Sparring with Students - Not my words. Just a perspective of a martial arts teacher

Xue Sheng

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One of the more inspirational events in my martial arts career came around 15 years ago when our local Judo club hosted a seminar taught by a group of senior Judo instructors from Japan who were touring the U.S. teaching the Nage no Kata. There were about a dozen instructors, all high level black belts, ranging in age from 65 to 80 years old. After the instructional portion of the seminar was over, the teachers all lined up to do randori (free grappling) with all the students. I was paired up with a 70 year old gentleman who very politely allowed me to try every trick I knew to throw him. Once it became clear that I couldnt unbalance him even a little bit, he effortlessly dumped me with a foot sweep and went on to the next student.

I decided that this was exactly what I wanted to be doing when I reached 70, sharing knowledge and sparring with the youngsters.

Im only 57 now, so Im focused on keeping myself healthy and uninjured in the hopes of still being able to spar when I reach 70. I typically spar about 10-20 rounds per week in my current training, but my priorities are always:
  1. Keep myself safe.
  2. Keep my partner safe.
  3. Learn something.
  4. Have fun.
  5. Winning the round is a very distant 5th place priority. Its a nice ego boost when I can dominate a younger, more athletic sparring partner, but I would be foolish to think that I could expect to do that every time. Even if I could, it would be bad for my growth as a martial artist. If none of my sparring partners were capable of kicking my butt, then I would be heading for complacency and stagnation.

My taijiquan shifu, when in his 70s, did some pretty intense push hands with me rather regularly.... he also regularly unbalanced me and put me on the floor....and he somehow stayed very relaxed and was usually smiling when he did it
 

Gerry Seymour

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My taijiquan shifu, when in his 70s, did some pretty intense push hands with me rather regularly.... he also regularly unbalanced me and put me on the floor....and he somehow stayed very relaxed and was usually smiling when he did it
I did some push hands with a Taiji practitioner some years ago. Embarrassed me.and he had a broken foot at the time.
 
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