Thursday, 27 November 2008

Jissen and Sparring for the Streets

Yesterday I downloaded a copy of Jissen, a free online martial arts publication (download here) and in it was an article written by Iain Abernethy which details sparring for the streets. Sparring for the streets is different to what you may find in dojos, training halls, Muay Thai schools and MMA gyms. In order to spar for the streets you have to add or remove some elements.

The points which are stressed in the article include,

Don’t limit the techniques and ranges

Boxers can not ground fight, MMA fighters can not strike to the groin, Mauy Thai fighters and Kickboxers can not perform submissions and submission grapplers can not strike. On the streets, there is no ref and nothing stopping your opponent (or you) doing any of the above no matter what your martial art is, so it’s best to do some preparation for it.

Emphasize Simplicity and High Percentage technique.

Although the spinning back roundhouse kick or flying elbow strike may look impressive, how many times will they be successful? In the streets, you may have only one chance to defend yourself before getting beaten so would it not be best to rely on simple effective techniques like knees to the groin or punches to the face or even strong pushes.

Vary the numbers

Although a lot of street fights are one on one, many more involve one or more against multiple attackers. Without training using this kind of scenario you are not realistically training to deal with this type of threat. Include it!

Spar when Exhausted.

When your adrenaline kicks in during a street fight, you can use up a lot of energy very fast indeed. Fighting then, when you’re tired is hard. You can get sloppy and leave yourself open. Also, a lot of fights happen after a night out around 3 or 4am when you’re tired. Learning to spar when you’re exhausted can prove a very realistic training method.

I strongly suggest that you download a copy of Jissen which gives further information on all these points plus some great reading material for the realistic martial artist.

Also check out Sensei Abernethy’s webiste. There are great articles regarding realistic training for the streets, karate kata bunkai which is aimed at practicality and simplicity plus much more.


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