Sparring Notes

ktadmin Posted in Awareness, State of Mind, Styles, Training notes, Video๏ผŒTags: , ,

I have been working with my students to improve their sparring skills this month, it’s a great hot weather activity! Sparring can be a tough skill to perfect since everyone wants to jump in the ring and mix things up. Sparring is a very dynamic activity but it can be broken down to individual skills which can be perfected. A short list of these skills include: technique, stamina, focus, and self-awareness. As with any skill technique is paramount to success. Put on some boxing gloves and get in the ring doesn’t make you a boxer, the same is true for Martial Arts sparring. To often I’ve witnessed students at competitions degrade their technique to wildly slapping and kicking.

Sparring matches are won by staying in control. Control comes from confidence and technique. Confidence is something people have to find within themselves. Technique is somethings an instructor can help you perfect. I won’t delve into technique specifics as they vary from style to style, but form is critical to minimizing your vulnerabilities and maximizing your opportunities. Stamina comes with the practice and perfection of your form and technique. As we get older we need to add additional cardio-conditioning! ๐Ÿ˜‰ With good technique and strong stamina you are well equip to win most matches simply by outlasting your opponent.

Focus is perhaps the more difficult thing to learn, as focus is probably the wrong word to use, since you need a lack of focus when sparring. Say what?!? If we focus on our opponent we forget about our surroundings, this may be OK in a sparring ring, but in a real fight that can be fatal. More importantly though focusing on your opponent can lead to signaling your movements. When I spar I typically spar primarily with my peripheral vision, this allows me to “focus” on movements as they occur not a specific movement. Let me give an example: if someone fakes a move with their left, then follows through with the real attack with their right… If I am focused on the person, then my focus will shift to the left fake, when the right comes in, I will have to realize it, shift my focus and then react. If I am focused on the situation, using my peripheral vision then I can more rapidly react to movements in my “sphere” of focus. Basically it reduces the thought process drag that comes from thinking to much. Relax your mind and your awareness becomes more basic, instinctual and reactionary. Hopefully that makes sense, I’ll be happy to clarify any of that.

Self-awareness is probably the most ignored part of sparring, though it is the direct result of good technique training and peripheral or sphere focus. When we spar it is important to be self-aware of your vulnerabilities. It is the only way you can truly improve your art. When you begin sparring your instructor will tell you what you are doing wrong. You should take this instruction as an opportunity to train yourself to find these corrections before you are told of them. The next step of course is correcting the problem, not always that easy. For example, two of my students where sparring and one would lean her head froward after a particular move. Her opponent realized this and he exploited it, with a downward strike to the head. A very bad way to get hit, a fight-ender. After the first hit, I pulled her aside and told her what she was doing. When she did it again I saw her realize it after it was to late. The third time her realization came a little sooner but still to late. Frustration was her enemy on the last point. She has the first part of self-awareness down and is now struggling with correcting the problem. It is a process, no different then learning your first martial arts technique.

I am including these videos for two reasons, first they are awesome! Secondly, they each demonstrate important aspects of sparring. See if you can figure out the importance of each video and post your conclusions in the comments section… Enjoy and pay attention!
[zdvideo width=”400″ height=”226″][/zdvideo]


Looking forward to the discussion…

Loves Bonds Broken

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Quotes๏ผŒTags: ,

Love such a despised word
Shush before you are heard.
Its a great verb!
much better than any herb
So why the apprehension;
to relieve your emotional tension?
Don’t say admire or like you much,
for stifling to the soul are such.
For the sun never shined so bright,
As when relieved of this plight.
To speak as you feel,
is such a great deal,
Why do you say no?
Can’t you see I love you so?
But I do!
And I must let it show!
For to hide it,
not confide it,
would be to my soul, bait
and turn is slowly to hate.
So speak and feel great,
Don’t let it stagnate.
I love you so,
And I had to let you know.
Accept it or deny
My heart is now free to fly!

