View Full Version : Using Real Kung Fu When Sparring

Wah Ren Jie
08-25-2000, 02:46 AM
For all of the Southern Stylist out there who have been taught to use our stances and drill techniques constantly and spend countless hours training our stances. How do you find it when attempting to use stance and technique when sparring. I have found that a lot of the time sparring matches in our kwoon quickly turn into kickboxing mathes with a kung fu technique thrown in here and there. What are your experiences? What do you do to maintain proper Kung Fu methods and Tecnique when sparring? Thoughts?

Paul Skrypichayko
08-25-2000, 04:28 AM
Hi. What you're describing sounds a lot like my ex school, and a lot of the other schools out there.

Only kickboxing fighting should be like kickboxing. Kung fu fighting should be dynamic, natural, and effective. While you need to use things like horse stance, bow and arrow stance, etc. for training, real kung fu will use fighting stances for actual fighting. Ask your sifu a little about the differences of training and combat. If he plays dumb, or doesnt know, I'd start looking for another sifu, because obviously he doesnt want to, or can't teach you.

Good luck.

08-25-2000, 05:06 AM
This question has been haunting the Kung Fu community for long long time. It will alway be asked again and again unless somebody or everybody does something about it. There was an article about the "Kickboxing Trap" and how to avoid it. It's any Kung Fu system's problem that its people Kickbox their way out instead of sticking to their own unique techniques. It is the stimuli, which the media's package of martial sports, presented to the public and influenced the martial arts practitoners. Many believe that they are doing martial arts when in fact they are doing martial sports. As soon as you put on a pair of gloves and observe the rules and regulations of kickboxing or NHB, you get everything that comes with the territories including silly scoring tactics that serve no meaningful purpose but do magic to your ego. Doing Martial Arts meaning to check your ego at the door. Never take it with you while you are in training. You are in the Kwoon, Dojo, studio, or gym to find out who you are and what you are made of. True learning and true skill can come about only if this is understood and observed.

Good luck in finding a partner who is willing to practice with you not practice against you.


Contraria Sunt Complementa

Wah Ren Jie
08-25-2000, 09:55 PM
Thanks for your repsonses guys. What experiences have you had with the "Kickboxing Syndrome"? Have you ever fallen into it? What did you do to get back on track? Umgoa!

Paul Skrypichayko
08-26-2000, 02:41 AM
For my first few years, I just used simple punching and kicking and a boxing stance. No real technique, no real method on how to train.

I'd recommend partner drills, step sparring, and gradually get into routine sparring. When you are comfortable with all the major types of attack and defense, move into free sparring.

Everytime you catch yourself jumping around, flailing yourself in offense or defense, correct yourself. Calm down. Work on things slowly and systematically. After you get good at it, put in speed, then start thinking about power.

08-26-2000, 04:38 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by mantis108:
There was an article about the "Kickboxing Trap" and how to avoid it. It's any Kung Fu system's problem that its people Kickbox their way out instead of sticking to their own unique techniques.

Frankly, I think this articles' name should changed to "the sloppy brawling trap". It all boils down to precision of technique. I use plenty of the techniques and concepts found in my form. But, it is always flowing and changing. One shouldn't expect to perform, in application, exactly as the sequence of the form. Muscle memory is key. Most people that get caught in the "trap" still have not developed the reflex for doing the moves they learn in forms and other conditioning methods. I teach my students that the body, not the frontal lobe, chooses what to do in reaction to a movement. There are plenty of "kickboxers" out there that have very refined movement. And yes, the arguement posed from people like Sifu Ross, that they can perform thier moves from the form directly, can still be defined in the context of muscle memory. Once their bodies recognize the "shape" of the technique, that set of movements flows freely and fluidly. If you still have to "decide" if your going to do those particular movements then it's too late.

08-26-2000, 07:29 AM
Hmmm...indeed- using real kung fu when sparring. You aare correct, Sir. Us Suth'n folk do spand a great deeal of tam on ahh staances 'n technique 'n stuff, but truly..do not we awul??

