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How bad does not sparring effect you in a real street fight situation?
#1
Question 
Been having an interesting discussion on another board on this topic. Here are my thoughts:


Quote:To begin, per the OP question, we're talking about a self-defense training methodology as opposed to a sport training methodology. As such I would suggest that sparring is less efficient than a scenario-based training methodology. Here are points to consider:


•Sparring normally requires a specific rule set and safety equipment. In other words, one person stands 'here' and the other stands 'there' and then they begin sparring i.e. attempting to hit/kick/grapple with one another. Sparring may be based upon points or takedowns. None of this is conducive to what is actually needed in a self-defense situation.

•I've never seen a 'sparring' session that allows for one opponent to attempt to verbally de-esculate the other. Nor have I seen a session allow/encourage improvised weapons, cover, concealment, escape & evasion or the use of barriers.

•The above is where a scenario-based training session shines. The 'trainee' of the scenario can go in 'cold' which represents a surprise situation (which is common since an attacker will chose a time/place that is advantageous to them and disadvantageous to you). It requires them to quickly evaluate the situation and determine a course of action, possibly while under duress and the affects of an adrenaline dump i.e. tunnel vision, auditory exclusion, loss of manual dexterity in the extremities, breathing control, starting from a position of disadvantage etc.

•Whereas a sparring session normally involves an artificial environment i.e. flat, dry surface in a well lit venue with a rule set, the scenario can be in any type of location or situation i.e. dim light, hallway, elevator, stairs, alley, sloping surface etc. This is more realistic and can be altered continuously.

•L.E. uses the scenario-based methodology for both weapons and Defensive Tactics with good results for a multitude of scenarios. It works well for lightly trained people all the way to highly trained professionals.






Above is the video that was offered by the MMAist on the other board. My response was as follows:

Quote:Okay, sparring as demonstrated in the video or in general. What are the good points? Well to begin, we have a training tool that allows you to use the basic skills that you have learned. That could include striking, kicking, grappling, locks and/or a combination of those things. So that is a good thing. Next, it allows you to use it against an opponent that is resisting your attempts to control the situation (for whatever the desired result). So that is also a good thing.

So sparring does have a couple of things going for it. Can we all agree on this point?

Now, here are, in my professional opinion, where sparring (as presented in the video and in general) is less than optimal for the purpose of self-defense and other methods are superior (for this specific purpose). To be clear, that should not be taken as a slap in the head for sparring. But if we're to have a frank, open conversation on the topic we need to look at the good as well as the bad (or ugly).

Using the video as a point of reference:


•They are in a controlled environment. Can we all agree that you are not likely to get attacked inside of a school as opposed to other venues? Can we all agree that you and your attacker aren't likely to be wearing safety equipment? Can we all agree that your attacker may not be standing in front of you in a starting position and waiting for you to also get into a starting position? Can we all agree that an attacker may not be abiding by the same rule set that you are using? Can we all agree that the terrain is likely not going to include a dry, level, flat, padded surface (and padded walls) in a well lit venue?

•There is no opportunity or attempt at verbalization i.e. opportunity to de-escalate the situation before it begins. Now not every situation will provide that luxury, but some will. And it needs to be addressed and trained for accordingly. Any fight that can be avoided is a fight that was won. Otherwise no one wins and everyone loses.

•The video demonstrates normal sparring i.e. you stand here and he stands there and you start boxing and dancing and looking for an opening. They go to a point, stop and then reset. This is fine for competition, but is not reflective of how a real fight progresses. There is no reset, break, tap out or time out.

•No opportunity is utilized to escape the situation or place a barrier between you and the attacker.

•No attempt is made to draw attention to the attack as it is happening. Attracting the attention of bystanders or the public in general is good for you and bad for the attacker(s) that don't want to be identified.

