Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Discussions' started by james chin, Jul 7, 2014.

  1. james chin

    james chin expanding my martial skill

    i find that many people ask why isn't there much sparring in traditional art especially CMA.

    based on my experience, i came up with a question on sparring in a deeper level. first off let me explain my experience and idea. i believe that sparring is essential in a martial art, as without sparring how do we test our skill or hone it is like teaching a swimmer to swim on dry land. in this today time, sparring is the closest thing we get to the real fight with the lowest risk of injury, we dont live in a time where people fighting each other is a norm in everyday life. and as the ancient said "GUTS, STRENGTH, KUNGFU", sparring is also the closest thing we get to have the guts martial art.

    the thing is sparring is a huge topic and there is many different variation and timing to approach to sparring. such as how hard should we contact, where is the limitation spot(e.g. groins, etc...), how experienced should we get to start sparring.

    i heard and saw different school ways of approaching this, most school prefer light contact to avoid injuries, the thing about light contact is that we feel safe in this, we feel secured. if we are to feel safe and secured in a sparring how does that help us increase our guts?? how does it test our body structure or correct form?? you need a light touch to block a light punch but does it work with a heavier punch? some will say when it comes to the real thing you put strength in the block but when it comes to real thing your mind will b so clouded to even think about the amount of strength required so is better to take the sparring into a real deal. but when it comes to hard contact, how hard then the strike should be to be sufficient?? different ppl have different pain tolerance and different body attributes, some may get injured with just a light hit. a wise man once told me "pain is a great teacher, injury is not but the difference between these two is only a thin line"

    now about weak spot. most school will avoid hitting weak spots in sparring because it cause injuries, and they say that when it comes to real thing you need to protect those area, but if u never care about it in sparring but guard it with your life in real fight wouldn't it affect your fighting capability? now shoud we hit or should we not hit those weak spot is a dilemma most schools are suffering. bruce lee once said that when u punch a punching bag, punch it like a real person and expect the punching bag to hit back to avoid the habit of overconfident in fighting and opening up targets for the enemy.

    the last point is how experienced a student should be to start sparring?? most schools will only let the student spar when they are really experienced but i seen school which ask the student to spar in the first day of school, is like throwing a person who dont know how to swim into an ocean, learn fast or die. the thing about it is that it is really effective, the student in that school can defence themselve in the street after only few months, though most of them suffer injuries. so is what they are doing rite or wrong???

    sorry for my bad english
  2. JesterX

    JesterX Disciple

    Hi James, don't worry about your english. I only speak two languages english and bad english. Welcome to the forum.

    At the CMA school where I am a student and assistant instructor it goes like this.

    There is no sparring your first time at class. That first class (or so, depending on the student) is spent learning some beginner techniques, how to block, punch, some basic kicks and maybe a little chin na.

    After that, beginner level sparring is light contact to the body; no strikes to the head, no open finger strikes and no joint attacks. But sweeps are full speed and the groin is a valid target.

    As you advance and gain skills the sparring becomes harder and faster. At the intermediate level body shots are hard enough that you know that you’ve been struck, the kicks are harder, faster and higher. And the more advanced students will start striking with open hand slaps to the head, not hard but enough that you start learning how to block them.

    At the advanced levels the sparring continues to get harder and faster and you may catch a body shot hard enough to take a little of your wind away. Punches to the face and head are pulled but if you miss a block it’s enough to hurt and you may get a bloodied nose (not broken just a bit of leakage). At this point we also will start strapping on gloves, helmets and pads and going full contact.

    We have separate classes for the three main levels and I think that this is probably a good way to run the sparring, as you gain skills and control the difficulty is stepped up, although at no time are joint attacks or finger strikes to the face allowed. A good thing I believe as I for one would not like to get a smashed knee or lose an eye. Advanced students are encouraged to attend the lower level classes, but an advanced student sparring with a beginner is still required to play by the beginners rules.
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2014
    james chin likes this.
  3. Dale

    Dale Scholar of the martial arts

    This is basically how my club does it, with the addition that we also add in throws and sometimes weapons/multiple opponent
  4. Eric Dufurrena

    Eric Dufurrena The Iron Fist of Fun

    We don't start students in on sparring until they get to intermediate level, which is green belt in our system. Sparring gear required is mouthguard, groin cup for guys, boxing style gloves, headgear and shinguards. Intermediate kids need a chest protector. We keep contact down to about 30%, but speed is still up there.

    Basically, with sparring, you will always be trading realism for safety. If you do not, you can injure each other, and then you can't train at all. However, there is a time when both people are amping up the power, usually because one guy thinks he is better than the other and wants to prove it. Luckily, with gear on, you can get hit, feel the pain and the fear that comes with an ass beating, limp around for a week then be ok, and you get a better idea of what combat is like.
  5. james chin

    james chin expanding my martial skill

    thanks jester, u pretty much answered all my question but the thing about joint attack. how do you train chin na without joint attack?? isnt chin na pretty much mostly about joint? and from my experience, chin na is the hardest in CMA to learn, it takes me a whole day to learn just 1 chin na moves n till today i still doubt my capability to pull it off in real combat.

    eric, wat u describe is pretty much wat i seen in most place hahahahah, is true about safety before realism as when injuries come u cant train for a long time but if you an spar while injured, theres nothing to fear when everything is alright, dont you think so?
  6. JesterX

