Point System In Sparring


A Kenpo Student

Tonight was the first time I'd ever sparred. I didn't want to ask afterward because I would have thought it rude, but how exactly are points awarded? I know that direct face hitting is out, but are points awarded for combinations only?

At one point my match stopped briefly because I hit my opponent too hard...I apologized several times but even my instructor said "It's fine, it's fine, this happens", but I ended up losing 2-0. I stopped one combination and took some others. I landed about 4 hits. Not sure what exactly I was supposed to be doing, maybe someone can tell me? Again, I could have asked after class, but then it would have sounded like I was mad for not getting any points, and I certainly wasn't---my team won anyway.

But next time I should probably inquire as to what I should be doing.
The problem with point sparring is that you will only receive a point if your point is visible to the judge/ref. Experienced point sparrers will use techniques that allow for maximum visibility. Thus a nice backfist to the top of someones head will allow for all judges to see. Of course, if you hit the top of my hard Serbian head in a fight, your hand will probably break. ;)

As to your question. One point is awarded for a hand strike to the head (padded area), body (not the back or spine), and groin. Two points are awarded for a kick in any of the mentioned targets. Leg kicks are not allowed, sweeps are. Techniques usually need to be clean.

Above rules would be different from school to school, or tournament to tournament.
different places score differently but basicly what has been said is true of all point scoreing. You have to know what will and what will not be called and if a kick to certian parts of the body is worth more than a punch. After that you learn to play I rtouched you first or tag . Enjoy the learning you'll get the idea and soon you'll be haveing a good time. Spead, timeing, and technique should all improve the more you do it, and soon I expect to see your post saying you've won.
Originally posted by A Kenpo Student

next time I should probably inquire as to what I should be doing.

I'd say this is pretty important, especially where contact with others is involved. I'm sure that if you're at a good school, they'll welcome your questions; instead of thinking, "this guy's not willing to figure it out," they'll be thinking, "this guy's on the ball, making sure that he understands what he's supposed to be doing."

At my school, you're not allowed to do any real sparring until you're a yellow belt. When I started, I watched a couple of classes before I joined in. It helped to watch others first.

Originally posted by A Kenpo Student

But next time I should probably inquire as to what I should be doing.

Even through it sounds like you were a little confused it seems like you had some fun. Like everyone said, NORMALLY, there are no leg kicks. I've been in sessions where there are leg kicks (no knee shots, just kicks to the thighs). Our sparring isn't really so much point oriented as much as technique and conditioning oriented. Good control is important and comes with experience, but at the same time it doesn't hurt to know that you can take a "little" shot.

It also allows you to face a person in an agressive manner. This is important in my mind so you can see how you might react when faced with a committed situation where a technique might not have worked or where the attacker is squaring off in a fighting posture.

Personally, I love to spar. I've done the tournament thing and it is cool, but my preference is just doing continuous sparring while training (shrugging it off, and acknowledging when you get popped good) or while traveling around the city and fighting different people (like we used to do back in the day).


p.s. There is normally face contact at Brown and above...:D
We don't points spar, we only do continuous sparring (it's better for stamina that way, plus it's more realistic).

We also strike to any target, at any belt level, although obviously you have to exercise caution around people's knees/eyes etc..

I think I'd find it very difficult indeed to fight in a restricted target, points match. Once I got into my scrappin' frame of mind I'd be putting in groin shots and back shots etc., I'd probably give away far more points than I won that way!

Thanks, guys. I did land one thigh kick but I guess I got pummelled after it. I was also afraid to do any back knuckles because face hitting is out and I was afraid I'd end up hitting her square on the nose if I missed the side of her head. Ah well...I know some more for next time.

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