How necessary is hard/full contact for realistic training? Why?

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Discussion' started by Hazmatac, Mar 25, 2014.

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  1. Hazmatac

    Hazmatac Valued Member

    I want to be adequately prepared for a real life scenario. I don't want to regularly put myself in hard-sparring situations which can lead to brain damage, or possible severe injury (landing wrong on a throw, etc.). I could use headgear but that doesn't fully defend against a knockout, which IS brain-damage. I value my mind and intelligence.

    There is a logic for heavier sparring with very few rules.

    -It gets you better prepared for the adrenaline dump in a real life situation
    -You will know what it's like to deal with someone throwing stuff at you full power.
    -You will get used to getting hit.
    -You will get a feel for throwing the techniques full power so you can have more control over them (timing, execution, skill level, etc.)
    -There is the idea: "If you don't train with contact you will pull strikes in a fight." So, you do in real life what you do in training, or at least to a significant extent.

    So I am wondering how true these are. Perhaps meditation could help you deal with an adrenaline dump... perhaps you can work on your own pain tolerance in a controlled way... ... perhaps you can throw the techniques full out in a safe way on your opponent or full fledged on a heavy back and develop the same skill... perhaps the "you fight how you train" in this context is flat out false, and you won't pull your punches at all. I can't think of something that would adequately be an example or counter-example though.
    I don't know if these statements are true, but perhaps they are.

    I'm not saying sparring is wrong, but perhaps full-contact sparring is necessary, and to be avoided with a higher risk of brain damage and injury. What are your thoughts?
  2. belltoller

    belltoller OffTopic MonstreOrdinaire Supporter

    From what I understand, its the accumulation of head blows over time that does the damage.

    A simplistic ( and by no means to be taken as the correct ) answer is the occasional, heavy full contact as a gauge/measurement/pressure-test of more frequent light/low contact sparring with lots of eyeball and input from experienced instructors.

    Also something to consider – how do you do with verbal altercations of the sort that have a high likelyhood of becoming emotionally charged – for example being screamed at? How do you feel when thrust in situations where group dynamics come into play where strong alpha-dominant types allowed run of things and one's rank in a heirarchial setting is deemed important?

    Do you eventually find your space – even if taking hits along the way or are you always the odd-man out, feeling isolated or a target?

    Do you get frustrated in verbal arguments? Feel intimidated emotionally or do you have an intuition when its wise to speak up and when you should stay out of the thick of things? <--- IMHO, these non-physical tendancies carry more weight as to how you'll handle yourself than how athletic you are in an emotionally-controlled (relatively) setting like a boxing ring or jiu-jitsu mat.

    Being in a MA school/gym where some of these above social-emotional uncertainties are allowed or find their way into your physical training is at least one way to attempt to reinforce deficits where the physical and emotional meet.

    Of course that means your gonna get slapped around some - but...

    I know that isn't a tidy response - save, perhaps for the second paragraph.
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2014
  3. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    I coach and train in a full contact style, full time. The majority of our sparring is light contact and we up the level of impact the closer we get to a fight/tournament. Just end up broke otherwise (bone, joint and soft tissue injuries are bigger concerns than brain damage). I don't buy into the idea that sparring anything less than full contact will make you pull your punches (or kicks) in a real fight. It just never happened to me. (Don't get me wrong, there were times when I hit the guy full whack - I mean with everything I had - and he was still stood there, with a look of mild bemusement on his face.) You have to understand too that you're probably not going to get hit as hard as you might think in a real fight.*

    * Unless you're squaring off with a trained fighter. Then you're royally screwed lol.
  4. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    Sparring with genuine risk of being hit makes you realise the gap between theory and practice. It sharpens your reflexes and gives you tremendous respect for distance

    It is not a "real fight", whatever one of those means anyway, but it is an uncooperative opponent and the "consequences of failure" in application of techniques are real. Now with that said, I still maintain that -depending on your aim of course - that "sparring" per se is not a requirement, but "pressure testing" is. That can manifest itself as sparring certainly (and everyone SHOULD spar if they have teh chance) but can be scenarios, pressure drills etc....

    If you are not introducing an element of non-compliance with a risk of being hurt in some way into your training then you are not properly. This does of course pre-suppose combat efficiacy is your end goal

    For fun, fitness, friendship or other reasons then there is no requirement to put such pressure in.
  5. Daithí

    Daithí Valued Member

    I can't stand it when people go on and on about how you MUST spar at 100% against a FULLY resisting opponent. I just don't think they realize what it is they're saying. Although I've never competed, in my mind competition is 100%, and I can say that I've never gone 100% in sparring. I'm a big guy. I'm 6'2" and a bit overweight now, about 110kg. But at my peak I was 98kg. I don't want to think about what would happen if I landed a full power right straight on the jaw of one of my training partners. And that's not to mention the follow up left hook. That said, I do believe that hard sparring is necessary. There must be contact. I'm sure we've all seen people make the transition to full contact training and end up looking out of place and a few levels behind what they were in their previous art.

    What ever happened to the higher grade/more experienced person going just above the level of the other person? Put them under pressure, but only enough that they can handle it without getting completely dominated.

    I think what can make people pull their punches is training things like focus shots i.e. training to not hit their opponents. Which never really made sense to me.

    Happy Tuesday everyone.

  6. belltoller

    belltoller OffTopic MonstreOrdinaire Supporter

    As Real as It Gits...

