abe_tz

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Can one only become a good fighter and be prepared for a fight if they spar? Or is simply learning the form and ingraining those movements into one's reflexes just as efficient?
 

Bill Mattocks

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Can one only become a good fighter and be prepared for a fight if they spar? Or is simply learning the form and ingraining those movements into one's reflexes just as efficient?

There is no good answer to this. Everyone is different, every situation is different.

First, we must ask what you mean by 'good fighter'. Do you mean someone capable of defending themselves outside of the martial arts environment, as in self-defense?

Then we must ask what you mean by 'sparring'. Do you mean one-point touch-based tournament sparring? Full-contact? Something in between?

Of course, a lot depends on the person, their training, and what they are trying to get out of it. One person might simply practice what they are taught and never spar, and yet be able to put that training into use in a self-defense situation. Another might be terrific at point-sparring in tournaments and not be able to defend themselves worth a lick when the need arises.

It is often said that we will respond as we are trained. Train to hit hard, we hit hard. Train to lightly touch, and we lightly touch. I used to believe this as well. I don't anymore.

People are complex creatures. Self-defense fighting is a very different situation than anything (thankfully) most people ever face. It is extremely difficult to make general statements about what is best for any individual person with regard to their ability to defend themselves in a self-defense situation.
 

JowGaWolf

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Can one only become a good fighter and be prepared for a fight if they spar? Or is simply learning the form and ingraining those movements into one's reflexes just as efficient?
Yes, but with exceptions. People who spar and prepare for a fight almost always doe better with fighting than those who don't spar or prepare to fight. Can you be a good doctor without practicing medicine or training to be a doctor?
Can you be a good singer without practicing and training to be a singer? Keep in mind that training is an action that you do repetitively that makes you better than you were before the training.

We train the things that we want to be good with.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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Can one only become a good fighter and be prepared for a fight if they spar? Or is simply learning the form and ingraining those movements into one's reflexes just as efficient?
Not sparring and just practicing in the air is definitely not as efficient as sparring and practicing technique. I would argue that it's not sufficient as well. IMO you can't become a good fighter without sparring. However, just sparring won't make you a good fighter. If I had no experience but me and my brother or a friend sparred every day for years, even if we made a ring and gave ourselves 3 3-minute rounds and went full contact, we would probably both lose horribly if we tried to fight someone who trained at a gym or dojo with sparring for the same amount of time.
Now if me or my friend did that every day, and fought with someone who went to a dojo for the same amount of time but never sparred (Assuming neither of us went into a rage or froze on the spot etc.), I would honestly bet on hypothetical me to win. Can't say for sure but IMO the experience fighting and slowly figuring things out on our own would trump someone who has all the technical knowledge in their head but has never tried any of it out on another person.
 

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Uh oh

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Kung Fu Wang

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Can one only become a good fighter and be prepared for a fight if they spar?
You can only "test" your skill through sparring. You cannot "develop" any skill through sparring. Your skill can only be "developed" through "partner drill".

For example, no matter how many rounds that you may have done your sparring, you will never suddenly execute a perfect "flying knee", "spin hook kick", or "hip throw" in your sparring. In other words, you will never use any new moves that you have not trained. You just repeat doing what you like to do. In the long run, your skill will be limited.

Also, the technique is only the 50%. The other 50% is the ability (such as strength, speed, balance, flexibility, ...) that you can't obtain from just sparring.
 
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Touch Of Death

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You can only "test" your skill through sparring. You cannot "develop" any skill through sparring. Your skill can only be "developed" through "partner drill".

For example, no matter how many rounds that you may have done your sparring, you will never suddenly execute a perfect "flying knee", "spin hook kick", or "hip throw" in your sparring. In other words, you will never use any new moves that you have not trained. You just repeat doing what you like to do. In the long run, your skill will be limited.

Also, the technique is only the 50%. The other 50% is the ability (such as strength, speed, balance, flexibility, ...) that you can't obtain from just sparring.
I don't think I could disagree more. Sparring is the perfect place to try new things. Especially if you limit yourself to the new things. Free sparing should never be free. Work on something. It's OK. :)
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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You can only "test" your skill through sparring. You cannot "develop" any skill through sparring. Your skill can only be "developed" through "partner drill".

For example, no matter how many rounds that you may have done your sparring, you will never suddenly execute a perfect "flying knee", "spin hook kick", or "hip throw" in your sparring. In other words, you will never use any new moves that you have not trained. You just repeat doing what you like to do. In the long run, your skill will be limited.

