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Omar
1/04/2005 11:35pm,
I've been putting off this topic because I'm not sure how to approach it.

Regarding a bad sparring experience I had recently I was asked if the teacher stopped us because it "wasn't Baji" or just because it wasn't good. It was a little of both. Mainly because it sucked ass and we had degenerated into techniqueless wrestling. But technically, I could have theoretically tumbled to the ground with the guy and taken advantage of my limited Judo vs. his no ground training ever. Also it didn't have to be just Baji. Anything from Taiji, Bagua or Xing Yi (if I knew any) would have been equally acceptable. ie anytning my teacher teaches.

Conversely, I have trained MT and that coach would not really allow you to switch stances or to decide one day to start bobbbing and weaving and using boxer style evasion or much of anything that didn't fit his idea of what meshed with Muay Thai.

I've also been places where I was encouraged to bring any past experiences at all to the table BUT IMHO those places were the ones with the least to offer to teach me. The truly remarkable teachers I have met generally "had ideas" and got annoyed if you didn't seem to want to learn them. They still accounted to different peoples differentcharacteristics and would tailor their ideas to meet your personal style but in the end, you were clay for them to mold.

I'm sure there's a middle ground somewhere so this isn't a direct question exactly but I would just like to hear some thoughts or experiences on:

-the degree of stylistic freedom you are/should be allowed in sparring.
-the relative value of being a "self made" martial artist vs. submitting yourself to be "molded" my someone you respect as a true master. (this includes you BJJ/western arts types. Would you really rather find your own way if say, Rorian Gracie/Cus D'amato wanted to direct your training?)

Shuma-Gorath
1/04/2005 11:42pm,
At our school we sometimes get visitors from other backgrounds (in both striking and grappling) and they can bring whatever they have to the table. Once they sign up for class, however, they are expected to do what the coach tells them. Now, that's not necessarily "do this because that's how we do it", but more "this is how you can use what I know to improve your game". If the student isn't very good at whatever style they came from or does something that really clashes then they might told to do something more in line with whatever my instructor teachers.

Really, if you train somewhere you shouldn't be surprised if they ask you to do things their way. If I'm learning from someone, then at this stage it usually means I suck hard when compared to them and I'm better off listening to what they ask me to do.

Red Elvis
1/04/2005 11:52pm,
-the degree of stylistic freedom you are/should be allowed in sparring.
-the relative value of being a "self made" martial artist vs. submitting yourself to be "molded" my someone you respect as a true master. (this includes you BJJ/western arts types. Would you really rather find your own way if say, Rorian Gracie/Cus D'amato wanted to direct your training?)

We have full freedom in our sparring provided we stay within the parameters for what we are working.

Huh?... Let me explain.

When we spar the instructor will say things like: this round hands only, next round kicks only, next round grappling without subs, next round everything goes etc. But during this or full vale tudo sparring we can use whatever we want be it MT, BJJ, boxing, wrestling etc. I suppose if an ex-Dillman guy were training though and couldn't get past his old techniques there might be an issue. If it works though...

Now that I think about it this is more complicated than I first thought. Yeah, most instructors want to direct you to a certain degree and feel that because they are the teachers that you should listen. If some guy came in to our MT class and just sparred doing TKD for example the instructor might be like "why the hell are you here learning MT if your not going to use MT?" Same applies to BJJ. If you were training under a Gracie using wrestling and not working the guard etc. there would be some questions.

Omar
1/05/2005 12:01am,
I'm glad some one else already realize it's a bit more complicated than it seems at first.

There's also a lot of overlap. I mean it's not like I can't throw a right cross in my Baji class. And it's not even like I can't throw a back kick I learned in TKD in my MT class. It's not emphasised but he did teach us one once. The bulk of stuff really IS the same across styles. So it also kind of raises the question of what defines your style? I can be more specific with striking stuff than groundwork but I think, as you just pointed out, the same issue exists.

Emevas
1/05/2005 12:07am,
When you're in class, fight using that style. The reason being because your teacher is (supposedly) only familiar with said style, and if you do something outside of his parameters, he won't be able to "correct" you, or offer any sort of advice. You go to class to learn from him and have him correct your mistakes. You can try out everything you know when you get together to spar on your own time.

At least, that's how I handle things.

Aesopian
1/05/2005 12:19am,
During free sparring, I think people should be allowed to fight however they want (within the rules obviously, we don't want dead training partners).

This is not to say that the instructor cannot tell them to do things differently or try to make them do things a certain way. That's his job after all, and I assume he's your instructor because he knows how to teach you better ways to do things.

The individual will of course also be doing some things on his own, and developing his own "style". It can of course happen that your instructor is wrong about something, or you've got a better understanding of how to do it for your body.

But like everyone has been saying, there isn't a definite black and white on this issue.

Personally, I WANT to do everything exactly like my instructor teaches, because I trust his experience and instruction, and it is always what works best. So I will always try what he teaches in sparring. Other people come from other backgrounds and already have their own techniques and tendancies, and these come out in sparring.

