Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Sparring Mistakes and Progression

When I was younger and was progressing through my belts during Karate and Judo training, sparring was an issue for me. I didn’t like it much, simply because of the fact that I was always getting pummelled. For some reason I was constantly sparring against other top level brown and black belts and during karate sparring I was eating strikes for dinner, and no matter how well I tried in judo I was always ending up on my back via some kind of vicious throw or submitted with ease.

Would I have changed any of it. Never! I know feel that I learnt so much during the old sparring sessions I received that it has helped me become better. Although im still progressing and every time I spar, I still pick up something new to think about and try and implement, I will always think that I learnt the most during the first few years of my training and sparring.

You always learn by making mistakes and understanding where you wrong in order to try and not make the same mistakes again. This is nothing new and applies to all walks of life.

I remember that one person I used to roll with was a brown belt in judo when I was yellow or orange, I can’t quit remember. He used to always catch me with an arm bar from the guard as it seemed that he was made of elastic. He was brilliant at it. After a while though I learnt how to counter the technique and now use the same counter nearly always to escape the submission. On top of that, I started to use the arm bar myself after learning it through having it applied on me, rather than being taught it. If I had not always been caught and submitted by it I would not have learnt the technique and the escape for it.

This is just one example of many, of how I feel I progressed through initial mistakes and by never getting the upper hand. The reasoning behind this article is because whilst browsing on a forum the other day, I read a post about how a young martial artist was getting upset and even depressed because of the fact that he was always getting submitted during his BJJ training.

The truth is, yes it is upsetting to always taste defeat and never victory, but in actual fact, if you stick with it, continue trying, learning and with regular practise, eventually you will understand where you are making the mistakes and shall stop doing them. Once this is achieved, chances are you shall improve, start obtaining victories of your own and shall realise that initial hard times during sparring lead to great rewards later on down the line.


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KarateStudent said...

KarateStudent"(KS") on Types of Progression in Sparring.

In the above post, MARKS talks about progression in learning how to fight against real-time techniques met in free-style sparring. Here, KS is going to bring up another type of progression, training--the improvement of skill & variation of a given sparring technique.

KS Comment here is a follow on to KS'S recent Comment @ MARKS post [February, 2008] "IS SPARRING USEFUL IN MARTIAL ARTS." In that comment, KS described the 1st '1-Step Sparring Technique' in his Tang Soo Do (TSD) curriculum:


(1) Your passive opponent steps forward and throws a Right punch shoulder high and stops, the left hand chambers at left waist;

(B) YOU:

(1) You step out into a horse stance, to your right at an angle (opponent's left), both hands chamber in preparation at right waist;

(2) You perform a coordinated Left block against the opponent's right arm, and a Right counterpunch to the left side of the head.

In summary against a right punch, step opposite the attack at an angle, then block & counter punch together; 1,2,.

The first progression encountered here is a 'glacial' (huge) one; and that is we are no longer working on perfecting isolated, basic techniques, but now concentrating (the key word, CONCENTRATION) on applying practical karate techniques. We are moving on from an early emphasis on the physical effort, and shifting to the mental effort. More on that later.

Contrary to the seemingly simplicity of the 1-Step Sparring technique described, there is a lot (of sophistication) going on (OTHER COMMENTATORS?).

One day at KS's 1st TSD school [I had trained at other schools], I (white-belt) was paired up with a green-belt doing these 1-Steps. Generally, I did 10 repetitions a class, 15 times a month, over 3 months = 450 total repetitions. Normally, KS did the techniques at slow to medium speed, CONCENTRATING on proper form and power.

This day, after doing a couple of repetitions, I decided to try and do the the 2nd step, block & counterstrike really fast. The green-belt stepped forward and punched--as he came forward, I immediately stepped opposite with both hands chambered. Next, I put all my concentration on shooting my block & strike super fast, with a moderate retraction (partial rechambering) upon completion.

The Result: The block & counterstrike each hit-home in less than the blink of an eye, my hands back in a guard-like position.

The green-belt exclaimed, "WOW, that was fast!!!" I calmly said (thinking back on the skills attained by my first instructors in martial arts), "It's got to be fast."

A second example example of Progression in these seemingly elementary '1-STEP SPARRING TECHNIQUES," to follow.

KarateStudent said...

KarateStudent ("KS") continues with Progression in Hard-Style Karate's '1-STEP SPARRING.'

In the previous comment, KS described the progression of adding high-speed application to the basic power of Tang Soo So's (TSD) 1st 1-STEP SPARRING technique.

A second kind of progression is presented in TSD's 2nd 1-STEP SPARRING technique. Here, we add a another tactic to the existing strategy in the 1st 1-STEP, that of a true counterstrike. This is that methodical building-type training found in traditional martial arts KS has spoken of. The tactical change is shown in CAPS.

(A) Passive Opponent. Steps forward and throws a Right punch chest high, then stops (L hand chambered at L waist).

(B) You.

(1) Step out right (to your opponent's left) at an angle, PERFORM A LEFT MIDDLE PUNCH TO THE ABDOMEN, the instant you land in a horse stance;

(2) Perform the coordinated block & strike action (block to the opponent's right arm, power strike to the left side of the head).

What's changed? In the 2nd 1-STEP, the across the body chambering action (Boxers say--there's that 'dumb' chambering again.) of your left hand is turned into a counterstriking middle punch to the midsection. The rest of the technique basically mimics the 1st 1-STEP.

In terms of stratey, he comes in middle high; you step out and go middle--then synonomously block & go high. Instead of postioning and striking, you strike ON positioning and strike again from postion. And Boxers talk like only they can do cleaver, 'sneaky' stuff!

Now let's add a another, a third progression, utilizing the progression first described: THE HIGH-SPEED APPROACH. Let's also add the heightened mental ability developed from your diligent, DISCIPLINED practice of these 1-STEPS (see MARKS Video Post on Wado-Ryu Karate drills).

(A) Passive Opponent: Steps forward and throws a ... YOU ANTICIPATE AND >>>

(B) >>> IMMEDIATELY step out at an angle HIGH SPEED AND 'PRE-EMPTIVE' STRIKE a Left middle punch to the abdomen, stunning or winding your opponent before he can finish the right punch.

In this third progression, we use anticipation [heigtened mental skill] along with high-speed [heightened physical skill] thus introducing the tactic of pre-emptive strike, actively opposing his advance, and possibly compromising our opponent's ability to continue 'right-out-of-the-box.'

All this is available in just the first two TSD 1-STEP SPARRING TECHNIQUES. However, I will warn you that the foundation of that (TIC)boring, impractical, useless, awful, repetitious traditional karate training [physical conditioning, sound basic techniques, self defense introductions] must be in place for the 1-STEP SPARRING applications to have real effect. "Cut and Paste" will get you nothing but taken out.

More (yes, there's more) on '1-STEP SPARRING' PROGRESSION to come.

KarateStudent said...

KarateStudent ("KS") on Fourth Progression in Hard-Style Karate '1-STEP SPARRING.'

MARKS has put together an interesting network of martial arts commentators, and KS is going to comment here on an aspect of '1-Sstep Sparring, that Sensei Lori O'Connel has demonstrated with more impact on her site. I'm not going to repeat her article; interested reader-visitors to MARKS should go to her site. KS will present a more generalized version which same can follow up on for her more dramatic lesson.

Right now, there is a very important theme that MARKS has been promoting on a number of posts, namely the importance of variations and reality training in sparring. So for the Fourth Progression, KS is going jump over to MARKS April 2009] post, "SPARRING VARIATIONS."

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