To me, the trick is to go slow, incorporate your basics and make sure you use proper form as much as possible. This is where your teacher is invaluable. Not only do us Suth'n folk draw on ahh stances a great deeal, we also adhere to a specific philosophy that is interwoven throughout our practise and application. To do one without the other is to forsake the very kinfolk that sired our first suckl'n pups.

It's hard work to use proper stances effectively. But ya'll know what? That's one of the great many reeasons why kung fu is kung fu...and quite distinctive from our blue coat Nuth'ners. Know whats I talk'n 'bout?

08-26-2000, 11:24 AM
Oh hell, what are you doing to me? Now I can't get the warden from cool hand luke out of my head.

Warden: "WHAT we have he'a is failiuh to communicate."

[This message has been edited by SifuAbel (edited 08-27-2000).]

08-26-2000, 08:27 PM
You run one time, you got yourself a set of chains. You run twice, you got yourself two sets. You ain't gonna need no third set 'cause you're gonna get your mind right. And I mean RIGHT.

Take a good look at Luke. Cool Hand Luke?

Paul Skrypichayko
08-26-2000, 10:19 PM
You know what would be a great idea? Have "the man with no eyes" stand at the back of your class to make sure you're doing horse stance, hahaha.

(cool hand luke inside joke)

08-26-2000, 10:29 PM
A lot of times, learning to use kung fu in sparring is not a straight line to improvement. As I started out in karate as a boy, my initial years in kung fu meant I sparred with karate. My very first kung fu sifu did not teach sparring, so when he was gone some of us would don protective gear and go full-out; it was basically chaos with lots of injuries.

Usually, systems that emphasize close-quarter sensitivity a lot in fighting will learn to internalize the strategies more quickly, such as Wing Chun, etc. I find it takes longer to accustom oneself to strategies/skills of a system that begins at long or medium range. In such a case, when one's ego is getting bruised, it's easy to revert to a "kickboxing" type of fighting.

Besides forms and partner work, I find just doing "shadow-boxing" on my own, spontaneously, is a big help in making the skills second-nature. You must have pre-set application drills and various levels of sparring, too, but the shadow-boxing teaches you to move in your own style, and alter technique combinations at will. This helps to personalize your own way of fighting.

There are also good and bad days. Sometimes you find yourself concentrating too much on what you're doing, instead of letting the techniques do what they're supposed to: defend against and continually counter-hit the opponent. Because the combos rarely come out as practiced, ergo the shadow-boxing to learn to break up and recombine the moves.

08-26-2000, 10:36 PM
Also, regarding the stances, your stances/footwork in sparring will not look exactly like they do in stance training or the forms. Your body will use the basic principle of the stances, but rarely do I find the back leg fully extend when doing a rear-hand punch, for example. The kung fu sparring is rarely as beautiful as a form, and as you know will not resemble the exact choreography of an old 1970s Shaw Brothers kung fu movie (there are those who think it has to).

The application of principles becomes the weapon, rather than perfect form (though one should not be "sloppy").

08-26-2000, 11:19 PM
Shouldn't there only be real Kung Fu fighting and nothing else unless your art is sportive or for health and recreation. Your Kung Fu should reflect your forms and training period.

T. Cunningham
08-27-2000, 02:00 AM
Using actual gung fu techniques in sparring is not an easily acquired skill. It usually begins with two person drills followed by two person forms. I agree with Jimbo in that shadow boxing will bring a spontaneous flow to the use of your techniques. In addition, you should find a partner you can trust so as to avoid the fear of injury. The removal of this element and a slow to moderate pace will allow you to bring out more real technique as opposed to relying simply on kick punch. Don't be discourage if, as the pace quickens, you revert. It will take quite a bit of time and practice.

08-27-2000, 02:32 AM
Kung fu has everything that kickboxing has. When you sparr using kung fu , it's very important to use just the concept. If you are in a right front stance and someone punches your right rib, Don't do an unnecessary block. Instead, drop your right elbow a tiny bit just enough so that the punch doesn't get to you and return with the same hand. When you fight, you use a boxing stance.

