Pads in Sparring

FearlessFreep

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Some background, I'm 35 yrs old and just getting into sparring the last month and a half or so, so I'm still very new at it. I'm still not sparring at full speed/strength and most of us in the class are still green belts and below so we're still gettinga our feet wet.

Now, when I first started, I wore a hogu but nothing else. This didn't bother me and some early techniques I learned I sorta realized would not work in a more full power approach. For example, I got used to blocking a roundhouse with a downblock and coming back with a quick erverse punch if the kick left them open. However, I quickly figured out that if we were going full power that just blocking like that would be painful, so I resolved to improve my footwork for evasions and better counter-strikes.

However, I've been sparring against this guy more recently and regularly. A green belt, mid 40s, about 6'3". He insists on me wearing the shin and arm pads when sparring him as he doesn't want to get himself hurt hitting me. I actually think I don't like this; we're still being told to use 'light contact' so we're not blasting into each other as it is. At light-contact, with armor (so to speak) it's too easy and too tempting to just absorb and brush off the attacks and I think I'm falling into bad habits that could hurt me later on. I'd almost rather not use pads and take the pain and use it as an educational thing ('if it hurts to do it, next time do something else') So I think at the light-contact level of still just practicing, it' be better off not using shin and arm guards.

Do I have a point?

Last week I spared with my friend (different guy) and we didn't use pads at first and then I put on some foot pads (like kicking with pillows on your feet) and he put on some hand/wrist pads (he wanted to practice more close-in stff). We were still light-contact (he's trying to get back into shape, I'm trying to learn better tactics/strategy so it was a mutual benefit thing, not a beat'em up thing). I found with the foot pads, I could be more aggressive and kick with some force without hurting him. I think without the shin/arm pads I was learning better stuff as far as how to attack smartly and how to evade.
 
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FearlessFreep

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Also, I must admit that with my normal partner having the tendancy to just stand there and absorb the blows (he wears the arm pads and his fighting stance tends to keep his hands in so getting a shot into the chest), I'm *very* tempted to step up how much power I use and just whacks his arms, hopefully with enough force to get him to learn to move a bit more (and hopefully with enough force to make him flinch and open up some more) We're doing light contact, but I admit I'm tempted to ratchet 'light' up a few notches
 

shane23ss

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Well, lets see. You have made good points here. It's kind of hard to say which is best. Obviously the pads are there to protect you and your partner from injury, but with "light" contact, there shouldn't really be much danger of injury occurring if both of you use excellent control. My own personal opinion is to use very little, if any pads while you guys are working out in the "light" mode. The reason I say that is basically what you have said. You need to get use to taking a hit or knowing how it feels to hit some one in a particular place. If you don't really know what it feels like to get hit or hit, then when it happens, it will be a shock to you and throw your mindset off. I agree with you about seeing what works and what doesn't in sparring. With pads, it's sometimes easy to take a hit to an area that you probably wouldn't be able to without them. My suggestion is to work out without the pads while you are in the "light" training mode. If your friend refuses to do so, then (with respect to your school and instructor) pick it up a notch so you can get a good work out. You never know, your friend may be willing to do the same.
 

Miles

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FearlessFreep said:
Some background, I'm 35 yrs old and just getting into sparring the last month and a half or so, so I'm still very new at it. I'm still not sparring at full speed/strength and most of us in the class are still green belts and below so we're still gettinga our feet wet..
Congratulations Jay, sparring is what most students prefer doing (no offense to the Poomsae lovers)

FearlessFreep said:
Now, when I first started, I wore a hogu but nothing else. This didn't bother me and some early techniques I learned I sorta realized would not work in a more full power approach. For example, I got used to blocking a roundhouse with a downblock and coming back with a quick erverse punch if the kick left them open. However, I quickly figured out that if we were going full power that just blocking like that would be painful, so I resolved to improve my footwork for evasions and better counter-strikes.
This sounds like what is called "cover punch." If you time your block/punch correctly, you are knocking someone over before they've achieved full extension on their kick. It is not painful if you've done some conditioning on your arms-regardless of whether you decide to wear arm pads (which I recommend anyway).

