Saturday, April 30, 2011

Response to: Thoughts on Sparring

Samurai Girl's guide to The Martial Arts, Fitness and Nutrition: Thoughts on Sparring: "Tournament is coming. As such, I have been attending Fight Club and Tournament Club to practice my sparring and my kata. Mostly sparring sin..."

I tired posting something to clarify some of my thoughts on the subject of sparring from the article above and my post got lost.  Very frustrating.  So I am posting here and linking it over to the article.  Read it and then come back.  Also be sure to read the comments as they are important as well.

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  A method for fixing the limitations in sparring:

First, what are the limitations

Point sparring in Karate, for example, is riddled with problems that are inconsistent with the goals of self defense.  The context is all wrong.  Example.  In the arena of self defense a civilian goal is to run away.  Get the heck out of Dodge.  Run!  As a civilian it is not our job to fight the bad guys or any craziness like that.  That is the job of law enforcement.  This gets into context which I would gladly link to another article outlining context but my colleague has not finished it yet.  I may write that one up soon too.

In point sparring, it is not our job to hit or hurt the guy bad enough to end the fight.  In fact, quite the opposite.  We are required by the rules to protect our opponent.  Thus all the sparring gear and the rules of locations that are legal and not legal to hit.  Protect your opponent and have fun.  Nothing wrong with that and there are some valuable lessons to be learned from this too.  However, it is huge to mistake this for real violence.

On the other hand, a good thing that can be gleaned from this kind of sparring.  You build reflexes, works on some of the preliminary stress and fear felt during conflict, and some conditioning of the body for conflict endurance.  This is just to name the first things off the top of my head.  I can list more good and bad for this style of sparring.  I can also tell you which other sparring styles are going to work better for building these skills but this style is an option anyway.  

A quick overview of other styles limitations and good skills built by their sparring rules: 

Muay Thai - bad: teaches to back up (not good in a fight where you could back over an obstacle) - good: teaches people to attack at multiple levels, power generation etc...

Jujutsu - bad: fight to the ground (not good because random passers by might give you a quick kick to the head, and yes I know people this has happened too) - good: teaches ground control which can be useful when trying to escape a fight that has managed to go to the ground.  Or perhaps for one that started there.

Judo - bad: no striking...it really can make a difference guys, I promise.  good:  excellent balance management and manipulation.

That is just to name a few...

Anyway, the best way not to fall into the trap of sparring with a particular rules set and making those things a habit is to spar with several rules sets.  Never allow yourself to get used to a specific set of limitations.  We need the experience sparring offers to get the experience we need to make what we do work in a conflict.  And even on the street there are rules.  (Thank you Marc MacYoung and Rory Miller for pointing that out.)  Even on the street it is out job to run away as civilians.  There are times where that may not be the best option but by and large it should be the first thing we strive to do. 

So if you are going to change up the rules from time to time, it is best to look at and be aware of the specific skills you want to build while sparring.  That way even though you have rules to follow you are focused more on the things that make you a better fighter.  Be aware of the limitations too but build those skills.

One great book for this is "Bunkai-Jutsu" by Iain Abernethy.  He has a list of different themes of sparring for students to try out.  Plus the book has a wealth of additional information that is very worth the read.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Samurai Girl's guide to The Martial Arts, Fitness and Nutrition: Face your fears

Take a look at this article by Samurai Girl. Good stuff.

Samurai Girl's guide to The Martial Arts, Fitness and Nutrition: Face your fears: "Tonight, in honor of my dojo's Wednesday night fight club, I wanted to write about facing your fears. Wednesday night we have a s..."

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Major Life Changes

Well, I quit my job at my primary employer for the last thirteen years.  My last day was Friday, April 8th.  I didn't expect a parade or anything like that, truth be told I was just ready to move on to new things.  However, I think my leaving went relatively unnoticed by anyone but my close friends at work.  It was an odd feeling.  Again, I didn't need anything to escort me out in a blaze of glory or anything but it felt a little odd to walk out without remark.

On the plus side, now my life is mine to navigate.  The job I had was safe.  It was reliable.  Nothing great and not too bad.  It was a life of mediocrity and I have had enough.

I am now self employed and have my hands in several pies.  The thing I love is this...my "destiny" is mine to control.  I know it was before but it just didn't feel like it.  Now I will take on new jobs and never know for sure what is going to happen next.  I will succeed or fail based on my own merit and willingness to work hard.  I am not afraid of hard work.  Not in the slightest.

Only a few small steps left in me taking total control of my life.  Or course no battle plan survives contact with the enemy but I have a plan.  One that will make me happy and set me apart from the tedium I allowed myself to get mired in before.

I will be posting new information as I get it.  My first big contract is taking me to Singapore.  I will be sure to post pictures when I have some.  Wish me luck.