The Importance of Sparring

The Importance of Sparring

  1. Sparring is not like real combat as your training partner is not trying to kill you.
    In sparring, you are pressure testing your techniques against someone who is unwilling to let you do them. Compliant partner training is useful to develop the initial mechanics of a technique but if a person is not trying to resist a technique, or punching (or throwing) back you will never know if you can really pull off a technique with real timing, energy, and movement.

  2. For what it's worth, "practicing technique against a resisting opponent" doesn't mean muscling a specific technique through an opponents resistance. It refers to training with a partner who is free to shift position, use muscle or leverage, counter-attack, stifle your own movement, break your own rhythm or balance, or do whatever else in an attempt to prevent any of your techniques from working. As you mention, one of the best ways to deal with that is to learn how to flow into a better position or a different technique.

  3. The ring is not the street. However, it is an approximation of the street that is better than almost every other approximation out there for one simple reason: it contains an opponent motivated to dominate, hurt and defeat you.

  4. This isn't really an argument these days. It shouldn't have been for the past century, ever since Jigoro Kano beat the tar out of the other jujitsu schools of Japan by training with competition and regular sparring.

    Either your training contains battle against people who are trying to defeat you, and are willing to perform techniques capable of causing physical pain and damage to do so, or it does not. It's that simple. It's like trying to learn to play chess without ever playing against anyone but practicing responses to moves you think they might make or reading about it in books. You'll have some vague ideas of what to do, but you're never going to be as competent as someone who has spent an equal measure of time actually playing chess.

    Live training means training against someone who is trying to beat you. It's not the only useful component of training, we'll grant you that. Many chess players read books as well to improve their game. But without it, the rest is well-nigh useless. There's a huge gap between knowing theory and being able to apply it on someone motivated to stop you.

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