FearlessFreep said:
However, I've been sparring against this guy more recently and regularly. A green belt, mid 40s, about 6'3". He insists on me wearing the shin and arm pads when sparring him as he doesn't want to get himself hurt hitting me.
Actually, the pads are meant to protect you...if you are wearing shin and arm pads...or are you referring to the booties/gloves? Regardless, if your instructor says to wear them, he/she may have good reasons even if you are not going full bore (insurance and liability come to mind).

FearlessFreep said:
At light-contact, with armor (so to speak) it's too easy and too tempting to just absorb and brush off the attacks and I think I'm falling into bad habits that could hurt me later on. I'd almost rather not use pads and take the pain and use it as an educational thing.
No, wear them. If nothing else, think about the added weight as training. At the other end of the spectrum, you are at least realizing the limitations of moving with the pads. A bit later in your training, you may be going full-blast and you'll likely find that even wearing a hogu isn't all that much protection-we do drills wearing 2 hogus when we really want to blast each other. There's a reason why pain hurts-you want to avoid that-if you are able to use your footwork to avoid an attack, why sit there and take a shot? I'm always telling my folks, "Best defense, not be there!" (in my mock-Mr. Miyagi voice)

Miles
 

TX_BB

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I'm big on using things that slow the rate of injuries pads do that. They also allow you to train when your recuperative powers have been diminished by age. Most instructors I know want you to gain proficiency in sparring prior to toughness in combat. As an advanced belt you generally get to spar with no equipment.

You do raise the chances of injury when only one is padded. You reduce the padding by 50% when hitting a padded area(generally the legal scorring areas). You reduce the padding by 100% when hitting the unpadded areas (generally the illegal areas).

I'm not against sparring with out pads I'd just like knowing that who ever is sparring with me can take what they dish out. -There are no mistakes just questions that need to be answered.
 

TigerWoman

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I didn't get any arm pads until blue belt and I wish I had before then. Some young BB guys just loved to pummel me and blocking was painful. Yes, someone finally complained on them. If your regular sparring partner was more active throwing round kicks harder, you would be blocking those and sometimes the elbow gets into the foot/shin area. That can be major pain if you don't wear shin and instep guards. Before I got mine, I had bruises which made walking painful later. We don't wear anything except chestgear and headgear while light sparring-usually just drilling. Regular sparring is med-hard contact. You will want those pads. Accidents happen then and it is a safety measure. TW
 

Adept

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I'm not a fan of pads of any kind. I only wear gloves so that I dont hurt people too badly if I hit them.

I train to improve my RBSD skills, and you will fight the way you train. Sparring is just training, and I want it to be as close to reality as possible.
 

Spookey

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Fearless,

I am merely one of the many varying opinions on this board...here is my theory see how it compares to yours!

First, in TKD we practice what is called forgeing (or toughening) of the bones for the purpose of impact. If you feel pain on impact of a block, that is notification that you need to work on forging the blocking tool. Remeber a block is often intended to injure the attacker just as is a strike.

Also, padding which protects your feet from impact (equal to if not moreso for protection of the target) provides a false since of security in ability. Wait until your bare instep contacts an elbow at speed...guess which one usually receives most damage. Therefore, you must train to avoid these types of happenings as you cannot afford to not bare weight (due to a broken foot) on both feet during a self defense situation.

Now, for moderate to heavy contact we will recommend helmet and hogu to protect the vital organs, but the hands, forearms, feet, and shins are forged during such training, and also as you said this provides a great "learning experience"

If you plan on kicking during a life or death incounter, plant for the worst case senario (you may be barefooted, ie park, beach, pool). Broke feet dont make a stable base and defenitely dont provide for a rapid retreat!

TAEKWON!
Spookey
 

Marginal

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FearlessFreep said:
Also, I must admit that with my normal partner having the tendancy to just stand there and absorb the blows (he wears the arm pads and his fighting stance tends to keep his hands in so getting a shot into the chest), I'm *very* tempted to step up how much power I use and just whacks his arms, hopefully with enough force to get him to learn to move a bit more (and hopefully with enough force to make him flinch and open up some more) We're doing light contact, but I admit I'm tempted to ratchet 'light' up a few notches

Hm. Someone keeping their hands up and blocking incoming shots with their arms isn't "wrong" per se.
 