    JesterX Disciple

    Hi James,
    You are right that chin na is mostly about joint attacks so it is not used during open sparring. We start training chin na at the beginner level because it does take some time to learn. We have practice sessions devoted to just chin na where mild tension is used, enough for the student to feel how a technique is applied and also how it feels when it is applied on you.
    Again as the student advances the chin na sessions get faster and rougher with the attacker resisting the hold. The purpose of course is not to injure each other but to try and feel how it may work in a "realistic" situation. Either student, attacker or defender, can "tap out" at any time.
    james chin likes this.
  7. james chin

    james chin expanding my martial skill

    i can see your class is very well organized and systematic n bassiccally figured most of the problems faced by other school. no offence though, i believe to have fully confident in the capability to pull off a chin na moves is to used it in free sparring where any type of moves can b used. as a student i will really have confident in my skill when i can pull off the chi na moves in a random, non systematic n no drill set environment where i dunno what the attacker is gonna strike first n when. ofcos then the injury rate will b high cos i over use my strength in the result of fear n injured the partner.
  8. Eric Dufurrena

    Eric Dufurrena The Iron Fist of Fun

    Do you also have full confidence in your partners to use chin na in free sparring against you without injuring you? Go for it, then.
    james chin likes this.
  9. chris halkett

    chris halkett Warrior Monk

    When we spar at my club its no head shots semi contact striking with full takedowns and submissions
  10. Eric Dufurrena

    Eric Dufurrena The Iron Fist of Fun

    Not a fan of no headshots. I have a 3rd degree black belt in Tang Soo Do, and when I went to sparring that had headshots, I was woefully underprepared. That is one of the things that prompted me to get a black belt in a Muay Thai / Boxing style.
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  11. chris halkett

    chris halkett Warrior Monk

    Hay eric ye we're hopein to get headgards soon for this but i still dont see full contct being introduced iv done a little bit of this myself and agree with u there definatly a big difference when sparring an experienced stricker but im happy enough with the level im at for now still got plenty to learn
    Eric Dufurrena likes this.
  12. james chin

    james chin expanding my martial skill

    in my place we spar with no head gears but when it comes to head shots only slaps are allowed but must be clean hit and just a touch
  13. Void_Karateka

    Void_Karateka Pauper Karateka

    I dunno about Chinese systems but in my Tode Ryu, all attacks are allowed in sparring. The power and speed to which they're delivered is usually decided by the people sparring. Head gear is optional but personally I find it stifling and it dulls my senses a little. Other than that all we wear are 4oz mma mitts.
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  14. Kuyaken

    Kuyaken Karate for the streets not just for trophies

    Ashihara karate is quite a strange beast it includes a lot of techniques combinations found in the average street fight

    Many martial arts style do all the kata forms etc but when it comes to sparring everything goes out of the window either looks like a game of Tag, a a kickboxing match or a school ground brawl.

    We wear MMA gloves and most strikes are allowed
    Void_Karateka likes this.
  15. james chin

    james chin expanding my martial skill

    kuyaken, u r right that when it comes to real fight most of what they learn get thrown off the window. and 90% of my classmate does the exact same thing. but i seen some train and spar so hard that fighting is as easy as breathing and he can use all the forms that he learnt in sparring, ofcos it takes empty years of training but i believe that we should train to the point that we can use any kind of moves to attack n nt just stuck with one way of fighting. i believe we should b even b able to fight even wit 1 hand tied behind the back. this is just a dream that im trying to achieve though
    Kuyaken likes this.
  16. Master of Nothing

    Master of Nothing Psychotic Pacifist

    Simple. Sparring is Chess. Chess has rules, so does sparring. Now, sparring is good fight training. But, it is just part of that. Which is why styles have a branched "self defense" or "one step sparring" curriculum. When I was a competitor under my master. He would train us in sparring drills for timing, speed, power, etc. for about 3 or 4 hours (after calisthenics & stretch for 2 or 3 hour first. Then we'd spar for a couple hours. Then to cool down, we went over the same/similar drills and modified our targets for self defense for about an hour. Head kicks for sparring, became body kicks. Body kicks for sparring, became leg kicks. The only time the competition team didn't do that was a couple weeks before the tournament. That way we didn't slip up and break a knee cap during competitions.
    Kuyaken likes this.
  17. james chin

    james chin expanding my martial skill

    wow, i cn seee you are a hardcore sparring person
  18. Master of Nothing

    Master of Nothing Psychotic Pacifist

    Used to be. Now I'm into the "neglected" aspects of the arts. These days I'm just trying to start a school.
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  19. DeeD

    DeeD Nak Muay

    For us it depends on your partner , if you are experienced and go with an experienced guy then its hard sparring , up to full contact , muay thai rules, only thing don't knee to the face, Injuries do happen but they are few and far between really when you are an experienced guy and go with a beginner etc then you slow it down not as fast but you still land shots to the face etc. , sparring is crucial to learning timing and learning to control the mind when getting hit
  20. james chin

    james chin expanding my martial skill

    to be calm right after getting hit is really crucial and hard to obtain. i can see your point
    Master of Nothing, Kuyaken and DeeD like this.

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