View Full Version : point sparring productive?

8/23/2002 6:56am,
Point sparring, is it productive enough to make up for the bad habbits it inspires? The type of point match that I am talking about is the standard TKD type.

Participants can attack in a straight line, advancing and retreating. The target area consists of the middle of the front of the torso: from the stomach to the sternum. Also, the head is a legal target. Nothing below the belt is legal.

Some bad habbits I have seen this sort of sparring develop in students:

* Curving your butt towards the enemy. This blocks the legal target area on the front of your torso from view. You can tuck your head under your shoulder and be nearly impenetrable while you advance ready to turn your back completely and throw a back kick. - In a real fight, advancing this way leaves your kidneys and spine wide open for attack. You have to turn your back to use your rear leg or arm.

* Reliance on the side guard in general. The side guard stance makes the legal target are very thin and hard to attack from the front. Putting your guard up high will protect you from all round kick attacks. Remember nobody can attack low so you can keep both arms over the target area until you strike. - This stance makes it difficult for you to use your rear leg or arm to attack unless you spin and turn your back to your enemy or spin/jump forward, telegraphing it completely. You are limited to one arm and one leg for your lead attack. It is also very hard to evade or resist a shoot fighter when you are in the side guard. You can't crouch or sprawl, only lower yourself on flexed knees, planting yourself and extending the leg and saying here take it .. put me on my back.

* Guarding up high with your arms since low kicks are not legal. This habbit can leave you vulnerable to kicks to the leg. The high stance and guard also leaves you wide open to any shoot fighter, wrestler or grappler. (Same goes for high kickboxing and boxing guards) - Wrestlers always crouch - the reason is so they can avoid being taken down.

* Point sparring leads people to develop a habbit of scoring and not following up with a combonation - depending on the instruction given.

There are sweep kicks, low blocks and reverse punches in TKD. I am not blaming the art itself for developing these habbits. I am just saying, what they do in point sparring is what the kids will rely on in a fight .. not what they learn in the kata.

I believe standard TKD point sparring inspires bad habbits in students - especially when it isn't coached. They do learn to throw punches and kicks at moving, resistant opponants. I think other drills are necesary though - and teaching the difference between point sparring in a tournament and fighting is necessary - anyway ..

Any more input on point sparring? Pros and cons? Any ideas?

>> To be bound by traditional martial art style or styles is the way of the mindless, enslaved martial artist, but to be inspired by the traditional martial art and to achieve further heights is the way of genius. - Bruce Lee

Mr. Donkeypenis
8/23/2002 7:31am,
Point sparring TKD style is absolutely unproductive. It should basically be eliminated from ALL martial arts curriculum because of it's immense counter-productivity. The MA that practices this learns nothing but bad habits that degrade his ability to fight. Even as a drill, point sparring in this method has no value whatsoever.


The Shooter
8/23/2002 7:32am,
Point sparring is hella gay!

8/23/2002 9:45am,
Counter-productive though it may be, it still has some worth as a test of what you can pull and what you can't on a resisting opponent. I'll be the first to agree that TKD point sparring is full of **** with too many restrictions (sweeps, legal targets, etc), but "point sparring" itself has its place, though perhaps one not as prominent as now, maybe as a drill somewhere between yakusoku kumite ("one-step sparring") and full-contact sparring.

And that's what I call REAL Ultimate Power!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

8/23/2002 9:49am,
Even though I'm a TKD practitioner I think the point system is crap. I've seen people get there ass handed to them but win on points. Typically punches aren't scored as points unless the punch knocks the person back. Most people don't even rely on punches in TKD.
Like my football coach stated. "What you do in practice is what you'll do in the game." So I do feel it breeds a glaring weakness in a persons ability to fight in real situations.

8/23/2002 9:57am,
If you're training to achieve combative skills, point sparring will totally work against that. As long as there is rules and no full contact, it wont look like the real thing in a real situation.

Guro David Gould said: "Train as you fight, and you will fight as you train".

So to keep it simple: You must train för the real thing in a way that prepares you for that.

8/23/2002 10:52am,
Full-Contact Sparring is the only realistic training method! Even with weapons disarms and such like in Traditional Jiu-Jitsu, unless they are swinging that stick/knife like they really mean to hit you, there is no value in training!

Andy Kaufman
8/23/2002 11:04am,
i used to compete in sport karate.

unfortunately you are very correct.

8/23/2002 11:50am,
Point sparring is fuking gay. It encourages people to do quick flicky type attacks that lack any power. My old office chum in grad school won the gold medal in the state summer games for TKD. All he knew was point sparring. Without his rules he just fuking helpless in a fight. He was totally defenseless against someone that would move inside his kicking range.

8/23/2002 1:26pm,
what most of you are saying is true about point sparring. it basically instills a "fencing attitude." one person lunges and hits, retreats, the other person hits & retreats, back and forth. this is an effective way to practice the sport. it's just important for TKD stylists to know that you shouldn't try and "spar" in a combat situation.
my old TKD school rarely point sparred. however, the fencing attitude was common. instructors really need to make the distinction between sparring and fighting a lot more clear. i had to find out for myself: i gave my jujitsu friend a good roundhouse to the chest once. instead of following up, i retreated. next thing i knew i was on the ground going "WTF?"

8/23/2002 8:06pm,
I think free sparring with gear along with other drills is fine and a good work out. But point sparring only leads to a false sense of combative reality. At least in free sparring if you don't focus you can get knocked on your ass.