Zepp

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IMHO, there isn't really a best way to use or not use pads in sparring. With more padding, you and your sparring partner won't be as affected by the impacts as much, and there's a gentler learning curve. With less padding, you and your partner need to hold back more. This goes for padding on any part of the body. To borrow a phrase that's been used here on MartialTalk before, "you're trading one reality for another."

For now, I think you should just do whatever your sparring partner needs you to do to for him to feel safe. If your instructor wants you guys to lose the pads, he'll say something. Besides, there are more valuable lessons to be learned from sparring than just how to absorb an impact.

That's my half a cent.
 
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greyghost

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For me it depends on whom I am sparring with. If its a newer rank who doesn't have control yet, I want my C-gear (hands) for blocking and maybe shin pads.

If it's someone that is a hard-hitter on purpose, I wear all my gear so I can wail back. I don't have chest gear though, or arm pads.

If the person I will be working with is lighter and we are working more on technique, then, nothing.

Most of the time you don't have the option to choose, so I just wear everything. Just in case.
 

shane23ss

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Seems to be some different opinions here, but mainly sticking to the wearing of pads is better. I have never trained in TKD, but in my own experiences, the only pads ever worn in my school were gloves and headgear (headgear sometimes). I'm undecided if arm and leg pads are a benefit. Like I said, we never used them. Maybe if we would have, we would have had more than 25 or so students at any given time.:idunno:
 

Colin_Linz

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I should point out that I dont do TKD, but I think the topic is fairly broad ranging accross the arts. It depends on where you want the focus of the training to be for that lesson. Pads are a great safety tool, but they can change the way participants react in sparring. Sometimes its good to have no pads so people behave more realistic.

In the early 1900s in Japan there was a Karate club that wanted to do more than Kata. They started using personnel protective equipment from other arts so the could randori with each other safely. It then became difficult to judge who had won because they would just charge in and the blows had little effect. They then decided that the loser would be the first person to fall down. Once they had established this they found that it was easier to trip or throw the opponent to the ground then punch or kick them, so they stoped learning Karate and went to Judo.
 

Miles

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Colin_Linz said:
I should point out that I dont do TKD, but I think the topic is fairly broad ranging accross the arts. It depends on where you want the focus of the training to be for that lesson. Pads are a great safety tool, but they can change the way participants react in sparring. Sometimes its good to have no pads so people behave more realistic.

In the early 1900s in Japan there was a Karate club that wanted to do more than Kata. They started using personnel protective equipment from other arts so the could randori with each other safely. It then became difficult to judge who had won because they would just charge in and the blows had little effect. They then decided that the loser would be the first person to fall down. Once they had established this they found that it was easier to trip or throw the opponent to the ground then punch or kick them, so they stoped learning Karate and went to Judo.
Colin,

Shorinji Kempo was an art I always wanted to study-the story of Doshin So featuring Sonny Chiba is a pretty cool movie.

Have you seen the photos of Mabuni Kenwa Sensei wearing catcher's equipment sparring one of his students? Are you referring to shito-ryu above? I'd like to see what the sparring looked like back then.

Miles
 

Colin_Linz

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Miles said:
Colin,

Shorinji Kempo was an art I always wanted to study-the story of Doshin So featuring Sonny Chiba is a pretty cool movie.

Have you seen the photos of Mabuni Kenwa Sensei wearing catcher's equipment sparring one of his students? Are you referring to shito-ryu above? I'd like to see what the sparring looked like back then.

Miles
Sonny Chiba made another movie with Shorinji Kempo as the focus, it was one of his street fighter movies called Sister Street Fighter. The movie you are talking about was called Shorinji Kempo in Japan, but when they released it in the US they changed the name to Killing Machine
unfortunately.


I think I may have seen those pics, they seem familiar. We used to use
Kendo Dos in our randori before we developed the ones that we use now.


To be honest I cant remember what type of Karate it was. The story came from one of Doshin Sos lectures on randori and the use of bogu. I will see if I can track it down in my notes and let you know.
 
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FearlessFreep

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Well, I put on pads today as my partner insisted. I went for a rear-leg roundhouse, he went for a spinning back kick, my shin met his heel...and suddenly my opinion changed
 

CanuckMA

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Wear the pads. Shin on shin, half speed, the swelling, bruise and soreness took 2 months to heal.
 

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