The Sparring Paradox

K

Kenpo Yahoo

Guest
I was wondering how everyone approaches the idea of sparring.

Do you focus mainly on tournament style (mostly point sparring)?
Do you work continuous sparring (i.e. a certain amount of time)?
Do you work NHB style fighting?
What's your approach?

Now to the heart of things. Why, in kenpo, do we spend years upon years to master intricate techniques for our self-defense, yet in it comes to sparring we revert to Tae Kwon Do style actions (either that or we end up boxing). Why is this? I only bring it up because I've recently seen footage of some of the old IKC tournaments and it seems that everyone seemed to be doing the same thing. Sure some kicked more often (and perhaps a lot higher), but the approach appeared to be the same. Maybe some of you will say tournament rules dictate your approach. Okay, that's fine, then what do you personally do to train your kenpo in a realistic environment? Have you ever tried any of your "stuff" on an uncompliant body (even if the resistance level is only 20%).

If not, how do you know that what your doing will work? Have you field tested in some other way? I know that some out there may be bouncers at the local bar, but do you find yourself using more kenpo or more of something else? Any security or law enforcement personel out there want to key in, feel free.

Hopefully subsequent answers will provide a one of two things:
1) A look at how the sparring curriculum reflect the individuals study of kenpo (not the other way around)

and

2) A look at how individuals train to make the intricate and technical moves in AK, practical and realistic.

Now for the disclaimer (I still have a bad taste in my mouth from other Forums): This is not meant to be disrespectful in any manner, so don't take it that way. It is simply meant to promote discussion among intelligent individuals. Please ignore this post if you are not capable of intelligent discussion.

Respectfully
 
Some look at sparring as a glorified game of tag. I've never had
the opportunity to do it. But how else would you know how to
parry or block a TRUE punch? I would think sparring would
at least train you for that.

A friend of mine studies kendo. He's used to keeping his eye on
the "sword", and he's used to it coming at him VERY FAST. I don't
have that advantage. I think even though he trains with swords,
he could at the very least have time enough to think, when a fist
is coming at him.

This is all personal theory. It's also why I want to try it.
 
I approach sparring as a practical proving ground for techs. As i have said in other poss, my students have been faced with Alternating Maces also Twin Kimono, Kimono Grab(controlled of course) or something else they have been working on. Whatever the belt, so is the response.
Don't get me wrong, we sometimes play with tournament sparring and such for a break from time to time.
 
Hi Seig,

How do you do this, if you are just trying to apply techniques, can you not feed them anything else? Do you ever jab/cross on these techniques? When you say apply their techniques is this in the ideal phase only or do you make them work to apply the tech (grafting)?

I'm curious, this isn't what I think of when I think of "sparring."

thanks,

Lamont
 
Originally posted by Kenpo Yahoo

I was wondering how everyone approaches the idea of sparring.

Do you focus mainly on tournament style (mostly point sparring)?
Do you work continuous sparring (i.e. a certain amount of time)?
Do you work NHB style fighting?
What's your approach?

Now to the heart of things. Why, in kenpo, do we spend years upon years to master intricate techniques for our self-defense, yet in it comes to sparring we revert to Tae Kwon Do style actions (either that or we end up boxing). Why is this? I only bring it up because I've recently seen footage of some of the old IKC tournaments and it seems that everyone seemed to be doing the same thing. Sure some kicked more often (and perhaps a lot higher), but the approach appeared to be the same. Maybe some of you will say tournament rules dictate your approach. Okay, that's fine, then what do you personally do to train your kenpo in a realistic environment? Have you ever tried any of your "stuff" on an uncompliant body (even if the resistance level is only 20%).

If not, how do you know that what your doing will work? Have you field tested in some other way? I know that some out there may be bouncers at the local bar, but do you find yourself using more kenpo or more of something else? Any security or law enforcement personel out there want to key in, feel free.

Hopefully subsequent answers will provide a one of two things:
1) A look at how the sparring curriculum reflect the individuals study of kenpo (not the other way around)

and

2) A look at how individuals train to make the intricate and technical moves in AK, practical and realistic.