Also, the technique is only the 50%. The other 50% is the ability (such as strength, speed, balance, flexibility, ...) that you can't obtain from just sparring.
If you're consciously thinking about your sparring, and what you are doing, you'll practice using new strategies and techniques all the time.
 

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I have been "sparing" once a week on top of regular classes. I have learned some good practical application of normal weekly training (which does include some minor contact). I am too old to enter the ring for MMA fighting or boxing, but from a basic self defense standpoint what I am learning most at this point is to overcome the fear, panic of getting hit - particularly in the head. This appears to be what my instructor wished to help us with - not freezing up or falling apart when someone hits you. I am still not there yet - my instructor got a good hook in to my head while boxing sparing a month ago - and I am still dealing with the emotions of it (sorry if that makes me sound like a Pu$$y). We have also done 3-1 with the boxing gloves, hits coming in from all sides, and that was also a major thing to get over.
 

Touch Of Death

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I have been "sparing" once a week on top of regular classes. I have learned some good practical application of normal weekly training (which does include some minor contact). I am too old to enter the ring for MMA fighting or boxing, but from a basic self defense standpoint what I am learning most at this point is to overcome the fear, panic of getting hit - particularly in the head. This appears to be what my instructor wished to help us with - not freezing up or falling apart when someone hits you. I am still not there yet - my instructor got a good hook in to my head while boxing sparing a month ago - and I am still dealing with the emotions of it (sorry if that makes me sound like a Pu$$y). We have also done 3-1 with the boxing gloves, hits coming in from all sides, and that was also a major thing to get over.
Cover up and rest, while you plot various evils. :)
 

Andrew Green

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Can one only become a good fighter and be prepared for a fight if they spar? Or is simply learning the form and ingraining those movements into one's reflexes just as efficient?

Think about this question in any other context. Can you be a good swimmer without swimming? Can you be a good driver without ever driving a car? Can you be a good basketball player without ever playing a game?

You might be able to get more prepared then "the other guy", but calling yourself good at something you've never actually done seems kind of odd.
 

LeftchopFTW

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Think about this question in any other context. Can you be a good swimmer without swimming? Can you be a good driver without ever driving a car? Can you be a good basketball player without ever playing a game?

You might be able to get more prepared then "the other guy", but calling yourself good at something you've never actually done seems kind of odd.

That is spot on buddy!

That is a great answer to a really good question.

I would 100% agree with you.

Once again buddy great opinion, great point and I am picking up what you are throwing down my brother.

Kind Regards

LCFTW
 

Bill Mattocks

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Think about this question in any other context. Can you be a good swimmer without swimming? Can you be a good driver without ever driving a car? Can you be a good basketball player without ever playing a game?

You might be able to get more prepared then "the other guy", but calling yourself good at something you've never actually done seems kind of odd.

The other side of this coin is that a driver actually practices by driving. A swimmer practices swimming by getting in the water and swimming. Sparring, even with moderate to heavy contact, is not fighting. It resembles fighting in some ways. It is similar to fighting. But fighting it is not.

So I don't think you can directly compare the one to the other. The only way to practice fighting in a self-defense context is to fight in a self-defense context. A more logical argument would be, can you learn to drive by driving a simulator? That's a more apt comparison.

Also, I threw this out there, but please do not ignore it. In my experience, even people who have trained for combat, such as in the military, do not all respond the same way when faced with such situations. Some fight, some freeze, some run away, some freak out. And you can't predict which one will do what; even though they all had the exact same training.

I just don't think there is any realistic way to practice for pure self-defense that is 'better' than another type of training in a provable way. Everyone has their opinions, but that's what they are; opinions. There are no 'facts' other than our own experiences and things we've seen and heard, and those do not constitute facts, they constitute anecdotal evidence.
 

JowGaWolf

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what I am learning most at this point is to overcome the fear, panic of getting hit
- particularly in the head
This is a common fear for many people so don't feel bad about it. This fear slowly goes away as you do more and more contact sparring. Ironically fearing getting hit has the opposite effect, it seems to cause people to get hit more in the place they don't want to get hit.