•The video demonstrates attempts to go for a submission. While that may be fine to calm down your drunk uncle at the family BBQ because you're trying not to hurt him, attempts to purposefully go the to ground in an actual attack is fool-hardy at best and detrimental to your life at the worst. In a real world altercation you NEED to assume weapons are present and multiple assailants are present until the attack is over. The video does not address either real world consideration at all.

•While the training demonstrated may suffice for an untrained attacker, I honestly don't like your chances against a determined (trained or not) attacker(s) who may be armed and/or under the influence of a drug.

•The video does not address taking the situation to a specific conclusion. This is paramount! As detailed by JKS, under duress you WILL react as you train. As I've said before many times, you will NOT rise to the occasion...you WILL sink to the level of your training. In short, how you train is how you will react under extreme duress. That can be a good or bad thing.

•The video does not address self defense applicable laws and legal uses-of-force. It is only you stand there, I'll stand here and let's start duking it out and then we'll stop, reset and do it again. That isn't real life.


Scenario based training addresses all of the real world concerns detailed above in ADDITION to the things sparring addresses i.e. full contact with and from a resisting attacker. So where sparring has a limited use for SD, scenario based training takes all that sparring offers and takes it up several notches to an entirely different level. Sparring is not the tool to address these other consideration. Thus whereas one needs to spar for competition, one does not need to spar for SD as their are other tools that incorporate what sparring has to offer and adds elements that sparring (as presented in the offered video link and in general) doesn't include.

I offered this in the SD area, I will repost the link here. It is three separate articles.

How to Spar for the Street: by Iain Abernethy
Two thousand years ago wise men sought Christ, wise men still do.

Techniques are situational, principles are universal.

Fast as the wind, quiet as the forest, aggressive as fire, and immovable as a mountain.

He who gets there first with the most...wins!

Minimal force may not be minimum force!

We don't rise to the occasion...we sink to the level of our training.


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#2
What a huge topic. I've been looking at it for weeks and finally decided to give it a shot.

To the original premise, I agree totally. Sport sparring is for sport, 'sparring' for the street us not what most people would consider sparring.
(07-14-2015, 03:43 AM)Kong Soo Do Wrote: To begin, per the OP question, we're talking about a self-defense training methodology as opposed to a sport training methodology. As such I would suggest that sparring is less efficient than a scenario-based training methodology. Here are points to consider:


•Sparring normally requires a specific rule set and safety equipment. In other words, one person stands 'here' and the other stands 'there' and then they begin sparring i.e. attempting to hit/kick/grapple with one another. Sparring may be based upon points or takedowns. None of this is conducive to what is actually needed in a self-defense situation.
Basically this says it all. Virtually nothing in sport fighting is relevant to the street situation unless it is a consensual fight, in which case ring fighting rules are implied anyway.

Quote:•I've never seen a 'sparring' session that allows for one opponent to attempt to verbally de-esculate the other. Nor have I seen a session allow/encourage improvised weapons, cover, concealment, escape & evasion or the use of barriers.
True. And you can't strike before the fight officially starts either.

Quote:•The above is where a scenario-based training session shines. The 'trainee' of the scenario can go in 'cold' which represents a surprise situation (which is common since an attacker will chose a time/place that is advantageous to them and disadvantageous to you). It requires them to quickly evaluate the situation and determine a course of action, possibly while under duress and the affects of an adrenaline dump i.e. tunnel vision, auditory exclusion, loss of manual dexterity in the extremities, breathing control, starting from a position of disadvantage etc.
Quite true, but really, if we are talking self defence, why have you got to the situation where you need to fight? If you are in the military or police I can see that happening but that is not the situation the average person will ever encounter. So yes, it's possible, and yes, we can train for it, but chances are it ain't going to be needed. Nevertheless, scenario based training is good fun and should be part of reality based training.

