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  1. #1

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    Noob question about sparring

    Hi everyone,

    I am a little afraid of outing myself here, but it seems like many posters here have a lot of experience with sparring, and I could use some anonymous advice. I have been training in a traditional Korean art with sparring pretty much every class.

    I was drawn to this school because it did not have the macho extreme contact vibe - this may seem contra to the concept of aliveness, but I have to hold a job, take care of kids, etc. I wanted a fun way to get back in shape, and more importantly, improve my flexibility. Yoga did not appeal (although Yoga X from P90X is kicking my @ss, but I digress). That said, I have really enjoyed the sparring aspect - especially with the athletic and advanced people in class.

    When I first started, I had some problems with control, but I have been getting steadily better. Being a pretty big guy, I don't want to hurt any of my partners and feel this aspect of my sparring has been getting much better. Occasionally, some of the kicks in at-speed sparring from my partners go pretty hard and things ratchet up. I don't mind, and try to keep up but not hit too hard. I have been on the receiving end of as many or more hard shots than I have given. When things go too hard, for the most part, we try to bring the level down.

    Anyway, lurking on here, I have seen many posts from the more advanced posters that when they spar newer guys and it gets too heavy, they give the noob a hard shot to let them know who's boss, etc.

    My question follows: In sparring a much more advanced person recently, I was told that I went too hard, and that if I didn't bring it down, he would really go hard on me. I understood that he was angry, and brought down my intensity during the rest of the session, but got a hard hit to the head later (not enough to hurt or dizzy). What concerns me is I feel like this person has now escalated the situation, and I don't know if I can trust them in sparring. It made me remember a point sparring match with the same person recently where I received a hard punch that bruised my ribs. I didn't think anything of it at the time as I thought it was an accident, but now am not so sure.

    I really like sparring this person, because they are so much more skilled than I am, and I feel like it helps me. I am not afraid of a hard shot, but I don't want to be in a situation where I am trying not to hurt a person who will take an opening and try to hurt me.

    If I were better, I would like to think I would just use this as an opportunity to make sure my guard is good. On the other hand, I feel like I need to be able to trust my sparring partner - or am I just being a *****?

    thanks

  2. #2

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    From what you've described, i'd wager you're not being a *****. You're looking for recreational sparring, and want to feel confident that your partners will keep your safety in mind as you progress. The flip-side, of course, is your responsibility to protect them as you progress (i've been told that there is nobody more likely to hurt a black belt than a white belt... take your responsibility seriously :) ).

    If your gut instinct is that you can't trust this partner to protect you while sparring, at this point in your training, speak privately with the teacher and solicit their advice. Regardless, never get on the mat with someone you're not comfortable with.

    That being said, it falls on you to learn to tame your own level of aggression and intensity. Furthermore, you want to ensure that you're always progressing - this means regularly putting yourself against people that are better than you. Make sure you don't confuse mistrust of a partner with frustration that they're putting a whuppin on ya (safely).

    Well, thems are my 2 cents. enjoy your training!

  3. #3
    gregaquaman's Avatar
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    I talk to every person I spar with to find out what level they want to go at but I think sparing is not a competition it is a skill building exersize.

    This will change a bit when I get to know people but when I am the new guy I am very carefull and very light. I also tend to back off if the other guy has walked into a shot. Again this changes when I get to know the guy.

  4. #4

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    Thanks for the advice. I talked to a friend who is a TKD black belt in another state, who told me to just use it as an opportunity to get better. I will try to talk to the guy to make sure there is no animosity (or at least I will know). I just don' t want to ruin a good thing as I really enjoy the sparring. Thanks again.

  5. #5
    MMAMickey's Avatar
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    it sounds like the advanced guy is the *****.

    this is the problem with point sparring styles. the best fighter in the room is no different from being the best ballet dancer.

    if he is going to bitch when you hit him maybe you should try judo.. but FUBAR him first
    "The hero and the coward both feel the same thing, but the hero projects his fear onto his opponent while the coward runs. 'Fear'. It's the same thing, but it's what you do with it that matters". - Cus D'Amato
    Spoiler:


  6. #6

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    Use your words. If he doesn't respond to that, and you can't agree with each other on how hard to go, train with someone else. If the school objects, or you can't find enough good people to train with, go elsewhere.

  7. #7
    gregaquaman's Avatar
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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Also if you chose a school that does contact fighting the advanced guys are far less likly to throw a hissy fit if you get a clean shot on them.

    I have found a lot of full contact gyms really are not in the buisness of smashing the crap out of the new guy. It is more of a building process that is really not as bad as it seems to a beginner.
    But you would need to talk to the people running them to get a feel of what you are in for.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by MMAMickey View Post
    it sounds like the advanced guy is the *****.

    this is the problem with point sparring styles. the best fighter in the room is no different from being the best ballet dancer.

    if he is going to bitch when you hit him maybe you should try judo.. but FUBAR him first
    At the judo place I go to, the higher ranks are typically instructed not to finish throws or throw hard with noobs so that they don't get gun shy. They also tend to go pretty slow during randori so that the noobs can get a good feel for how everything works and maybe get a throw or two in.

    Just my two cents :)

  9. #9
    maofas's Avatar
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    You don't need to spar super-hard all the time, but if you're spending more energy & mental focus on pulling your hits than throwing the technique out in the first place, that's not productive sparring. A pulled punch or kick has a different range of motion than the full technique. You've got to practice the right motions for the sake of technique, it's not about being tough.

    Try talking to the guy and see if you can arrange a suitable contact level where you guys can hit each other solidly enough to show stopping power, but not pound each other into seeing stars on every clash.

    If this doesn't work, then tell him to HTFU or wear a chest protector if he's going to be such a bitch. (Actually just leave and find someplace that has sparring that's more in tune with what you want.)
    Last edited by maofas; 5/12/2010 9:48pm at .

  10. #10
    MMAMickey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron_ View Post
    At the judo place I go to, the higher ranks are typically instructed not to finish throws or throw hard with noobs so that they don't get gun shy. They also tend to go pretty slow during randori so that the noobs can get a good feel for how everything works and maybe get a throw or two in.

    Just my two cents :)
    but if a noob throws them they dont bitch about it
    "The hero and the coward both feel the same thing, but the hero projects his fear onto his opponent while the coward runs. 'Fear'. It's the same thing, but it's what you do with it that matters". - Cus D'Amato
    Spoiler:


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