Thursday, November 7, 2013
I'm getting a little sick of the pretense that “sparring” is the only way to learn how to defend oneself. People are a lot tougher (and not nearly as tough ) as they think they are.
Personally, I don't agree with the practice of “sparring” (as it's commonly performed). It only provides short-term (satisfaction) “results”, that end up producing long-term impediments to one's training and abilities.
Anyone who has been teaching for any length of time, is aware of the difficulties associated with “re-training” someone (who has trained previously).
What I (more and more) commonly see, is “new” students being asked (if not required) to “spar”. This is claimed to be done in order to build confidence, and “ability” (?, and this is where I disagree).
In regards to “confidence”, how does someone beating on you, and doing so (obviously) in a restrained/limited manner, equate to “confidence”?. Regardless of whether one has “protective” gear on or not, you are ingraining responses that are (often) counter to what is being instructed during their regular classes (or at least I would hope they are).
Sparring amounts to reinforcing (bad) motions and (bad) habits that have no useful basis in a physically defensive confrontation.
I believe this is where the real (training) differences between methodologies lay. What is done during this manner of “practice” is rarely (if ever) anything like what will occur during an actual confrontation.
This manner of training is only geared towards the young, fit, male student. That doesn't mean that female students aren't able to participate in that manner of “sport” as well, only that it has nothing to do with learning how to protect one's self (be they male, or female).
Beyond the fact that one is participating in (and reinforcing) ideals that are contrary to what is being studied (in a self-protection class), this practice (in fact) depreciates what is being learned (during one's class time study). There is little (if anything) that this practice demonstrates (much less, is learned) that is (defensively) applicable to a defensive situation.
It is popular to make the claim, that when everything else (that you attempt to do) has failed, your going to wind up slugging it out. That only occurs, when you allow it to.
The practice of “sparring” only reinforces the idea that one waits until they are being struck (before acting to protect themselves).
The act of “beginning” in a (so-called) “fighting stance” is ridiculous (to begin with, it just doesn't happen that way). If the confrontation has escalated to that level, there should have been measures taken to establish a (better) positioning to prevent the aggressor's ability to effectively do so (without being able to respond).
Sparring only “skips” over that part (of a confrontation). This is where 90% of (our) defensive practice is centered (which is why, a confrontation is commonly only seconds in duration). Even if/when those initial motions fail, one's ability to (seamlessly) follow through with alternative/follow-up motions, the delay incurred is only momentary.
The (counter?) argument is that what is taught, is to deadly to allow (in these “sparring” matches). I hardly believe that “deadly” is an appropriate description. With increased speed, there is the greater risk of damage/injury being possible.
It's also true that many of the instructed motions can be dependent upon the responses incurred/created from (preliminary) minor strikes that are (often) being implemented. If/when protective gear is being utilized, this negates the effect (response) that would normally occur.
Sparring requires that the student learn to use a (completely) different set of “techniques” (of which, few if any, are applicable in an actual defensive situation). These motions are instructed, with the goal of acquiring “points” (in your little “sparring” match).
What are considered to be these points, will rarely (if ever) cause/create (enough) serious damage to negate an aggressor's ability to continue, yet (when sparring) the match is halted (reinforcing the false belief that one has accomplished something).
The entire discipline is a “confidence building” exercise, that mandates the learning of (defensively) inapplicable motions and techniques, while reinforcing the belief that the stronger/larger participant will (almost) always prevail.
When I was younger, I participated in this practice (much to my present regret). It required years to un-train my body from reacting in the manners and methods that were learned from this “practice”.
Any that would believe that this manner of training will serve one (any) useful ability (when they are older) is a fool.
When we are young, the ability to recover from those (then) minor injuries was fairly rapid. As we age, that ability goes away (been there, done that). What I have learned, is that nothing learned in that manner of practice, has (ever) proven to be beneficial in an actual confrontation.
Every thing that is claimed to be learned (from “sparring”), can be learned more productively and efficiently from other practice methods. In order to do so, one has to first abandon those practices that are ineffective, sparring (as it's commonly being done) is one of those practices.