Now for the disclaimer (I still have a bad taste in my mouth from other Forums): This is not meant to be disrespectful in any manner, so don't take it that way. It is simply meant to promote discussion among intelligent individuals. Please ignore this post if you are not capable of intelligent discussion.

Respectfully

Techniques teach how to control an opponent in a somewhat static environment. Freestyle is live and you should be using many of the same concepts. The offensive techniques are what you may use for an aggressive move- these techniques use the same stuff as your basics, forms, and self defense applications.

If you look at book 2 (II) you will see boxing like defense mechanisms. These are very valuable in route to becoming well rounded.

TKD- Hmmm. Out of range- within range(critical distance)- contact penetration(kick puch) contact manipulation (CM). CM uses sweeps and takedowns amongst other things. There are some fine fighters out there from other systems- the real difference is AK has basic material for all four ranges. That would be the job of your teacher to explain how the 4 ranges work and what they contain. If at your school freestyle looks either only like boxing or a long range type system present some questions to the senior instructor at your studio.

Don't hesitate to ask questions but you may want to narrow the scope. You asked some very complicated questions and a lot of them.

I will leave you with this thought- practice it all with whomever you can. Bring your notebook with you to class and take notes. It is amazing (and embarrassing;) ) to look back and review your old thoughts etc.

Hope this gave you an idea or 2:)
 
Kirk posted: He's used to keeping his eye on the "sword", and he's used to it coming at him VERY FAST. I don't have that advantage. I think even though he trains with swords, he could at the very least have time enough to think, when a fist is coming at him.

You are right about that, alot of the FMA instructors believe that when you get used to the speed of a stick/sword, empty hand attacks appear to be relatively slow. I would contest your wording though, you still don't have time to "think" when it hits the fan. :)

Does your school not do any sparring? Guess it just seems odd to me.

Thanks,

Lamont
 
Originally posted by Blindside



You are right about that, alot of the FMA instructors believe that when you get used to the speed of a stick/sword, empty hand attacks appear to be relatively slow. I would contest your wording though, you still don't have time to "think" when it hits the fan. :)

Does your school not do any sparring? Guess it just seems odd to me.

Thanks,

Lamont

Unfortunately, no. I still think I'm in the best kenpo school in
my city, but I would love to spar. I know I'd be toast, because
I don't spar .. but I think the conditioning would be beneficial.
 
Originally posted by Kirk



Unfortunately, no. I still think I'm in the best kenpo school in
my city, but I would love to spar. I know I'd be toast, because
I don't spar .. but I think the conditioning would be beneficial.

No sparring, really? Wow, I wonder if it is an insurance issue? I've seen the pictures in your school and your instructor has done his time in the ring and was a scrapper.

I think sparring adds a lot to conditioning and developing your timing and distance. It also teaches you how to take a punch or kick. But that is my opinion and its not the end of the world if you don't do it. The one thing I would say when you do spar is to use the proper safety equipment....

jb:asian:
 
Originally posted by Rainman



Techniques teach how to control an opponent in a somewhat static environment. Freestyle is live and you should be using many of the same concepts. The offensive techniques are what you may use for an aggressive move- these techniques use the same stuff as your basics, forms, and self defense applications.

If you look at book 2 (II) you will see boxing like defense mechanisms. These are very valuable in route to becoming well rounded.

TKD- Hmmm. Out of range- within range(critical distance)- contact penetration(kick puch) contact manipulation (CM). CM uses sweeps and takedowns amongst other things. There are some fine fighters out there from other systems- the real difference is AK has basic material for all four ranges. That would be the job of your teacher to explain how the 4 ranges work and what they contain. If at your school freestyle looks either only like boxing or a long range type system present some questions to the senior instructor at your studio.

Don't hesitate to ask questions but you may want to narrow the scope. You asked some very complicated questions and a lot of them.

I will leave you with this thought- practice it all with whomever you can. Bring your notebook with you to class and take notes. It is amazing (and embarrassing;) ) to look back and review your old thoughts etc.