  7. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

  8. m1k3jobs

    m1k3jobs Dudeist Priest

    Would somebody give Hannibal some kleenex?
  9. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

  10. Saved_in_Blood

    Saved_in_Blood Valued Member

    IMO it's VERY necessary to spar. I would say my instructor and I go just in the middle when it comes to contact, but if you don't get hit, you'll never learn how to avoid when someone is throwing punches/kicks with the sole intention of hitting you. Light sparring where you are just tapping someone doesn't do much, you have to regret getting hit because it's unpleasant, or maybe even painful at times. I think overall it helps one a little more to control adrenaline in an SD situation.
  11. 47MartialMan

    47MartialMan Valued Member

    You hear it often: Someone is wanting "Real Fight Training"

    I say, look for those "Backyard/Empty Parking Lot Bouts" and see how well one does. :rolleyes:

    Of course, these are not without consequences :eek:
  12. Fujian Animal

    Fujian Animal Banned Banned

    I agree, but hey thats common sense 2+2=4. Fighting is as real as fighting gets. But lighter sparring will allow you to take more hits, thus learn more.
  13. Fujian Animal

    Fujian Animal Banned Banned

    It sounds like the JKD definition of taijitu (yinyang) concept. I practice light and medium sparring without protective gear. Hard sparring requires protecting gear. Also, its important to note the difference between hard full contact sparring and street fighting. Sparring never reaches 60% of your potential without risking too much injury. Hard sparring demands protective gear. Medium sparring, I would still wear a groin cup and eye goggles. Light sparring is nothing too risky, but you can still get hurt. I've learned to wear gloves, goggles, mouthpieces, andeverything when playing with sticks and stones, but most of the time I just do light sparring without protective gea.
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2014
  14. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    The brain damage issue has bothered me for a long time. Here is my "simple" solution (it's still under the "testing" stage). Since you have to give up your striking tool, if you are not in wrestling, the trade off may not be worthwhile, or even make sense to you. I do believe by using the "big fist" strategy, you can reduce your brain damage to the minimum.


    Of course you don't want to play "defense" all the time. Hopefully after your opponent has thrown 2 punches at your head, you can take him down.

    Last edited: Jun 3, 2014
  15. GenghisK

    GenghisK Jiu Jitsu Kempoka

    You'll never do full power, no rules, sparring unless you are genuinely trying to protect your life. To pick a really obvious example, nobody would condone real eye gouges in a training environment, but I'm sure that any of us would use them on somebody we genuinely believed was trying to kill us.

    So, surely, the issue here is to create rules that make it realistic enough, but safe enough?

    On the ground, or from a randori position starter this is a lot easier, as two people can go full power in groundwork or upright grappling, where all that is really required is a rule of no (or only simulated) blows to the face, groin and kidneys.

    If you're talking pure upright striking / kicking, this is much harder, as there's too much to break, with or without armour. Knees and necks, or the brain are still there and vulnerable however much armour you wear.

    So basically, you need to construct training, in my opinion, in chunks. There's the chunks where you practice the full repertoire of technique - but with control, and the chunks where you practice 100% effort, but with safety rules.

    The result, hopefully, is a martial artist, who if they need to put everything together to save their life, can.

    Another approach, which I use quite a lot, is asymmetric sparring. Uke / attacker is using full force to try and hurt tori/defender (of course, they need to be an experienced enough martial artist to stop just short of actually breaking their tori). Tori, on the other hand is using whatever's necessary to control the situation and restrain the attacker, but won't be trying to break them. I quite like that as a realistic scenario - particularly as somebody traiing in a country festooned with CCTV cameras, and an over-zealous prosecution service.

  16. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    Don't count on it.

    I've posted it before on MAP, but there is an enlightening interview with a U.S. veteran descibing a hand-to-hand fight to the death with an insurgent. He got his thumbs on the insurgent's eyes, but even though it was do-or-die he could not bring himself to dig his thumbs in.

    Best not to count on things you've never done.
  17. GenghisK

    GenghisK Jiu Jitsu Kempoka

    The defender there appears to be completely stuffed if his attacker throws a kick to the knees, or groin, or a downward punch into the solar plexus, or just grabs them around the waist?

    Incidentally you, or whoever made that video, looks to have basically taken a defensive stance used in an art called keysi, where I think it's referred to as the "thinking man" stance. That was used a lot in the choreography for the movie "Batman begins" and was briefly fashionable about then.

  18. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    At this moment, this clip only tries to address the "head shot - brain damage" issue. The body shot and kicking are not fully considered here yet. Since this strategy is designed to be used by a wrestler against a striker, the wrestler against another wrestler issue is also not addressed here.

    Don't know anything about keysi. I'll do some Google on it.
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2014
  19. GenghisK

    GenghisK Jiu Jitsu Kempoka

    Would a wrestler not want their hands free so that they can transition to the grapple?

  20. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    The "big fist" is to force your opponent to only punch from the right side of your right arm, or to punch from the left side of your left arm. He will not be able to punch between your arms. It's called to "protect your center from inside out". When your arms have contacted your opponent's arms and inside both of his arms, you then wrap his "leading arm" and head and take him down. The extended arms are much easier to get into the clinching range. the arms will be freed the moment it passes the striking range and get into the clinching range.

    I find a picture of the "thinking man stance".


    The "thinking man stance" is like the boxing guard that you use your arms to protect your head. The "big fist" is used to extend your arms as far as you can and put your big fist near by your opponent's face. When you use your big fist and run toward your opponent like a mad man, it can be used as an offense tool and put your opponent into defense mode.

    In the following clip, he used his big fist to hit on his opponent's chest just for practice purpose.

    Last edited: Jun 3, 2014
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