Kids and Hard Sparring

jks9199

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I have to disagree with you here. Kids vary a lot in mass--for example, we have a 45 lb 7 year old and a 90 lb 8 year old in one of our classes. So the 90 lb kid can definitely hurt the 45 lb kid. Since kids' competition divisions are usually determined by age, not weight, I see this kind of size inequity a lot.

My older son just turned 12, so he'll be fighting in the 12-13 division next year. He weighs about 80 lbs (maybe a little less). A lot of the kids in that division are bigger than me. I just hope he's fast enough to avoid most of the hard hits.

How do you define contact levels? Do you define "full" as the same level of power/speed you would use to say, break multiple boards?
Pet peeve: kid's divisions for competition should be by age and weight/size. It doesn't have to be a 10 lb division... but you have to be real about the differences, too. I've seen absurd divisions like "13 and under" and "12 to 17." There are significant developmental differences at various points -- and it's just not fair to put someone up against an opponent half again their size for competition.
 
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Stac3y

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Pet peeve: kid's divisions for competition should be by age and weight/size. It doesn't have to be a 10 lb division... but you have to be real about the differences, too. I've seen absurd divisions like "13 and under" and "12 to 17." There are significant developmental differences at various points -- and it's just not fair to put someone up against an opponent half again their size for competition.

I strongly agree with you. The main organization we compete within has fairly reasonable age divisions for the kids; they are in 2 year increments. Even so, I think they should at least be broken into tall and short or by weight within the divisions, owing to the difference in growth patterns in different kids. They do have some weird divisions like you mention for kata, but not for sparring, thankfully.
 

searcher

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At my school the type of contact and how hard it is depends on what the student is training for. If they are a "knockdown" or "semi-knockdown" student the contact is pretty hard, but with very specific rules governing targets. If the kid is training for a sport karate event, the contact level is lessened with a different set of targets. For the most part, my students under age 16 are there just for karate training and confidence building.

For the average student, we try to start their experience with sparring within the first week of classes with a more experienced student(one who has control) or one of the instructors. Students have the option of buying headgear with a facemask, but are not required. Nobody is ever allowed to have groin contact or hit to the spine side of the body. Elbows are allowed, as well as knees, but the elbows must be nothing more than a light touch and knees can be hard to the body with no contact to the head. Myself and my instructors keep on top of the action and we will stop the sparring before it degrades into a brawl. As far as their contact level, we let them go hard and they love it. The funny thing about it is, the kids who spar with the hard contact learn so much faster than the lighter contact sport karate kids I teach(I am not basshing sport karate) and they also have a lower injury rate.

Now, what is my reasoining for having harder contact in my kids classes? Simple, I do NOT want my students to be out on the playground, get hit by a bully or someone else, and crumple into a pile of crying child. I have some very small students, for the age that they are, that have been the targets of bullies and we have witnessed a change in their demeanor by training with the harder contact. They are not scared of getting hit and they can deal with the pain of getting hit quite well(obviously we prefer that they do not get hit). It allows them to deal with the situation with a calm head.

Am I barbaric? You betcha. And I will continue to be barbaric as long as I live.
 

Tez3

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Hard contact is better for training but as I said you have to watch the contact to the head not cut it out just realise they can't get hit in the head every session ie twice a week every week. Getting hit that often means to me that the training isn't good as surely the idea is too avoid being hit!
I have no problem with full contact we do it but we just watch the head shots aren't too often.
 

searcher

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True Tez3. I also wonder how many times per week everyone spars and what you all do to prevent injury.

I have my students spar, currently, once per week. Sometimes we spar twice a week and might roll another time.

To prevent injury to the neck, or at least lessen the risk, I have my students perform neck exercises in each class. A stronger neck helps with minimizing the whiplash effect of taking a hit(less brain sloshing). The neck exercises mixed with rigorous exercise and conditioning routines has help ruduce our injury rates even more.
 

ETinCYQX

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Exactly! I think kids should always start in grappling, and then add striking later, if they decide to go that route.

I'm starting my son in wrestling this year, and he's 5.

As much as I wish I had started a grappling art that young, I'm 18 and I've hurt myself worse on the ground than I ever have in 12 years of TKD.
 

xfighter88

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At my school the type of contact and how hard it is depends on what the student is training for. If they are a "knockdown" or "semi-knockdown" student the contact is pretty hard, but with very specific rules governing targets. If the kid is training for a sport karate event, the contact level is lessened with a different set of targets. For the most part, my students under age 16 are there just for karate training and confidence building.

For the average student, we try to start their experience with sparring within the first week of classes with a more experienced student(one who has control) or one of the instructors. Students have the option of buying headgear with a facemask, but are not required. Nobody is ever allowed to have groin contact or hit to the spine side of the body. Elbows are allowed, as well as knees, but the elbows must be nothing more than a light touch and knees can be hard to the body with no contact to the head. Myself and my instructors keep on top of the action and we will stop the sparring before it degrades into a brawl. As far as their contact level, we let them go hard and they love it. The funny thing about it is, the kids who spar with the hard contact learn so much faster than the lighter contact sport karate kids I teach(I am not basshing sport karate) and they also have a lower injury rate.

Now, what is my reasoining for having harder contact in my kids classes? Simple, I do NOT want my students to be out on the playground, get hit by a bully or someone else, and crumple into a pile of crying child. I have some very small students, for the age that they are, that have been the targets of bullies and we have witnessed a change in their demeanor by training with the harder contact. They are not scared of getting hit and they can deal with the pain of getting hit quite well(obviously we prefer that they do not get hit). It allows them to deal with the situation with a calm head.

Am I barbaric? You betcha. And I will continue to be barbaric as long as I live.


Your school sounds very similar to my school and how I teach. Nice to know that I am not the only "barbarian" out there.

P.S. Long live CrossFit!
 

Bruno@MT

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Why are we in a church or why do I need to keep things softer for the students?

No, you seemed to say that because you are in a church, you needed to keep things soft. I can understand both positions (being in a church or keeping things soft) but not why one implies the other.
 

dancingalone

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No, you seemed to say that because you are in a church, you needed to keep things soft. I can understand both positions (being in a church or keeping things soft) but not why one implies the other.

SOFTER compared to my private dojo, but not necessarily soft. But of course this is a relative term.

As for the connection between our location and the contact level, it should be evident. I don't think our priest would like it if the children had frequent bruises and minor injuries nor would the parents I believe. Meanwhile this is common place at my private dojo where we are all adults and the social compact calls for a high degree of intensity in training and contact level.
 
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