So basically, if it works, he's OK with it. If it doesn't, he's going to try to teach you a better way. If it doesn't work, but you keep doing it, and won't try it his way, you're a viado.

Here's a little example:

In BJJ, we get lots and lots of people who did wrestling in high school and college, and this training comes out during sparring, and usually takes the form of being uncomfortable fighting from the guard.

If my instructor sees this, he will do his job of trying to coach them on how to do it properly. But if someone is going to keep doing "their style" (which tends to lose in this case), he's not going to kill himself trying to FORCE them to "do BJJ". He will get frustrated if they are ignoring his instruction, since that's what he is there for, but if they insist on doing "their thing" while ignoring his advice AND "their thing" doesn't work, he's just going to think they're being stupid.

Conversely, if he sees them doing "wrestling" things that work well for BJJ, like strong takedowns and dominant top game, he'll encourage that, and, as is his job, try to improve it for BJJ. He's not going to stop them because "it's not BJJ" if it is working anyway.

As for defining "what is a style", that's too deep a discussion for me. I just "do BJJ" and leave it at that.

supercrap
1/05/2005 12:26am,
Good question.

When I was doing Wing Chun, people used to spend a lot of time doing half assed approximations of other styles. Ie 'this is a boxers jab - hiii---YAAA!!' or 'this is a muay thai round kick... KIIAIAIAIA!!!' etc. And during sparring, generally it was one person doing what they wanted against one person striving to do wing chun.

It depends what you mean by 'use' other styles, because unless you have some real skill in that other style then all you are doing is imitating it. For example, I could try to use my Wing Chun in BJJ because I did it for four years. But when I used to 'use' muay thai for wing chun sparring, it was a joke because I did barely a couple of months of it.

I think the point of sparring is to improve some aspect of your fighting skill, not to win at all costs. Hence you are better off using and increasing your skill of the techniques from your style. Saying that though, I think there is a lot to be said for adding something of your own or something different to whatever you are doing. All the great teachers I know have their own idiosyncrasies which have grown with them throughout their training. None is a carbon copy of the other.

When I first came to BJJ I asked to spar because I knew 'some stuff' from before. They let me do anything (bar striking) and I got thoroughly yoinked by everyone there. I learnt a lot, and so did they - how to deal with someone unpredictable. One time at training, it fell on me to spar with someone from another school - of course what they used was slightly different and gave me a chance to test out what (little) I knew against them.

BJJ usually has an MMA component, so I think it is essential at some point to try to spar against other styles. In the couple of schools I've seen, there are always people cross training. You'll find a couple of wrestlers or a couple of Judoka who like to pull out their own techniques during sparring.

I think your coach supplies you with a framework for you to work in, pushing you where necessary and leaving you to find things out for yourself at other times. Sparring other styles can only help, but as for 'using' them, well. you're only really using them if you are familiar with them already, otherwise you're just trying something else...

edit: yes, as my rambling post illustrates, it is more complicated than first thought... http://bullshido.net/forums/icons/eusa_eh.gif

liuzg150181
1/05/2005 12:28am,
Well,it has been said b4,a wrestler signs up for a judo school and spars using only his wrestling.Doesnt serve the purpose of signing up for judo right?
Nevertheless it depends on the objective of the training,if it is to develop the fighting skill of the school then prepare for such restriction by the instructor,but some leeways would be allowed~~~
For example i am learning sanda/MT/kyokushin right now(okay,I am MA junkie),the sparring allows me to use the striking component from one of those style so long i dont hit the forbidden part~~~
Sometimes sparring is to make trainees accustomed to different fighting styles,in this case free-form sparring would be allowed~~~

FCTKD
1/05/2005 12:31am,
My instructor say take what I teach and make it your own. Obviously he'll make comments on things I'm doing that may improve my sparring period. I hold my hand up like a boxer, he had said once for me to hold my hands infront of me, but I think that was cause my balance wasn't as good. Now he never says anything. I like to play a power game more like kickboxing than a speed game in my sparring matches and he says nothing. I shin block more than any tkd fighter I have ever seen. He also loves that i learn a lot of grappling on my own since it's more our school can offer to teach.

Psycho Dad
1/05/2005 12:33am,
In my BJJ class we're allowed to use different styles during sparrying just as long as it's in the set limits; meaning there's no small joint manipulation (such as fingers, but unlike Judo the wrists are fair game), no slamming from the guard, and common sense stuff such as eye-gouging or biting. Students are pretty much allowed to bring in stuff from any other grappling styles although bad habits will be corrected ie. turtling up instead of trying to put your opponent back in your guard, etc. Hope this answers your question.

Omar
1/05/2005 5:46am,
Well, like I said, I don't really have a specific question. I am just curious how other people handle the 2 issues I raised.