Quote:•Whereas a sparring session normally involves an artificial environment i.e. flat, dry surface in a well lit venue with a rule set, the scenario can be in any type of location or situation i.e. dim light, hallway, elevator, stairs, alley, sloping surface etc. This is more realistic and can be altered continuously.
Again, you are preaching to the choir. But worse than the starting session having an artificial environment, it also has an artificial time frame. No street fight is going to last 5 minutes. Training to pace yourself to go the distance doesn't exist on the street.
Quote:•L.E. uses the scenario-based methodology for both weapons and Defensive Tactics with good results for a multitude of scenarios. It works well for lightly trained people all the way to highly trained professionals.
Exactly, but this is not your average martial artist.

Quote:Okay, sparring as demonstrated in the video or in general. What are the good points? Well to begin, we have a training tool that allows you to use the basic skills that you have learned. That could include striking, kicking, grappling, locks and/or a combination of those things. So that is a good thing. Next, it allows you to use it against an opponent that is resisting your attempts to control the situation (for whatever the desired result). So that is also a good thing.

So sparring does have a couple of things going for it. Can we all agree on this point?
No. Sorry to disagree. Unless you are competing most of those things work in different ways. The almost good part is that your opponent is resisting your attempts to control the situation. Basically you have a non compliant partner, not a homicidal attacker. The latter will just all out attack. In sport, no one does that.

Basic skills are basic skills. I teach ... learn a technique, train the technique, forget the technique.

Thinking you can spar and practise those techniques just isn't going to work for me. I designate an attacker and a defender. The attacker must attack blindly with commitment. Against an unknown attack, any block must be reflexive. It will never be what you train unless the attacker telegraphs his intent. Kicking? Well we only do low kicks and basically the kicks for me are pre-emptive. Once you engage kicking is not really an option. Locks? In reality locks are only effective after the stuffing is knocked out of your opponent unless you are very highly skilled or you get real lucky. In conventional sparring you won't get to practise many of those and in real life the locks, arm bars etc are really breaks. Not something you find in sparring.

Quote:Now, here are, in my professional opinion, where sparring (as presented in the video and in general) is less than optimal for the purpose of self-defense and other methods are superior (for this specific purpose). To be clear, that should not be taken as a slap in the head for sparring. But if we're to have a frank, open conversation on the topic we need to look at the good as well as the bad (or ugly).

Using the video as a point of reference:


•They are in a controlled environment. Can we all agree that you are not likely to get attacked inside of a school as opposed to other venues? Can we all agree that you and your attacker aren't likely to be wearing safety equipment? Can we all agree that your attacker may not be standing in front of you in a starting position and waiting for you to also get into a starting position? Can we all agree that an attacker may not be abiding by the same rule set that you are using? Can we all agree that the terrain is likely not going to include a dry, level, flat, padded surface (and padded walls) in a well lit venue?
While I agree sparring has its place in some training venues, its value is limited in others. Unfortunately, the biggest advocates of sparring are those with least understanding of reality based training. So yes, I can agree with all you have posted here.

Quote:•There is no opportunity or attempt at verbalization i.e. opportunity to de-escalate the situation before it begins. Now not every situation will provide that luxury, but some will. And it needs to be addressed and trained for accordingly. Any fight that can be avoided is a fight that was won. Otherwise no one wins and everyone loses.
Herein lies the truth. As I have said before. I am training not to fight. I train for fun recognising that I will probably never use the knowledge and ability I possess on the street.

Quote:•The video demonstrates normal sparring i.e. you stand here and he stands there and you start boxing and dancing and looking for an opening. They go to a point, stop and then reset. This is fine for competition, but is not reflective of how a real fight progresses. There is no reset, break, tap out or time out.
Exactly.

Quote:•No opportunity is utilized to escape the situation or place a barrier between you and the attacker.
I have seen one guy leave the ring.

Quote:•No attempt is made to draw attention to the attack as it is happening. Attracting the attention of bystanders or the public in general is good for you and bad for the attacker(s) that don't want to be identified.
OK.

