Wang

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If you want to learn how to fight, you should just "fight".

Old saying said, "If you don't spar/wrestle for 3 days, your hands and legs are no longer be yours". I strongly believe in that.
 

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A friend of mine told me a sparring will help gain better skill. I have been hearing on both sides. I heard it is only good for MMA match and not for street fight, then I heard another way around.


I guess you need to define what you mean as 'skill' sparring will help you spar better under whatever rules you have set

The rules can be set and changed to fit many situations
 

marques

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A friend of mine told me a sparring will help gain better skill. I have been hearing on both sides. I heard it is only good for MMA match and not for street fight, then I heard another way around.
I like sparring very much and I can hardly consider a practice which doesn't include sparring as a martial art. And it is not asking much, since sparring is still just a game, not actual war.

Sparring gives you timing, distance, improvisation, mental toughness... just to name a few useful things in "street fight". A technique out of sparring is just a drill or gymnastics. If can't be applied in a conflict, in a chaotic environement, it is not martial, yet.

The dark side of it is thinking sparring is the same as street fight* and getting too confident or forget that the 'rules' are different. Or just getting inadequate habits for a dangerous encounter.

Both sides may be right. But often what they say only reflects their experience or their 'business speech'.

*I hope you mean self defence or something like that. Street fighting is childish and a crime. I wouldn't like to advise criminals...
 

MJS

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A friend of mine told me a sparring will help gain better skill. I have been hearing on both sides. I heard it is only good for MMA match and not for street fight, then I heard another way around.

IMO, it's very important. It's the best way to test out what you've been working on. When we first learn something, we learn it in a slow, control setting, little to no resistance, etc. But when you start to spar, well, that is the best way to find out whether or not you can pull something off, when the pace is faster, and there's more resistance.
 

hoshin1600

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I heard it is only good for MMA match and not for street fight,
since the consensus so far has been that sparring is vital, i will address the "street" side.
we need to define a few concepts. first is what you think sparring is and second is what is the "street".
sparring is generally an agreed interaction which can have varying degrees of resistance. as a martial artist it is essential to hone your skills and working with a resisting opponent is a great way to do that. hence sparring is essential in the development of your skills but that is as far as it goes. there are negative consequences that can happen from sparring.. notice i said can... not do happen. the major detriment in sparring is the mistaken belief that sparring is the equivalent to street fighting. its not. but now we have to define what street fighting is. if your narrative of a street fight is two guys in a bar yelling, pushing and shoving then fists start flying then sparring is a fair representation of that. if your narrative of street is more defensive, as example your standing waiting for the bus and the guy standing next to you pulls out a knife and starts stabbing with no forewarning then sparring is more limited in its applicable application. so sparring works on skills but doesnt really give you a simulation on how street defense is going to look or happen.
my belief is that sparring is a great tool for skill development but on top of that i like to use scenario and situational training to prep for the reality of an altercation.
because of the limits within any style, people tend to be more focused on certain aspects of fighting like punching or kicking or grappling. these skills may or MAY NOT come into play and be useful in any given assault. someone who focused on TKD kicks will be at a loss if the attack happens while he is using the urinal in a public bathroom stall with his pants down. every style has limitations. this will lead some to think that simulation training is more important and even that sparring is not effective.
simple answer ...it all depends. :)
 

Kababayan

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I agree with what everyone is saying about an individual's definition of sparring. Sparring with pads is great for reaction, distance training, speed, etc., however I feel that there comes a time where pad-sparring should be replaced with scenario training (active shooter, walk-through of a fight from initial confrontation, outdoor-plain clothes training, etc.) One downside to general sparring, especially at Black Belt level, is that it takes all of the techniques that you have learned and reduces them down to whatever you can do while wearing gloves and pads. This mostly becomes back-fist, front punch, front, side, and round kick. A friend of mine was confronted at a parking lot at Denny's (not that it matters what the restaurant was). Long story short, it turned into a sparring-type match where neither person was effective because they we both leaning back with their punches and kicks. My friend, who is a Kempo Black Belt, kept pulling back his side kicks because he was so used to controlled sparring. Luckily it didn't last long as both people just stopped, continued to insult each other, and walked away (long story short.) In my opinion sparring should evolve as a student grows in the martial arts.
 

JowGaWolf

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A friend of mine told me a sparring will help gain better skill. I have been hearing on both sides. I heard it is only good for MMA match and not for street fight, then I heard another way around.
It's really simple. Unless you get into real street fights to test your skills then sparring is your next best option for preparing for a street fight. The reality about street fights is that you really don't know how it's going to turn out until the end when it's over. Street fights can be costly to, there's no guarantee that someone won't come out of the blue to double team you or that someone will pull out a weapon. Being arrested or shot by the police is also another possibility.

When people bring up debates about sparring then just tell them them sparring serves the same purpose of military drills and war games that soldiers do. It's not the real thing and non of the major stress factors (like dying) are presents Soldiers know that they are going to train, get some bruises, and every now an then someone will die because of an accident. Sparring is the same way. Students train, they know they are going to get some bruises, and every now and then someone will be seriously injured.

With that said. Don't lump sparring into the same category of purpose. Sparring for point fighting is not the same as sparring for a full contact fight.
 

hoshin1600

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Unless you get into real street fights to test your skills then sparring is your next best option for preparing for a street fight.
i would disagree. i think you are making an assumption based on your own training and experience. this is a common problem. sparring is the best option for preparing for a street fight if that is the best tool you have at your disposal. for most martial arts schools sparring is the best tool based on that school or style's hierarchy of training methodology. (in laymens terms they dont know any better) but there are better methods out there, you just need to learn what they are and how to apply them.

i will say again sparring is really good for skill building like timing, coordination , power, things like that. but it does absolutely nothing to prep you for an actual assault. fighting skills are only a small part of the equation.
 

gpseymour

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i would disagree. i think you are making an assumption based on your own training and experience. this is a common problem. sparring is the best option for preparing for a street fight if that is the best tool you have at your disposal. for most martial arts schools sparring is the best tool based on that school or style's hierarchy of training methodology. (in laymens terms they dont know any better) but there are better methods out there, you just need to learn what they are and how to apply them.
I would argue there aren't "better" methods, but "other" methods. A mix of them likely produces the best result. Most other methods don't contain the same uncertainty as sparring, and vice-versa.
 

hoshin1600

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I would argue there aren't "better" methods, but "other" methods. A mix of them likely produces the best result. Most other methods don't contain the same uncertainty as sparring, and vice-versa.

i see your point but i would counter with the idea that sparring does not re create a street fight but scenario training does. and scenario training can include padded or un padded sparring like conditions that would replace sparring.
 

hoshin1600

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i will admit there should be a mix of different methods used. but that then overrides the idea of there being a "best" to begin with.
 

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