Hope this gave you an idea or 2:)

I understand the four ranges, and I know what sparring looks like at my school. My question wasn't about what I'm doing, rather I'm curious as to the magnitude and direction that other individuals are pursuing in regards to sparring. The fact that one of the above posters asked whether I meant to perform the technique in an ideal or modified situation should be a pretty good hint. Most situations start off ideal, but rarely stay that way for long, especially if the confrontation carries on for quite a while.
You stated above that techniques are teach you how to control an attacker in a "somewhat" static environment. How many "static" fights have you ever seen? I'm asking because I'm curious as to what steps practitioners are taking to gain experience in this area.

It seems that most schools teach sparring, yet they don't teach it from a kenpo standpoint. I've even seen videos of some of the "kenpo greats" sparring, yet they revert back to boxing and Tae Kwon do principles, why is that? I know that when your in Rome you should do as the Romans do (i.e. when at a tournament you should abide by the tournament rules), but does ANYONE out there try and teach their students to use there techniques in a DYNAMIC environment? Shouldn't this be an important factor of training, what do you think?
 
Originally posted by Blindside

Hi Seig,

How do you do this, if you are just trying to apply techniques, can you not feed them anything else? Do you ever jab/cross on these techniques? When you say apply their techniques is this in the ideal phase only or do you make them work to apply the tech (grafting)?

I'm curious, this isn't what I think of when I think of "sparring."

thanks,

Lamont

Lamont, being one of Seig's students I can maybe try and give you an idea as to what he does with us. He has us learn the techniques that are required for our belt, but he also likes to know that we can use those techniques when sparring or outside of class if needed. Yes, sparring can be fun and physically good for you, but the point of sparring is to execute what you have been taught. Sparring is almost like a mock fight if you want to see it that way. As you progress in belt rank and skills than the hard those that out-rank you spar you. What is the point on learning techniques if you can't actually execute them when put into that situation? When sparring at our dojo you get a variety as to what people are going to throw at you and you don't know what they're going to throw at you just as you were in a fight. The difference is that we are not out to kill eachother so we're not hitting with all we have, hit hard enough to where you know you would have been knocked out.

As for tournament sparring, we play around with that to give some variety. But we went to a tournament last month and I was highly disappointed!!! It looked like a boxing match and everyone's techniques were so sloppy, even the upper belts that were there. It made me wonder if they were put into an actual situation where their training would be needed if they could actually use it to their advantage, because they were not doing it in the rings. If you practice sparring with no techniques or forms than you're not practiceing what has been taught to you, my own opinion on that.

I hope that helps a little on your question. If not let us know and we'll try to elaborate on what we do.

Jani:asian:
 
Jani did a fairly good job of explaining it. Let me see if I can carry it a step further. I personally have been sparring for over 20 years. I have also had my share of fights, street and ring. It was not until about 7 years ago I decided to apply the ideal techniques while sparring. For example, alternating maces. Now granted, alternating maces is for a push, but it can also be used against a punch...So, yes I may have to modify the technique slightly, but I see an attack, and decide which technique I want to use or i decide which technique I want and then try and manipulate my opponent into throwing something that will trigger that response. The technique may not be exactly the ideal phase, but I stay as true to the execution of the technique as possible. If all else fails, i rely on the Master Keys.
 
Most situations start off ideal, but rarely stay that way for long, especially if the confrontation carries on for quite a while.

IF MOST SITUATIONS START OFF IDEAL WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR... you've already been invited. By that rationale you don't need anything else and it will not last long at all. Techniques are easily executed from an ideal attack. Guess what- all attacks are ideal you just have to find the corresponding technique that uses the disecting or redirecting plane as the destructive process ensues for contact maintenence with dimensional zone cancellation etc. That would be the spontaneous stage.

CM drills bridge the gap between some of the discourses of AK. Checking Hands is an excellent way to bridge, but it works with concepts and principles as well as structurally sound basics.

What boxing and tkd principles are you talking about? Name one.
 
Seig is on the money. Mr. Duffy says that Mr. Hancock actually did Dance of Death during tournament sparring once. So there you go.

When I first signed up in San Antonio we spent 50% of the time Sparring for tournament practice. Mr. Swan had a tournament then so we were all expected to attend a few each year.

Then when I went to Mr. Duffy's school these guys were nuts. They'd clash, do a takedown and then grapple. That is pretty much the way it is here still. At the upper ranks, they try to take you down and grapple on occassion. Otherwise they try to beat you back into your tortoise shell.

