More on sparring

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More on sparring

Post  David A Ross on Thu Dec 01, 2011 6:05 pm

I have a manual that I distribute to my instructors and those in my association. Eventually I'll publish it for the real world, but I also share parts of it from time to time

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Free sparring under realistic conditions is perhaps the most defining aspect of a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) program. As we discussed in various ways throughout this book, the ultimate goal of the program is to produce in our students functional skills. However, we’ve also tried to help the reader understand that there are many ways to achieve this goal and also quite a few misperceptions regarding this aspect of training.

First and foremost, free sparring in the school is not a competition and there are no winners. There should be NO EGO in free sparring and every student must understand that they are responsible for the safety of their partners. Make free sparring all about improving skills and having fun.

At higher levels, they’ll begin to understand that a good sparring session involves times when both partners are actually cooperative, giving a student the security and opportunity to develop new moves. Light sparring will allow you to work on techniques you have not yet perfected. Constantly sparring with full force will only result in injuries, stagnation and frustration and is counterproductive.

Make sure your training partner knows the plan and the pace of your sparring workout.

Second, introduce free sparring gradually. Beginning students should engage in no more than three rounds of free sparring per class until they learn to address their fears and adrenaline response.

The first few weeks, basic drills like the “four shields” will get a student accustomed to being hit. Follow up with some of the “live training” drills we’ve already discussed here.

Get comfortable with the idea of getting hit and hitting someone. The earlier you integrate this acceptance, the more progress you will make.

Third, remember that there are many different free sparring formats designed to develop different skills. In our program we actually use six different formats;

1. Kickboxing sparring with gloves and shin guards
2. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu sparring starting from the knees
3. Pummeling for control with knees strikes
4. Pummeling for control with takedowns
5. San Da sparring (kickboxing with the throws but not ground work)
6. Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) (standing and ground)

Each format has its own advantages and disadvantages so doing all of them produces very well rounded students. Finally, realistic expectations of your performance are important. You will make mistakes.

A few guidelines for san da sparring
1. Hands up
2. Chin down
3. Up on your toes
4. Do no lunge with your punches
5. After every strike or kick recover your guard
6. “Nothing for free”
7. Do not lean back to avoid strikes and kicks
8. Keep your back off the wall/ropes
9. Attack with combinations
10. Set up your kicks
11. Punch vs. kicks
12. Kick vs. punches
13. Clinch to strike
14. Clinch to throw
15. Knee vs. throws
16. Throws vs. knees
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David A Ross

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Re: More on sparring

Post  Mike Patterson on Fri Dec 02, 2011 4:25 pm

David A Ross wrote:I have a manual that I distribute to my instructors and those in my association. Eventually I'll publish it for the real world, but I also share parts of it from time to time

------

Free sparring under realistic conditions is perhaps the most defining aspect of a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) program. As we discussed in various ways throughout this book, the ultimate goal of the program is to produce in our students functional skills. However, we’ve also tried to help the reader understand that there are many ways to achieve this goal and also quite a few misperceptions regarding this aspect of training.

First and foremost, free sparring in the school is not a competition and there are no winners. There should be NO EGO in free sparring and every student must understand that they are responsible for the safety of their partners. Make free sparring all about improving skills and having fun.

At higher levels, they’ll begin to understand that a good sparring session involves times when both partners are actually cooperative, giving a student the security and opportunity to develop new moves. Light sparring will allow you to work on techniques you have not yet perfected. Constantly sparring with full force will only result in injuries, stagnation and frustration and is counterproductive.

Make sure your training partner knows the plan and the pace of your sparring workout.

Second, introduce free sparring gradually. Beginning students should engage in no more than three rounds of free sparring per class until they learn to address their fears and adrenaline response.

The first few weeks, basic drills like the “four shields” will get a student accustomed to being hit. Follow up with some of the “live training” drills we’ve already discussed here.

Get comfortable with the idea of getting hit and hitting someone. The earlier you integrate this acceptance, the more progress you will make.

Third, remember that there are many different free sparring formats designed to develop different skills. In our program we actually use six different formats;

1. Kickboxing sparring with gloves and shin guards
2. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu sparring starting from the knees
3. Pummeling for control with knees strikes
4. Pummeling for control with takedowns
5. San Da sparring (kickboxing with the throws but not ground work)
6. Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) (standing and ground)

Each format has its own advantages and disadvantages so doing all of them produces very well rounded students. Finally, realistic expectations of your performance are important. You will make mistakes.

A few guidelines for san da sparring
1. Hands up
2. Chin down
3. Up on your toes
4. Do no lunge with your punches
5. After every strike or kick recover your guard
6. “Nothing for free”
7. Do not lean back to avoid strikes and kicks
8. Keep your back off the wall/ropes
9. Attack with combinations
10. Set up your kicks
11. Punch vs. kicks
12. Kick vs. punches
13. Clinch to strike
14. Clinch to throw
15. Knee vs. throws
16. Throws vs. knees

Again, echo much of this. I always tell my people that they are not there to kill one another, but to challenge one another. Of course I'm not talking about beginner's here. I feel that when they are working with one another, they should push it to the limit of tolerance on both sides. Cutting your school mate too much of a break does not do him/her any favors because their opponent surely will not when it comes time to step up on the platform. That said, we do our best to limit injury in training. We go hard, but if someone has sustained an injury, they sit out until they are adequately healed. There have also been occasions on "fight nights" where I can just tell that it is heading that way and so I'll call it off and switch to something a little more "toned down". I remember one particular occasion about six weeks before an event where on fight night we had three pairs up and three subsequent injuries. When it's heading that way, it's time to redirect. Smile

Your "six different formats" for free sparring remind me of what we call "refresh drills" where one person takes the center and then I randomly send in an opponent who exhibits a specific skillset.. e.g. a kicking focus, a takedown focus, a boxing focus, etc. This has always worked well for us in preparation against the different international teams as they tend to favor very different skillsets in competition.