Here's how I got over it. I analyzed my defenses and I identified the things on my body that I can't condition and the things on my body that I can condition.
1. Head - I can't condition so my head gets priority defense.
2. Arms can be conditioned so I don't worry about defending them as much
3. Ribs can't be conditioned so I know I need to protect my ribs. If my arms are conditioned then I can use my arms as a shield and if I can prevent the hit from landing solid then my ribs and arms should be fine.
4. Stomach. - I can condition that and no defense is really needed as long as I don't take a direct hit. Moving with the force of a punch to the stomach or moving so the punch or glances my stomach should keep it safe long enough for me to finish the fight.
5. Legs - I can't use my hands to protect my legs because then that takes them away from guarding my head and punching my opponent. This means that I need to make sure that my legs can defend themselves with leg checks, kicks, conditioning, and strong stances and quick movement. The better my legs can do this the less likely I'll need to use my hands to help.

Now everything is fairly covered and I'm not so worried about getting hit. Some areas have a higher priority depending on who I'm fighting. I don't know if something like this would help you, but it has worked fairly well for me.
 

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:) Training w/o sparring, then make sure you only fight women, children and old men.

That all depends upon your definition of fighting. Are you defining fighting as being in a ring with rules and a referee, or maybe being accosted by a drunk at a bar, or maybe it's attempting to keep the thugs that have jumped you from killing you for your phone, or it could also be the insurgent that snuck up behind you and is trying to wrest your rifle away from you. What sort of fighting are you talking about? I've done very little sparring, but have had more than my share of fighting, none of it with children or old men.
 

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That all depends upon your definition of fighting. Are you defining fighting as being in a ring with rules and a referee, or maybe being accosted by a drunk at a bar, or maybe it's attempting to keep the thugs that have jumped you from killing you for your phone, or it could also be the insurgent that snuck up behind you and is trying to wrest your rifle away from you. What sort of fighting are you talking about? I've done very little sparring, but have had more than my share of fighting, none of it with children or old men.

All of the above. And punching someone in the face to KO them, works anywhere.
 

crazydiamond

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This is a common fear for many people so don't feel bad about it. This fear slowly goes away as you do more and more contact sparring. Ironically fearing getting hit has the opposite effect, it seems to cause people to get hit more in the place they don't want to get hit.

Thanks.

I am kind of sorta just getting "used" to taps to the head. I This includes putting my cloves up and just dealing with a hit though my gloves pressed to my head. My fellow students (beginners) tend to be as kind as I am when light sparing - and they are at my level in terms of speed. I am 50 and started when I was 49.

My instructor however is 3 degree black belt and one time MMA fighter. He pushed a little more on the intensity and frankly when I went to hit him, he came in so quick I could not see it coming. I did not freeze, or stop hitting back or defending and was able to lightly catch him with a counter cross - but I will be honest that was the hardest I have been hit and I kind of had to process that feeling for a long while after classes.

From a self defense perspective I think I am better suited not to crumble or panic if I am caught with a punch now in the real world - and I would work harder as you say to defend against it.
 

FriedRice

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I am 50 and started when I was 49.

but I will be honest that was the hardest I have been hit and I kind of had to process that feeling for a long while after classes.

From a self defense perspective I think I am better suited not to crumble or panic if I am caught with a punch now in the real world - and I would work harder as you say to defend against it.

Buy good headgear, like $80-100 that Boxers use, and not the junk that many TMA schools train with, made by Century, Pro Force... You are taking a lot of risks at your age with head shots...sparring, even with the agreed upon, light level, can spike to hard at times when people get mad....but it's true, getting hit pretty hard and often, is apart of real Self Defense training.
 

Andrew Green

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The other side of this coin is that a driver actually practices by driving. A swimmer practices swimming by getting in the water and swimming. Sparring, even with moderate to heavy contact, is not fighting. It resembles fighting in some ways. It is similar to fighting. But fighting it is not.

Perhaps, but the goal is simulating reality as close as you can. If you are going to train for a fight (boxing, mama, may thai, etc) you are going to spar, and spar pretty hard. It's still not a fight, but you want to get close. If you are going to go into space, you're going to spend time in simulators.

It's also a build up. You don't muck around on dry land doing exercises about diving then step up onto the 10 meter and go for a fancy dive. You build up, one step at a time. Are you saying that because I can't actually do a couple flips off the 10 meter I should not bother with training on the tower until I have to try it for the first time?

All that said, who cares? Most of us are never going to get in a street fight in our life. Do what's fun for you, if you don't like sparring then don't spar. But in that fantasy world where fights happen as frequent as in kung fu movies the person who trained the closest to reality is going to be at an advantage.
 
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