We don't have any flat out tournament practice. I have to request this if I have a tournament coming up, and/or I may go to another school that does more tournament sparring. We have a good school closer to my house that has an open invitation for us to go there and fight. I've been once, I plan to go back.
:asian:
 
I can't believe some of you don't do any sparring! As Bruce Lee said, "Trying to learn martial arts without sparring is like trying to swim on dry land!".

We try to do lots, and not points sparring either because it's crap for stamina, you don't even break a sweat. We normally start of lite, and then go in a bit more once we're warmed up. Often it's bare knuckle as it takes ages to get all the pads on, so it's more about developing blocks than try to land one on your mate's head.

We do normal sparring, hands only (which is surprisingly nothing like boxing), legs only (where you can block with your hands) and sometimes we do it as if we have an injury, e.g. we might stick out right hand in our belt round the back as if it's broken (enter the not so legendary one-armed boxers!).

Higher belts also do 2-1 and 3-1 sparring, sometimes sparring as people with knowledge and sometimes sparring as street fighters (as in with more swingining punches, no roundhouses really and lots of one person trying to grab you while the other cave your face in).

As for practicing techniques for reality, it's diffucult to do this with the lower belts because they're not fast enough, but higher belts often do the attacks full speed, maybe aiming just to the side of the head on punches so we don't break anyone's nose or bust people's lips up if they don't pull it off.

As for testing the effectiveness of grabs etc., the techniques seem to work when people really grab on hard, they are designed to after all!

Occasionally we improvise on grabs as well, so maybe we start in a full nelson or bear hug, and have someone else coming in to punch us, and we have to try and get out of it all and deal with both of them.

Finally, we often do worst case scenarios, like maybe you're face up against the wall with your arm up your back, and we see if we could get out. Usually we arrive at the conclusion that it'd be better if we didn't get into that situation in the first place!

Ian.
 
Originally posted by Kenpo Yahoo

I was wondering how everyone approaches the idea of sparring.



If not, how do you know that what your doing will work? Have you field tested in some other way? I know that some out there may be bouncers at the local bar, but do you find yourself using more kenpo or more of something else? Any security or law enforcement personel out there want to key in, feel free.




I have been in law enforcement or the military my whole adult life I can give you a couple of examples where it has been used in a street street scenerio effectively..........

Calming the storm.....It was more of an windmill puch as opposed to club attack but it did "calm" the attack pretty quick.

Crossing talon.....resist this all you want if you apply the + and - right on this they can resist and still go down...I have had my wrist grabbed and im glad to have had this technique.

Some guys train "air kenpo" and that is fine, start thinking of the dynamics of attacks...."okay its a lapel grab are they pushing in or pulling you?" start roughing each other up and do it as you do on the streets you will really start to think of your principles and how they are applied. Alot of schools and people train this way. Clyde gave a pretty good speech (and demonstration) to me on this and Im a believer every since. Some techniques will not work on some people, just be able to go with the flow and use whatever is available......If Im gonna defend close to full throttle, the attack should be close to full throttle (just watch them elbows!) I learned a good saying in the army "train like you fight"
 
Originally posted by Rainman


What boxing and tkd principles are you talking about? Name one.

When I'm referring to boxing or TKD principles, I'm also referring to the strategy that these principles govern. I'm curious why people would spend years training in kenpo and working kenpo principles and when the tournament comes around they don't even work what they've learned. For instance, I was at a tournament a couple of months ago and just about every fighter there had all their weight on the back leg, there body turned away from their opponent, with their left hand down and their right hand by their head. Yet the various schools that were represented taught a variety of different arts (TKD, Kenpo, Kung-Fu, etc...), so why was everybody fighting like this? It wasn't just that tournament either. Almost every one I've seen and participated in was the same way.

For instance #2. Last year I was at a tournament, and three guys from two different schools (two of these guys were obviously not gonna be kickers----- kinda portly), came out punching with zero technique and no plan. One of the big guys pummeled his opponent (so it worked for him), but the other two got plastered to the mat. The other big guy took a spinning back kick to the stomach, and the other guy took a clean shot to the side of the head gear (after that we wasn't real aggressive).