Lu Chi-hwa
08-27-2000, 01:00 PM
A few remarks on the topic:

Have faith in what your teacher teaches you!
Those techniques comes from a time where peoples lives depended on them. Look at the lineage of your style, the style was perfected during many battles.
Do not start sparring to soon, first learn the sets and drills. (IMHO takes at least one year!, its kung fu).
And Mantis108 is wright: your training partner should understand we are all learning. So in free fight, attack slow(not full speed) so your partner has time to react on that the proper way. Also on purpose expose some part of your body, and see if your partner noticed and will attack this spot. This way you allow you partner to develop his skills.

Lu Chi-hwa

08-27-2000, 11:27 PM
Hi Lu,

Bingo, well said.

Sifu Abel,

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>they can perform thier moves from the form directly, can still be defined in the context of muscle memory. Once their bodies recognize the "shape" of the technique, that set of movements flows freely and fluidly. If you still have to "decide" if your going to do those particular movements then it's too late.

Indeed, how many of us ask this question? How well do we "know" our techniques. It is not only when and how to use them, but also when and why not to use them. In the beginning, they have no "shape" because the body haven't learnt/memerized them. Then they have "shape" since the body registed them just like the way we learn a new volcabulary. Ultimately, they have no "shape" for they are now part of the nature movements just like when you are thursty you'll pick up a cup of tea and drink it without much thoughts behind it. You would never do 10 moves nor would you muscle up all you strength before picking up the cup. You simply, naturally pick it up. It's the Zen teaching "Normal Mind"! It is easy to blame failure on someone or something else. Like I always say there is no need to learn how to fight. Anyone can make a fist and fight for their lives or their rights. Just as anyone can kickbox his way out. Before learning the teaching, learn how to be taught. It is the depth of the knowledge of the techniques that makes a difference. To Kung Fu, or not to Kung Fu. The choice is yours.


Contraria Sunt Complementa

08-28-2000, 12:07 AM
I can't tell you how my students I seen come into our school and they can't understand why the fighting doesn't look like the movies or why doesn't the sparring look like the forms.

Students must understand that the forms and stances therein build-up leg strength and introduce the student to various techniques. We try to explain to the students that in the forms the movements are very extended to show beauty of movement and to increase flexibility while at the same time build strength. In actual application the movements are shortened somewhat so that they are effective. A big extended sweeping punch might look nice in a form, but in the real world a good fighter will hit you two or three time before your extended punch lands. Also when gloves and other sparring gear is put on it can limit the techiques that you can do and this sometimes make sparring look less like the kung fu one practices.

My 2 cents. Peace.

Wah Ren Jie
08-28-2000, 12:42 AM
Thank you all for your insights. Please keep them coming. Another thing that I've noticed in the hours I've spent sparring with my brothers is that it seems that no one ever wants to commit to a technique. I don't neccessarily mean trying to kill your sparring partner but just throwing a full punch or kick or whatever. Along with with the kickboxing I see just choppy hit and run pot shot movements and when someone is withdrawing before the punch even makes contact with anything, it really makes it difficult to perform any defensive techniques. Things like wu dip jeung (butterfly palms) Is **** near impossible. Thoughts?

08-28-2000, 03:13 AM
As you pointed out, those defensive techniques require a full commitment. Which is another big difference between sparring and fighting.

Lung Ying
08-29-2000, 12:03 AM
There has been alot of good input here on this common problem. I don't think anyone mentioned "two man forms". Most kung fu styles have at least a few two man sets which are great for developing an understanding of timing and distance for combat. They can also be useful for understanding how your style can work in a real combat situation. Of course, two man sets are pre-arranged so there is no element of surprise, and it is choreographed, so two man sets may look more like a kung fu movie than real life, but it serves a good example of how your style should look in sparring- how the blocks you learn are used, how to attack with your techniques, the footwork and stances in a mobile situation etc.

Peace /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

08-29-2000, 01:01 AM
Are there rules to sparring? I was at one of my bros kung fu classes and they guys just looked like they rang into ech other and threw punches like a mad man.