Quote:•The video demonstrates attempts to go for a submission. While that may be fine to calm down your drunk uncle at the family BBQ because you're trying not to hurt him, attempts to purposefully go the to ground in an actual attack is fool-hardy at best and detrimental to your life at the worst. In a real world altercation you NEED to assume weapons are present and multiple assailants are present until the attack is over. The video does not address either real world consideration at all.
Agree, but I wouldn't want to be on the ground with my drunk uncle either. I would rather him be on the ground with me standing over him asking him politely to calm down. Rolling around on the ground, even with a relative, could be unpredictable. Why take the risk?

Quote:•While the training demonstrated may suffice for an untrained attacker, I honestly don't like your chances against a determined (trained or not) attacker(s) who may be armed and/or under the influence of a drug.
So true. What I was saying earlier.

Quote:•The video does not address taking the situation to a specific conclusion. This is paramount! As detailed by JKS, under duress you WILL react as you train. As I've said before many times, you will NOT rise to the occasion...you WILL sink to the level of your training. In short, how you train is how you will react under extreme duress. That can be a good or bad thing.
Ha, you gave away the other forum! <wink>
I agree totally.

Quote:•The video does not address self defense applicable laws and legal uses-of-force. It is only you stand there, I'll stand here and let's start duking it out and then we'll stop, reset and do it again. That isn't real life.
Well it can be real life if you look at the pub brawl scenario when two guys agree to fight. But again, the law here is likely to cause you grief if you go down that path. Any injury and the solicitors will be involved. Nothing I know of in sparring is going to help you there.

Quote:Scenario based training addresses all of the real world concerns detailed above in ADDITION to the things sparring addresses i.e. full contact with and from a resisting attacker. So where sparring has a limited use for SD, scenario based training takes all that sparring offers and takes it up several notches to an entirely different level. Sparring is not the tool to address these other consideration. Thus whereas one needs to spar for competition, one does not need to spar for SD as their are other tools that incorporate what sparring has to offer and adds elements that sparring (as presented in the offered video link and in general) doesn't include.

Beautifully put. Unfortunately a couple of people on the forum you are referencing are not going to be convinced anytime soon.

Perhaps I can give another reason why the sparring you see is a total waste of time for many people. Guys involved in tournaments are generally the young bulls with something to prove. The majority of my guys are older, several in their 60s, and I also have a number of young women. Not one of my students is interested in competition. They train for pleasure in the knowledge that if ever they are unable to avoid confrontation, they have enough skill to see off the average person. Only one of my students is likely to use what she is learning and she is at the local police academy. They are trained to make distance and use the tools at their disposal. Even then the training is for when all else fails.
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#3
(09-18-2015, 11:25 PM)K-man Wrote: True. And you can't strike before the fight officially starts either.
That is another excellent point to add to the list.  We've been talking about pre-emptive strikes in another thread and it's just as applicable in this one.  In a reality-based training scenario the 'good guy' should be able to look at pre-fight indicators and have the option of a pre-emptive strike if appropriate to the situation.
Quote:Unfortunately, the biggest advocates of sparring are those with least understanding of reality based training.

Yeah, I've found that to be true unfortunately.  I'm all for having confidence and enthusiasm for one's art of choice, but it needs to be tempered with reality and the goal(s) of the art.  I went round and round with a guy years ago on a non-martial arts board who thought BJJ was the ultimate street system. 

Quote:Unfortunately a couple of people on the forum you are referencing are not going to be convinced anytime soon.

Yep Big Grin

Quote:Perhaps I can give another reason why the sparring you see is a total waste of time for many people. Guys involved in tournaments are generally the young bulls with something to prove. The majority of my guys are older, several in their 60s, and I also have a number of young women. Not one of my students is interested in competition. They train for pleasure in the knowledge that if ever they are unable to avoid confrontation, they have enough skill to see off the average person. Only one of my students is likely to use what she is learning and she is at the local police academy. They are trained to make distance and use the tools at their disposal. Even then the training is for when all else fails.