And your "guidelines for Sanda" also remind me of something I wrote in the late 70's for my teams that were then Taiwan bound for comps over there. Later, I put this same writing into an article for the now deceased IKF magazine (plus other perspectives on training) when our teams were just getting started again in the 90's. Orginal article here: http://www.hsing-i.com/hsing-i_journal/kuoshu_training.html.

I called it the 24 stems of combat.

1. Distance should be such that when the combatant's hands are stretched outward, the fingers may interlace. When the wrists touch, attack!
2. Observe the nine gates of attack and learn to utilize them in combination.
3. Movement and stillness are one in the same; both are suitable defenses.
4. Never more than two complete steps in any single direction. Do not chase. A smart fighter will time the third step and use it against you.
5. There are four ranges of combat: foot, hand, trap and grapple. Know them well and be able to shift easily from one to another.
6. The best fighters always attack, even when defending. Learn to exploit your opponent's habits.
7. When given a choice between inside and outside closing, always choose outside.
8. Fold from hand to elbow to shoulder and back again.
9. Once the closing is met, stick like glue until conclusion.
10. The best time to kick is when the opponent is moving forward or back, immediately after a bridge has been attempted.
11. The limbs are usually vulnerable.
12. Pyan always at a 45-degree angle off the centerline of attack.
13. Speed should be varied with purpose to lead the opponent's mind.
14. Never telegraph - strikes must be delivered from the present position.
15. Look at the opponent's eyes (or throat) in a single match. In situations of multiple threat, look downward.
16. Strength used wisely is an asset, but be ever wary of the "trap."
17. Pain is an effective way to lead the opponent's mind.
18. When "leading the body," be alert, sensitive, and maintain your sphere.
19. While easier to employ, defense will not win the battle.
20. All true attacks initiate from the feet.
21. Box a "kicker," kick a "boxer."
22. Sweep a high stance, attack a low stance.
23. Study the double strike and the four methods of employment. It is unexpected.
24. Explore technique to grasp principle, holding principle, forget technique.

Just goes to show you that when you seek to apply a TCMA to modern "sport combat" you tend to end up with similar ideas no matter what the stylistic base. I find that immensely interesting. Wink

Mike Patterson

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Re: More on sparring

Post  David A Ross on Fri Dec 02, 2011 5:23 pm

I always found more common ground than real differences among those who were really training, certainly have tons of friends over the years from every so called "distinction" in the CMA, ie southern, northern, internal, extermal, long range, short range... I guess it is human nature to stress your "uniqueness" and to draw lines of distinction.

I am pleased to see all this information being able to be presented without some inevitable troll trying to derail it all! What we need to do is invite more to participate

Thanks for your posts and be well!

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Re: More on sparring

Post  Matt_Stampe on Mon Dec 05, 2011 5:57 pm

One of our members Bill who fought San Shou and now a MMA coach wrote a series of articles. I hope he can share some more insights but here it is:

http://www.fairfaxmma.com/2011/02/an-introduction-to-mma-sparring-part-1.html

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Re: More on sparring

Post  Paul Sacramento on Thu Dec 15, 2011 11:57 am

Sparring is testing.
Without testing we do NOT know our strengths, our weakness, what needs improvement and why and how to improve it.
You sparring partner is your "best friend", he is helping to train and develop your skill as a fighter and making you a better MA.
You are doing the same for him.
The issue in striking arts is, always has been, "degree of contact".
In my view it is simple:
Hard enough to keep it real, not so hard that anyone gets seriously hurt.
I believe that EVERY MA must spar hard to develop their skills and IF they can do full contact that is even better.
There is a stage that every MA that WANTS to be a fighter MUSt pass through and that stage is the full contact, get my ass ko'ed stage.
You can't develop without it.
That said, this stage doesn't have to last forever nor does it even have to be the bulk of training BUT it MUST be there in the testing phase.

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Re: More on sparring

Post  David A Ross on Thu Dec 15, 2011 12:06 pm

Clearly, we've all experienced both personally and in our own students that realization that once it's sparring and not just drills it's, WHOA, it's different! Very Happy

I think the average student, the group class setting, you want it hard enough that people know when they get hit, and it's realistic enough they know exactly where they are in the "food chain"

I think the worst thing is meeting some TMA who have not done contact who think they are whirl-winds-of-death, guys who walk up to Matt Hughs in a parking lot, take a look at him and say "yeah, I could beat that guy" Very Happy
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Re: More on sparring

Post  Paul Sacramento on Thu Dec 15, 2011 1:37 pm

David A Ross wrote:Clearly, we've all experienced both personally and in our own students that realization that once it's sparring and not just drills it's, WHOA, it's different! Very Happy

I think the average student, the group class setting, you want it hard enough that people know when they get hit, and it's realistic enough they know exactly where they are in the "food chain"

I think the worst thing is meeting some TMA who have not done contact who think they are whirl-winds-of-death, guys who walk up to Matt Hughs in a parking lot, take a look at him and say "yeah, I could beat that guy" Very Happy

Can't cure stupid.
Nothing wakes you up to the reality of fighting than, gasp !, fighting !
Crazy talk, yes I know, but there you have it.
The best place to find out the you do NOT have the "uber deadly god hand" is in class, not on the street.

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Re: More on sparring

Post  David A Ross on Thu Dec 15, 2011 1:46 pm

Paul Sacramento wrote:

The best place to find out the you do NOT have the "uber deadly god hand" is in class, not on the street.

QFT

I think we've both seen that realization play out in rings and cages though. Fortunately for them, not as bad as the street, but a harsh wake up call none the less....
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