— Mitchell Saba

BP Oil Spill in Perspective

ktadmin Posted in News, OffTopic, Politics๏ผŒTags: , ,

This needs to be seen by as many people as possible so I have decided to repost it here. I always tell my students everything is about perspective. It is important to find your own perspective, this video puts a slightly different perspective forward than what the mainstream media presents to you daily.

Oil Spill Timeline from RightChange on Vimeo where there are some creative videos.

Hat Tip to Boston Legal’s Ass [Mature Content]

Meditation Point #131 – Grief

ktadmin Posted in Quotes๏ผŒTags: ,

The tears I feel today
I’ll wait to shed tomorrow.
Though I’ll not sleep this night
Nor find surcease from sorrow.
My eyes must keep their sight:
I dare not be tear-blinded.
I must be free to talk
Not choked with grief, clear-minded.
My mouth cannot betray
The anguish that I know.
Yes, I’ll keep my tears til later:
But my grief will never go.

— Anne McCaffrey (Dragonsinger)

Grief is something we all must deal with eventually.ย  When I read any type of book I often find passages that provoke deeper thought, this is one example.ย  Often in times of grief we must stay strong and deny ourselves the act of grieving until another day.ย  But denied or not we still feel the grief.ย  It is funny how extreme emotions can change us and stay with us forever, like love or grief…

Illegal Aliens

ktadmin Posted in Fun Stuff, OffTopic, Politics๏ผŒTags:

Is it just me or does anyone else find it amazing that our government can track a cow born in Canada almost three years ago, right to the stall where she sleeps in the state of Washington.ย  But they are unable to locate 11 million illegal aliens wandering around the country!ย  Maybe we should give all the illegal aliens a free cow instead of welfare benefits?

The Ten Commandments

ktadmin Posted in Fun Stuff, Politics๏ผŒTags:

The real reason that we can not have the Ten Commandments in Courthouses and other government building…?

You cannot post “Thou Shalt Not Shalt”, “Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery” and “Thou Shall Not Lie” in a building full of lawyers, judges and politicians!ย  It creates a hostile work environment!

Meditation Point #130 – Less Self, Selfless

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Quotes๏ผŒTags: ,

He who stands on his tiptoes does not stand firm;
He who stretches his legs does not walk easily.
So, he who displays himself does not shine;
He who asserts his own views is not distinguished;
He who exalts himself does not find merits acknowledged;
He who is self-conceited has no superiority allowed to him.
Such conditions, viewed from the standpoint of the Tao,
are like remnants of food or a tumor on the body, which all dislike.
Hence those who pursue the course of the Tao do not adopt and allow them.

— Tao-Te-Ching

This passage seemed rather pertinent as I am currently teaching my students the finer points of free sparring.ย  What?!ย  I know many will wonder how this passage could relate to sparring.ย  The first two lines seem obvious enough, Stance!ย  The 4th through 6th lines are slightly more obscure.ย  This is a deeper level, it deals with ego and honesty.ย  When sparring we need to spend as much energy watching our own vulnerabilities and we do looking for them in our opponent.ย  We must be honest in assessing our performance.ย  Ego has no place in sparring, honesty must come first if we are to improve our skills.ย  Additionally, no one likes a braggart.ย  Hopefully that make sense and you will gain some new insights of your training.

There are many levels to this passage so I urge you to read this multiple times.

Happy Independence Day America

ktadmin Posted in Uncategorized๏ผŒ

These are troubling times we live in, or so they seem, but if you really look at the history of this great nation you begin to realize there have always been troubling times here in America.ย  Good versus Evil and everything in between, everyone pushing their agenda, and where there is an agenda freedom is rarely safe.ย  So let us all take pause this Independence Day, put things in perspective and reflect on what we are willing to sacrifice for this great country?ย  Freedom is expensive but think of the alternatives…


May you and yours be well, Happy Forth of July!