Now I could go into the ACTUAL principles for you but I believe that you get the picture. Obviously kenpo isn't entirely unique from a strategical standpoint, but it shouldn't look like something it's not (TKD and Boxing). I'm not knocking either of the two, TKD is an amazing sport, and boxers are some of the best fighters out there, but if your studying kenpo why aren't you learning to make it work in everyday situations?

I appreciate the input from Sieg and his student(s), I too am disappointed with some of the things that I see at tournaments.
I've been actively exploring ways to incorporate the selfdefense material into my sparring. IMHO, this has been quite a challenge, it's hard to go back and re-teach yourself something that has become so engrained. Does anyone have any pointers? Or advice?

Sieg--- What association are you with? (i.e. who leads it) I can't make out what the crest is in your avatar. Thanks for your input.

To everyone else--
I am in no way trying to be disrespectful, I believe that people should be able to talk with each other intelligently. Just because we don't agree on some things doesn't mean that there can't be a dialogue (heck I don't agree with my parents on a bunch of stuff, but I still call them.)

:stoplurk:
 
BrianHunter and SatansBarber

Thanks for info

Respectfully
 
When I'm referring to boxing or TKD principles, I'm also referring to the strategy that these principles govern. I'm curious why people would spend years training in kenpo and working kenpo principles and when the tournament comes around they don't even work what they've learned. For instance, I was at a tournament a couple of months ago and just about every fighter there had all their weight on the back leg, there body turned away from their opponent, with their left hand down and their right hand by their head. Yet the various schools that were represented taught a variety of different arts (TKD, Kenpo, Kung-Fu, etc...), so why was everybody fighting like this? It wasn't just that tournament either. Almost every one I've seen and participated in was the same way.


You didn't pay attention. This is all about the four ranges and zone cancellation. The SD techniques are full of manipulations and fourth range constituents. Many ways to freestyle and you need to spend time in all four ranges. It depends on how the person opposite you is. Different strategies for different sizes and strength factors.

Manipulations are difficult unless the person has been set up. Why is this so important? The techniques use manipulations (at least a large number) for dimensional zone controll. Tournaments by and large do not allow manipulations such as shown in the self defense teks.

The offensive teks such as B4aHr etc, are self defense friendly and as tournament friendly as AK can be unless you are only using the first 3 ranges. That is basically what you are talking about in reference to tkd and boxing. That and some folks who are limited in the freestyle game by either commericial teachers and/or commercial events.

To use Sd teks in an equal combative situation (which you should not be in anyways but good to practice in) pick a technique and learn what, why and how it controls the person. Where each strike ends a new one begins etc. If you understand that then you will know in order to train your muclse memory it will take time. Sometimes the intent of the movement isn't what you always thought is was.
 
Pros in here for me to say anything. I think I'll just sit back , and learn. Where's my notebook?:confused:
 
I think I understand what Mr yahoo is saying and asking and it sounds similar to a thread I started a couple months back (The Sparring Debate). My main question wasn't so much about point fighting or continuous fighting, but rather "why is it so hard to do 'techniques' when sparring? AND, how can we better practice our sparring so that techniques can start to flow?"

My major observation about the sparring I've done is that it is always two "karate" guys (or TKD, JKD, etc) fighting each other. And when two "karate" guys fight, we fight like "karate" guys backknuckles, reverse punches, side kicks, roundhouse kicks, ridgehands, etc. It's damn hard to try and do anything but "avoid/evade" when a skilled and fast fighter is coming at you using these weapons. Thta's why the usual defense is very basic.

My idea is to practice sparring like this: One guy is the karate guy and the other is the street fighter. The street fighter is not allowed to do any kenpo. This doesn't mean he can't fight with skills, but that his skills should be limited to those of the average non-martial artist. he should fight like a boxer, or wrestler or tough guy, etc. There must be a high level of trust and control between the two fighters obviously, but this way you can get a better feel of fighting with someone who isn't using all the same tricks. Then again, if you are good enough to really stomp another martial artist doing "karate vs karate" sparring, you are probably light years ahead in the game.

"That's all I got to say about that," F. Gump
 

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