Sparring with No Head Contact

Gwai Lo Dan

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I hate sparring with no head contact. It's not that I want to kick a guy hard in the head, it's that without head kicks there is such a limited amount of possibilities. I used to joke to my Master that you might as well just hug yourself and you have all your targets blocked; then sure enough I saw at a tournament one school doing this!

I sparred a lower colour belt this week, and now my toes, knee and thigh are all sore from getting kicked. My opponent would kick full power as I started a kick and inevitably I got hit all over my leg. Had head shots been allowed, I would have gone higher.

So in brief...I hate sparring with no head shots!
 
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Gwai Lo Dan

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For colour belts and people over 30 years old, the legal strikes are kicks and straight punches to the front and side of the body.
 

TrueJim

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For colour belts and people over 30 years old, the legal strikes are kicks and straight punches to the front and side of the body.

That's so silly! People over 30 have already lived a rich, full life. They have nothing left to live for except kicking people in the head!

:D
 

Buka

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I've often wondered where the whole no head contact thing started and how it stuck.
 

Tez3

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I like kicking people in the head when sparring, I don't like getting kicked in the head though! :cool:

Low kicks are more useful for self defence so it's never wasted time training them.
 

Tony Dismukes

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For colour belts and people over 30 years old, the legal strikes are kicks and straight punches to the front and side of the body.

So - less than 30% of your opponent is considered a legal target? You don't have to defend any of the targets that an assailant would most likely aim for in a real fight?

Seems like a pretty pointless exercise to me.
 

Tony Dismukes

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For colour belts and people over 30 years old, the legal strikes are kicks and straight punches to the front and side of the body.

So - less than 30% of your opponent is considered a legal target? You don't have to defend any of the targets that an assailant would most likely aim for in a real fight?

Seems like a pretty pointless exercise to me.
 

drop bear

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So - less than 30% of your opponent is considered a legal target? You don't have to defend any of the targets that an assailant would most likely aim for in a real fight?

Seems like a pretty pointless exercise to me.

I have done some kk sparring it is a different game. Tough though.
 
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Gwai Lo Dan

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Seems like a pretty pointless exercise to me.
Like I said, if it's low level and kicks are light, just hug yourself to defend. Seeing this at a tournament really made me wonder "what's the point".
 
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Gwai Lo Dan

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In a lot of cases ... Insurance.
I prefer no contact or very light contact to the head. By no contact, I mean do a turning kick to the head but don't connect. At least this way the other person has to pretend to defend. It only backfired on me once when my opponent slid to the side INTO my turning kick that I was pulling, and he went down. Only once and I felt pretty bad seeing the lump on his face. o_O
 
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Gwai Lo Dan

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I read the above article. I think the important thing is to know how good or how bad you are, and only go into competitive tournaments if you are good. One kid from my school was ok and went into a competitive tournament, and got kicked hard in the head such that he was almost out.

"Full contact" head shots are not worth it IMO, when most of the competitors will never be truly "competitive".

In tournaments, I don't think you can trust that the other person will try not to hurt you. But you should be able to have that trust in your school, and should be able to do tapping (or almost tapping) kicks to the head without too much worry.
 

TrueJim

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Some things to keep in mind about children sparring:
  1. Compared to their bodies, kid's heads are proportionally larger than adult's heads. I think most people know that's true about babies, because the head-size of babies is so obviously exaggerated. But it's also true for children up through puberty. For kids in taekwondo, the head is a bigger target, but also a more fragile target.

    growth3.jpg


    growth4.jpg


  2. One implication of this is that children's neck vertebrae are much more vulnerable than an adult's. A relatively thin neck is supporting a relatively large head. Even if a kick to the head doesn't injure the child's cranium, there's a higher chance of the kick injuring the child's neck.

  3. Another thing to consider is that a child's skeleton is not entirely bone yet - this is true even for older children. Children's skeletons have a tough cartilage that ossifies into bone as they become adults. When you look at an x-ray of a child, you'll see all sorts of bones that look like they're not connected with one another as they would be in an adult. That tough cartilage is holding kids together, not their bones. Here's what the skeleton of a newborn looks like, for example. You'll notice that it looks like a bunch of disconnected bones. That persists to a decreasing extent until puberty.

    gech_0001_0004_0_img0251.jpg


  4. One of the great things about martial arts, sports, etc. is that practicing martial arts helps accelerate the development of a child's gross-motor skills (i.e., the ability to coordinate the movements of large muscles, as opposed to fine motor skills: the ability to coordinate small muscles like finger and toe muscles). But even with martial arts training, as a rule-of-thumb the gross motor skills of children aren't going to be as good yet as those of adults. It's not because children don't have enough practice: it's because children generally don't yet have the right neurology yet to achieve the level of control that they'll have later in life. (Some children are gifted in this area, of course - we can all cite examples of children with amazing gross-motor skills. That'll only improve as they get older.)

    The upshot is that children generally don't have as much control in sparring as an adult does. Depending on the circumstances, a child aiming at the side of the head is comparatively more likely than an adult to miss the side of the head and hit the face or neck instead.
I'm not suggesting that children shouldn't spar. My young son lives to spar. My only point is that - physiologically - children are not like "smaller versions of adults". They have a unique physiology all their own. They are not built like we are.

Reference:

GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT

Skeletal Development - symptoms stages meaning average Definition Description Common problems
 

Laplace_demon

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Which sparring is this - WTF, ITF or something else?

I was told the rules for lower level/amateur ITF competition and it was an incredibly muddy description. We are not allowed to kick/punch the face, although it depends exactly where. Yet it was at first a categorical statement that we can't strike the face.
 
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Gwai Lo Dan

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I'm referring to WTF. For non-competitive tournaments (i.e., the ones that don't lead to another tournament, that everyone enters for fun) in my area, there are no head kicks for all colour belts, black belts under 14 or 16 (not sure), and adults over 30.
 

Earl Weiss

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I've often wondered where the whole no head contact thing started and how it stuck.
Heard a "Story" once how MA training was barred in the military and other places, and if you showed up with face bruises it gave away your secret. Body bruises are easily hidden by clothing.
 

Dirty Dog

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We have head strikes at all ages and ranks. But the lower the age and/or rank, the lighter the contact (that actually holds true for body contact as well). And although there are certainly matches with significant contact, none of us ever really go full contact.
There is little or no benefit to going home bruised every day, nor to suffering serial concussions.

Master Weiss, I've heard stories like that too, but I strongly doubt there is any truth to them. I started training in 1969. I was a military brat. Pretty much every school I attended (at least until college) was on or near a military base and had a large percentage of soldiers in the classes.
 

Tony Dismukes

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Heard a "Story" once how MA training was barred in the military and other places, and if you showed up with face bruises it gave away your secret. Body bruises are easily hidden by clothing.

Master Weiss, I've heard stories like that too, but I strongly doubt there is any truth to them

Yeah, I'm not aware of any period where martial arts training was forbidden for service members. Showing up for work with black eyes and facial bruising would probably be more of a problem for those in white collar professions.
 
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