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  1. fightgonebad is offline

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    Posted On:
    2/23/2014 10:20pm

    Bullshido Newbie
     Style: kickboxing

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!

    My first point sparring Karate tournament

    Had my first tournament in point sparring this past weekend. I read a lot of trash talk about point sparring tournaments and I suppose I thought it was simply going to be a game of "tag." Here's my thoughts now that I actually participated in one.

    Yes, there is a lot to be desired in point sparring but if you want to play the game, you have to play by the games rules. Hard strikes and kicks are given and received, but there are also points awarded for totally insignificant touches and taps which is frustrating.

    There is plenty of skill involved to be good, much like a chess match or fencing.

    Point sparring is , IMO, nothing like "fighting." Those that argue that it is do an injustice to the point sparring sport itself and actual combat sports like MMA, boxing, kickboxing, etc. Point sparring has plenty to appreciate and is due respect for what it is.

    Pros: strategy and skill required to be successful, little stamina required, not limited by age, low risk of injury that could put you out of work, allows you to compete and use your martial art in a sport.

    Cons: nothing like fighting, little stamina required, frustrating at times due to points being awarded for taps. Usually single elimination so if you lose your first match you just blew $50 in two minutes.

    In summary, I believe I underestimated the sport. I can certainly see the positives and believe they outway the negatives. I have a new respect for the sport and I believe others would too if they fully understood the sport.

    I placed 3rd in the 35+ beginner category and learned a lot from the experience. I'm eager to improve from my mistakes and enter another as soon as possible.
  2. patfromlogan is offline
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    Posted On:
    2/23/2014 11:55pm

    supporting member
     Style: Kyokushinkai / Kajukenbo

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    I've seen point sparring tournies ranging from sad bullshit to full contact. In Kyokushin you get a point if the opponent can't get up within 3 seconds, if s/he gets up within 3 seconds it's a half point. Still point sparring, but full contact point sparring. Funny KK rules, if there is a tie it can be broken by who breaks the most bricks or who weighs less.

    The tournies I've been in and/or watched are usually not tag contests, though I've seen it happen. Last T in Logan had one guy with a clear foot imprint on his face, toes and all. The bb told me that they weren't counting his shots so he went to full contact so it would be obvious. In SLC one guy (nicknamed Rhino, for his 300 lb body and insane charges) broke a bone in his foot and kept fighting, though he didn't move much. I've seen plenty of injuries in tournies, more than in MMA. Lots of ribs and fingers, noses and such. Some like the Utah Open are controlled at first, but for the top spots it earns it's nickname, The Bloodbath. Lots of red. They wouldn't count points unless the head jerked back.
    "Preparing mentally, the most important thing is, if you aren't doing it for the love of it, then don't do it." - Benny Urquidez
  3. patfromlogan is offline
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    Posted On:
    2/24/2014 12:48am

    supporting member
     Style: Kyokushinkai / Kajukenbo

    1
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    *edit* **** I wish I wasn't cooking dinner and I wish Bullshido allowed a little longer than 45 minutes to edit.

    I've seen point sparring tournies ranging from sad bullshit to full contact. In Kyokushin you get a point if the opponent can't get up within 3 seconds, if s/he gets up within 3 seconds it's a half point. Still point sparring, but full contact point sparring. Funny KK rules, if there is a tie it can be broken by who breaks the most bricks or who weighs less.

    The tournies I've been in and/or watched are usually not tag contests, though I've seen it happen. Last T in Logan had one guy with a clear foot imprint on his face, toes and all. The bb told me that they weren't counting his shots so he went to full contact so it would be obvious. In SLC one guy (nicknamed Rhino, for his 300 lb body and insane charges) broke a bone in his foot and kept fighting, though he didn't move much. I've seen plenty of injuries in tournies, more than in MMA. Lots of ribs and fingers, noses and such. Some like the Utah Open are controlled at first, but for the top spots it earns it's nickname, The Bloodbath. Lots of red. They wouldn't count points unless the head jerked back.

    Point sparring has earned it's shitty rep here on Bullshido. That said, a pick your shot and evade getting tagged works for highly skilled mas like Machida and for the rest of us, when combined with sessions of hard sparring can provide some fighting skills - I'm not saying this well, but I remember in Kajukenbo the Sifu explaining point sparring one night, as we wanted to enter a tournie, and our usual continuous sparring was altered and we learned tournie point sparring, and more skills. Not exactly double leg ground and pound, but being able to get in, with a "point, hopefully a clean powerful hit, does seem to add to fighting techniques.
    "Preparing mentally, the most important thing is, if you aren't doing it for the love of it, then don't do it." - Benny Urquidez
  4. hungryjoe is offline
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    Posted On:
    2/24/2014 1:21am

    supporting member
     Style: judo hiatus

    1
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Point sparring sucks.

    Having said that, if you're going to compete and are allowed strikes to the head (given if you're fighting at shodan ranking in many cases), consider ridge hand to the head. Simple and sudden. I 'earned' more points by this simple technique than all others a life time ago.

    but

    just to reiterate

    Point sparring, in general, sucks.

    Go get yourself, if you wanna strike, some MT, kickboxing, boxing, Kyokushin or similar game.

    Have I mentioned an overall disdain for point sparring?
  5. CapnMunchh is offline

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    Posted On:
    2/24/2014 10:44am

    Bullshido Newbie
     Style: TangSooDo/Yubiwaza

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by hungryjoe View Post
    Point sparring, in general, sucks.
    Yes, it does suck. But it does teach some skills not learned except thru sparring, and its better than no sparring at all. There are a lot of MA schools out there that do no sparring at all, but somehow still look down their noses at point sparring.