That is another aspect to add to the list.  Not everyone can do everything all the time.  Sounds silly to say, but it's true nonetheless.  I've had students that have had shoulder surgery and don't have the same range-of-motion as others.  So an instructor needs to tailor the material to make it useable to THEM.  It makes no sense to drill someone on something that they can't effectively do anyway.
Two thousand years ago wise men sought Christ, wise men still do.

Techniques are situational, principles are universal.

Fast as the wind, quiet as the forest, aggressive as fire, and immovable as a mountain.

He who gets there first with the most...wins!

Minimal force may not be minimum force!

We don't rise to the occasion...we sink to the level of our training.


Reply
#4
While mentally digesting what has been written here before I wade into the conversation properly I would like to point out something which many think isn't true but actually is, I'm proof of that as are many of my students...namely that it is perfectly possible to be a competitive fighter under rules AND to be able to defend yourself if attacked without using rules and with using techniques that aren't allowed in competition. Too many people think you can't change your mindset when needed but you can.
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#5
(10-06-2015, 04:08 PM)Tez Wrote: While mentally digesting what has been written here before I wade into the conversation properly I would like to point out something which many think isn't true but actually is, I'm proof of that as are many of my students...namely that it is perfectly possible to be a competitive fighter under rules AND to be able to defend yourself if attacked without using rules and with using techniques that aren't allowed in competition. Too many people think you can't change your mindset when needed but you can.
Nothing is simply black and white. The arguement had never been that those who compete couldn't handle themselves outside the ring. That is patently nonsense. Most of the arguement has been from the guys who compete in the ring arguing that if you don't test your art in competition, how do you know it will work? Or, even worse, because you haven't tested it in competition it won't work (H & DB). Most, if not everyone I know, trains for the love of training. Most will never use their training in a life or death situation. Some prefer hard training like Krav, some a more rigid structure like Japanese Karate and some an esoteric art like Aikido.

Within all those training styles will be people with a range of abilities. Some would be able to handle themselves competently in any company, some would get by and others should never step outside. Whether they spar or not is irrelevant. To me the main benefit of sparring is the mental challenge of someone trying to hit you and the physical ability to take a hit when it comes. These are things that can be trained outside of traditional sparring. Not sparring does not mean no physical contact, at least in most martial arts.

Now, if my guys were to step into the ring, especially against someone with training for the ring, they would be at a distinct disadvantage. I teach my guys to hit first and apologise after. I teach them to go for the eyes as a primary target. My number one weapon is the point of the elbow and in close I want them to take out the knee at any opportunity and most strikes are to the neck or throat. You wouldn't get far in most competition if you did any of those things.

I teach them entry techniques if they need to enter and I teach them to defend against someone coming at them. What I don't teach is consensual fighting techniques. I consider my students to be well trained and able to stand up in any company but it pisses me right off when competition fighters put them down without the first idea of their ability.
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#6
Too many people, on both sides of the argument, are convinced their way is the only way and what others do can't possibly be as effective as their training regime. I see it often 'you can't defend yourself because you are bound by rules' 'you don't have a ref in the street' 'you won't be able to do techniques that are illegal in competition' all are nonsense.
I think the arguments that you have to test it in a competition I've seen come from only two people, one who argues for the sake of it and the other so bound up in BJJ that there is nothing else that can match it for him.
I know hundreds of fighters none of whom have ever expressed the opinion that you have to 'test' techniques in a competition to be able to know if things work in self defence. They don't 'test' techniques in a competition for self defence skills they test themselves nothing else
Most of them know before they ever entered a competition fight that the techniques they use work mostly anywhere, their training in martial arts has done that for them. It's one of the reasons they feel confident to enter a fight.
Basically it's the other way around, they know their techniques work which is why they ask for an opponent. No one enters a competition not feeling they can win! Fighters go in to win not 'test' techniques, the cage/ring is no place to be trying things out.
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