As I read some of your experiences it's kind of raising another question:

Outside of "the rules" what could possibly be identified as "another style". How clearly defined is your style? A couple of examples were implied from the BJJ vs. Wrestling comments. Some are just the rules of the game (no small joint stuff, wrist locks) some are stategic items specific to what makes BJJ BJJ (no turtling, use of the guard).

In a stand up style it may be more nebulous. I've seen enough threads on "what is your style like?" to be bored with that particular question but on a different angle, can you think of what stylistic "errors" would be corrected at your school or possibly even criticised as "not our style"? Most schools "style" only differes in training methods. Do you even have a style per se?

As alluded to by supercrap, this is more of a relevent question for those with legitimate experience in different styles. It comes of for me for just that reason. I had 7 or 8 solid years developing my style back in California. Now I have switched teachers and he is giving me much more specific guidance. And then there was my stint in MT which also had a very specific style. In sparring I can present a really good representation of 3 distinct styles that i do well. I don't blend them together into my personal style. There's the way I learned in my Hung Gar days, which was pretty good. There's MT which I can use effectively. And there's my slowly developing Baji/Bagua style which hasn't fully congealed yet. I could show you in person much easier than type it out but of the 3, the only one probably who wouldn't complain if I started sparring in "the other way" is my Hung Gar teacher.

Do any of you even value specific styles? Can anyone recognize them in people fighting? Are pro-fighters developing recognizeable styes? Can you recognize the style of fighters produced by certain gyms? "Style" is something I never really valued untill pretty recently. Maybe it's because before my current teacher and then later the MT guy I never had anyone try to teach me one.

Psycho Dad
1/05/2005 9:41am,
In reference to the question of pro-fighters and certain gyms having some recognizable traits there's the Chute Boxe Academy. Their fighters share two distinct traits: 1) A high preference for strikes and 2) high aggressiveness.

Side note Omar: In BJJ you can go for the wrists.

Zeddy
1/05/2005 10:13am,
Well,it has been said b4,a wrestler signs up for a judo school and spars using only his wrestling.Doesnt serve the purpose of signing up for judo right?
Nevertheless it depends on the objective of the training,if it is to develop the fighting skill of the school then prepare for such restriction by the instructor,but some leeways would be allowed~~~
For example i am learning sanda/MT/kyokushin right now(okay,I am MA junkie),the sparring allows me to use the striking component from one of those style so long i dont hit the forbidden part~~~
Sometimes sparring is to make trainees accustomed to different fighting styles,in this case free-form sparring would be allowed~~~


As a few others have also said, this is the general answer to it. If you are there to learn one style, stick to that style. The exception is if you are in a noted "free sparring" or vale tudo, etc class, in which case you really should be hand free.

The extreme other case would be for example me walking into a TKD class and double legging someone. It defeats the purpose of things.

Ronin
1/05/2005 10:28am,
Stick to what you are being taught/training in.
No need to bring in "extra" stuff that may just confuse you and/or your partner.

One fo the reasons to stick with a specific system for a while before going out and "experiencing the salad bar", is to not become a "jack of all trades and master of none".

You need a solid base from which to grow, and that can only be accomplished by focusing on one goal at a time.

Aesopian
1/05/2005 10:53am,
This issue isn't black or white, but I don't see it being all that complicated.

If you go to a MT gym and disregard what they are teaching you and box during sparring, then you're wasting your money on instruction. If you wanted to box, go to a boxing gym.

As has been said, if you go to a judo school and only use wrestling takedowns, it's not a matter of "style", but of you wasting your time and money on judo instruction. If you wanted to wrestle, go to a wrestling gym.

If you go to a figure drawing class and start drawing comic book characters when the model is in front of you, it's not a matter of artistic freedom or personal style, it's a matter of you ignoring all your instruction and the point of the class.

Back to martial arts, I can see instructors getting mad if you're not doing the style he teaches, but not because "it's not his style", but because it doesn't work, at least under the ruleset you are training.

Your instructor wants to share his knowledge with you. It is assumed you are studying under him to accept this knowledge, to a greater or lesser degree. To ignore his instruction, particularly in sparring, will obviously piss him off. If you are doing something he didn't teach, but it still works, then I don't see him being pissed off.

This isn't rocket surgery.

All of this assumes though that you are taking a style worth learning. In the case of a Bullshido "style" that doesn't even contain realistic techniques or training methods to begin with, I can see some different arguments being made, but that comes down to a matter of honesty in the instructor himself, not whether or not you are using your own style.

Otaku Waffle
1/05/2005 11:26am,
All of this assumes though that you are taking a style worth learning. In the case of a Bullshido "style" that doesn't even contain realistic techniques or training methods to begin with, I can see some different arguments being made, but that comes down to a matter of honesty in the instructor himself, not whether or not you are using your own style.

But in those cases, sparring is one of the first things that gets discarded and I seem to remember everybody but Tai-Gip being in agreement that no-contact sparring and certainly no-contact grappling are rather useless. :toothy9: