Under: martial arts
25 Oct 2009

8 Responses to “Martial Arts Contact Rules; Are you a Macho Man?”

  1. TheMartialArtsReporter Says:

    Contact or no contact? That’s the question.
    Years ago, I trained in Shotokan Karate.
    Contact to midsection, absolutely. KO’s to
    solar plexus, sure. Of course no contact to
    the head. To mix it up and to get a “feel”
    for contact, we would slip on the Safe-T
    Years later, Muay Thai training, now that’s
    a totally different ball game if you know what
    I mean. (very much ouch at times).
    And I agree, after how many blows to the head
    does it start getting healthy?
    We’re pretty on the same page (again).
    Thanks for sharing your insights.

  2. mike ferruggia Says:

    Nice in depth article. When I was first learning tai chi push hands, I teamed up with a guy who wanted me to let him keep getting the upper hand on me, but he didn’t explain this. He lost his temper, and turned a soft cooperative exercise into slapping my hands down and giving me a very hard push/strike to the chest, whipping my neck. Very unfair. I walked away, and never worked with him again. In tai chi, full sparring is rare. The most people get to is push hands. While push hands does take you to another level of efficiency, it’s still not enough. You need to spar, try things out, see if they really work. I think this can be done with light contact, and in snippets, especially since a lot of tai chi is in close and resembles grappling. But, while we all mentally train to strike the throat, behind the ear, the temples, the eyes, we don’t do that, obviously. Will we be ready to gouge out someone’s eyes in a real fight? I don’t know. We try to repeat certain movements so that we won’t think, just do. But how many of us will “pull” a strike in a real situation like we do in sparring? One video I saw years ago suggested hanging pieces of paper and mentally saying, “go,” and then jabbing the paper with a hand or finger strike. If you do this enough times, penetrate the paper, you just might penetrate your opponent in a real fight.
    Finally, I will say, my lack of experience is a serious obstacle–I haven’t been in a real fight since being 4 or 5 years old! There’s no substitute for experience–when I was playing music, I learned by leaps and bounds by playing in front of a live audience–it was the real deal. I venture to say the same is true in fighting. I’ll add, I kinda hope I never have to get this kind of experience!


  3. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hi The Martial Arts Reporter, Yep there is nothing like starting out in sparring with only body shots. It gives you the confidence to learn that well before adding in the head shots.

    Hi Mike Ferruggia, working with partners can be tough but it is good to work through the issues in the dojo. I see the benifit of alternate ways of validating one had the power or speed to make a technique work. I know for me after getting my green belt, I found out the stuff I learned really worked.

    The interesting thing I see reading the blogs is many martial artists are questioning their ability (since many have not had to defend themselves). Not sure how to overcome that other than taking up some type of contact sparring…

  4. Neal Martin Says:

    It’s as you say, John, your own best interest should be your primary concern. I spar all the time and I like to go a little hard occassionally because I think it helps to be abl to take a hit (and also give it). It’s practice though, so I don’t see the point of injuring someone. There is no need for that and if you do it’s usually because your ego got in the way (i.e. you were showing off).

    In terms of self defense, I have found real fighting to be much different from sparring in the dojo. I have used the odd move from sparring in the past but usually you don’t get a chance to react like that because real fights are so fast and furious. I also don’t think sparring really prepares you very well for real fighting. The two are just so different. You closest you will get to such practice is something like Animal Day, were you just go all out, no holds barred, but that’s more about creating pressure and seeing how you react under it.

    Dojo sparring is mainly about technique and I think the contact should be light to moderate. If you are fully geared up then you can go that bit harder. I just don’t see the point in needless injury through heavy contact. Anyone I’ve sparred who has hit hard have been arrogant assholes out to prove something. Good post and I enjoyed watching your fight. Good technique on display. Not my style of fighting though, never been keen on semi-contact. I prefer continuous fighting. I have a recent video of myself fighting but I don’t know whether to post it or not because I got disqualified for using a knee strike. It was pretty dirty, I have to admit. I might post it anyway.

  5. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hi Neil, I think it is a matter of perspective. The reason real fights equated to regular sparring or point matches for me was I am an outside fighter (unless I am on the blitz).

    All I do is watch my distance and attack at (hopefully) an opportune minute. The pace is different as you say in a real fight but that does not change my strategy – just speeds it up a bit. I’ve ended most of my fights with a well timed counter punch.

    Continuous sparring was not around in my time but it was how one sparred in the school. The only time we practiced point fighting was right before a tournament. Perhaps you can clarify a question I have about continuous fighting.

    The matches I’ve seen on youtube – the judges stopped the action to score points. If that is the case – how is it different than point fighting? I would have though the action would not stop and the judges would just score points like a full contact match or boxing (10 point must).

    Anyway in the school one has to fight their way out of a situation much like one would have to on the street (but not at the same pace).

    For me posting the video was kind of like looking at a time warp… I’m 52 and that was when I was in my late teens to early 20’s.

    I used to want the win or I also had not problem with disqualification if I lost. Not sure about the knee strike but one of my favorite “tricks” was to miss with my side kick to the body and “accidentally” hit the thigh! I would usually employ that if nothing else was working for me that day. I reasoned if the guy could not lift his leg – I’d have a chance. :)

  6. Neal Martin Says:

    Continuous fighting is different in that the fight isn’t stopped every time a point is scored. The judges have counters in hand and just clock up the points as they go along. It’s basically like full contact, only you also have light contact, which is virtually no contact but it never works out that way. You always end up going hard anyway, though not as all out as full contact. Sound confusing? It usually is. The rules in these things change all the time.

  7. pat Says:

    I have fought hard and soft. You do have to play both ways to get a feel of reality.
    The problem comes when you start smacking so hard that you teach someone not to come in on you. Hit them and they will learn.

    Will they learn to hit back better?

    Sometimes and sometimes they become more passive. So, we create a problem by hitting too hard or too soft,students don’t learn the real feel of contact. Tough choices.
    .-= pat´s last blog ..Karate Belt Display updated Sun Mar 7 2010 6:29 pm CST =-.

  8. Joe Mack Says:

    Sparring is a good practice technique. I just don’t think that will help in a real scenario. Sparring is planned a real attack is not. Check out http://selfdefensefacts.com great way to learn self defense
    Joe Mack recently posted..Rich Franklin Knocks Liddell Out – UFC 115 ResultsMy Profile