    Also, depending on the school, not all point sparring is light tapping contact. I've gotten hit pretty hard a few times. After one particular point tournament, I was pissing blood for several days from getting hit in the kidney. Like Pat, I've also seen plenty of broken noses, ribs, fingers, and toes.
  6. silvers_ghost is offline

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    Posted On:
    2/27/2014 9:07pm


     Style: Kyokushin/Wing Chun

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Shotokan/JKA used to have some pretty brutal point sparring but I think its a shadow of its former self these days. There's some decent footage of the old school stuff on youtube somewhere...worth a look.
  7. ghost55 is online now
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    Posted On:
    2/27/2014 11:32pm


     Style: MMA

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    One of my sensei's trained in Shotokan until he had a few ribs broken during sparring with his instructor (I think this was in the late 60's). That is why he switched to Judo and later Aikido (which he somehow can magically make work).
  8. lizliz is offline

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    Posted On:
    4/01/2014 11:21am

    Bullshido Newbie
     Style: Oyama

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Point sparring does suck and it sucks more when you're forced into a different division/weight class or told to forfeit. Don't go into point tournaments thinking you will fight hard and win because you are stronger or more skilled. I have seen black belts lose to green belts because of the point system, when clearly the black belt could have knocked the lower belt out if s/he chose.

    Use tournaments as a chance to practice what you have been trying out in the dojo. It is nice to spar with people you don't know every so often. Don't try to emphasize tournaments too much otherwise you may find out that you're discouraged and want to quit.
  9. bassaiguy is offline

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    Posted On:
    1/09/2015 8:31am


     Style: Shotokan

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Back in the 80s and 90s I did a lot of point sparring. I was in my teens and twenties and we went pretty hard. I trained with two gentlemen who held PKL national titles for a few years. The training was intense and over ten years or so I broke fingers, toes, ribs and my nose. I've also had injuries such as a dislocated jaw and neck injuries in grappling, so I'm not saying that one is tougher than the other.

    What I will say is that point fighters can be good athletes, but that point competition teaches unrealistic skills. However, SOME of these skills are transferable to real fighting and learning how to hit with speed and strength is valuable.

    Now in my 40s I train almost solely in trad karate. From what I've seen of the tournament scene recently there is IMHO way to much protective gear employed (who needs a face mask and rib protector point sparring?) and too much posturing, but given the right training environment I believe that point sparring can be a way to increase athleticism and motivate students while they are on their way to achieving proficiency as martial artists. It is a means to an end, not an end unto itself.
  10. ksennin is online now

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    Posted On:
    2/09/2015 6:21pm


     Style: KARATE-BJJ-MMA

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Point sparring back in the 80s and 90s down here generally followed PUKO/WUKO rules, and the level of contact allowed was supposed to be just enough to avoid drawing blood. Lawsuits and the like were mostly unheard of here in Central America, so there usually was plentiful blood and flying teeth. My own, a few times.

    I grew to hate the rule-set because people would begin to orient training exclusively towards the point strategies, distorting techniques for what scored highest, with an emphasis on appearance instead of general effectiveness. I saw the original sparring as a limited test of speed and mobility and sustaining the technical form under pressure, but soon people were dropping guards altogether, and emphasizing far more the hikite, or fist pull-back, than the actual strike. The constant referee interruption after the lightest contact discouraged also any kind of solid combinations and lead to suicide lunging that would leave the attacker defenseless without the referee stopping the fight, and people losing would even intentionally lunge forward into lead hand punches to fake excessive contact and have the other guy penalized.

    At the last point championship I ever competed in the mid-90s, I actually floored my opponent three times in a single match, with body strikes, one of them even dislocating his shoulder. I lost that one 5 points to nothing. The guy would feather touch me in ridiculously elongated lunges with legs spread out to near-splits and no guard, a fraction of a second before I knocked him down. Once it was an actual
    backfist to the chest and he fell and stumbled back TWICE from it.

    Years later, after a hiatus, visiting active dojos, I found a generation of karateka who could not block a side kick at all, nor could they perform one; since sidekicks never earned points they had been practically dropped from the training completely. I once did continuous sparring against a guy half my age and twice my speed and he panicked when I attacked continuously. He told me he had NEVER before faced anyone who would just press forward with continuous blows, and not bounce back and fourth intermittently.

    I spent a lot of time looking down upon sport competition because of the restricted techniques allowed and artificial constraints. I later came to realize that training a larger curriculum but in compliant and non-aggressive fashion was even worse, and began to appreciate how sparring with certain narrowed focus would help maximize speed, explosive power, mobility and reflexes, besides the simple athletic benefits of very concentrated training into physically demanding drills.

    A friend of mine never cared about crosstraining, self-defense or realistic fighting, and focused on sports, winning pan-american championships and doing sponsored traveling all over from Canada to Argentina. Meanwhile I fought in garages and boxing gyms and accumulated stitches and near-crippling injuries. Who had the most benefit from training? Even aside from such meta considerations, I now think even point sparring can have a place in training, to develop specialized skills that may be a good addition to a larger fighting arsenal. But it should not be the complete focus of schools and at the least, they should implement continuous-pace alternative sparring to complement the point-stop ones.

    Also, since point sparring is now mostly speed/timing based there is a tendency to focus the classes only on the youngest and most naturally athletic students, shortchanging the ones who may be slower but stronger, and those who are neither, and may be argued are the ones most in need of martial arts instruction.
    So I think these
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