The Whyzyrd
08-29-2000, 01:05 AM
One thing I have learned over the years of studying Kung Fu (both Northern and Southern) - many students trying to use their Kung Fu while sparring try to use ALL of their Kung Fu. They often try going through their forms in their head and say, "Oh, I can use this move here" or "that move there". Being able to pull any random move out of a form on the fly is difficult to say the least and takes a long to be able to do effectively.

I have often found the following works:

Take a move or series of moves (say a single block followed by a specific strike and follow up). Practice those moves. Practice them over and over again. When sparring, of course you will want to try other things but always return to that move. Use it over and over again until you can do it without thinking (Don't forget, while sparring, you are with your training brothers. You do not have to worry over getting hit. What you need to worry over is training your Kung Fu. So do these moves not worrying over the strike which lands). After a while, that move or series of moves will become part of you. YOu will be able to do it and do it well when you need it, any time you need it. At that point, take it and put it in your pocket as part of your Kung Fu Arsenal then pick another set of moves and start over again. Again, after a while of concentrating on a specific series of moves you can take that as well and place it in your pocket and let it join your arsenal.

Over time you will find that there are quite a few moves which you can do effectively but a core which are your signature which are simply outstanding.

To those Sifu's out there (and others senior to me) please correct me if I'm wrong but though you know the forms of your systems and teach all of the forms, there are simply moves not suited to you. Some moves you like or use or rely on far more than others and some which you would simply not use (due to complexity or whatever).

So don't try to use just any move in a form to block an incoming kick - pick a specific move and ALWAYS use that move to block those incoming kicks until you do it without thinking THEN move on to another move to block incoming kicks.

Hope that helps.

Wah Ren Jie
08-29-2000, 02:01 AM
Whyzyrd: Great post. I do agree. Many of us have "pet moves" that we have developed for one reason or another. Yet at the same time, the nature of the sparring sometimes makes it very difficult to develop other types of techniques. I have si dai's that sprint around the ring at times when we're sparring and what technique do you use on a runner?

The Whyzyrd
08-29-2000, 02:50 AM
>>>what technique do you use on a runner?<<<

Have you tried stretching a rope across the ring?

If you are as big and slow as I am, you simply stand there and wait for them to come to you.

08-29-2000, 04:20 AM
Whatever you do in sparring, remember that each technique that you execute in your forms was put there for a reason. Those low horse stances are low for their low center of gravity, not just strength training...in fighting/sparring they may not be the picture-perfect thighs parallel to the ground horse stances, but they should still be low, as with all the other stances meant to be that way. All the techniques should just be less precise, in that i mean, you aren't going to concentrate on how tight your tiger claw is, but it will still be a tiger claw. Nother thing is to start slow...this can not be emphasized enough (ths same goes for your form) concentrate on what you are doing and the power and energy behind each technique. Once you have developed that at a certain speed, go a little faster. Also remember that kung fu is unique in that its moves are supposed to flow into one another, which is one of the first things i learned reeading from bruce lee's 'the philosophical art of gung fu'. One more thing is that when in a sparring match and you start to lose control and slip into the "oh, to heck with everything, i'm gonna clock this mofo" attitude, you are losing self-control, which is a vital aspect to kung fu. When that starts to happen, stop your attack if it isn't too late, back up a step and reflect upon what you are doing. You may not belong in the match in the first place. This is me and that's my story.
Oh, and by the way, this is a grea topic, and I have enjoyed reading the previous posts.


08-30-2000, 12:54 AM
Applying kung fu techniques in sparring is possible but quite difficult when using boxing gloves. I find that when I practice my kung fu techniques without any obstruction to be easier and more realistic. The problem is seriously hurting someone so we resort to gloves for safety.

A student is introduced to numberous hand and kicking techniques. Naturally, the student would use only a few techniques as you want the fight to end quickly and using only you most comfortable and strong techniques.

It is a gradual process and it will come by practicing the theory in the form and sparring slowly to see how it's applied before speed becoming a factor in sparring. Hope that helps.

08-30-2000, 01:32 AM
amifree is 100% correct. Those moves are not just "flowery" movements for training.

And everyone has said it, go slow but do keep going :-) Just doing forms is not going to teach you to use your skills in fighting. Two man forms and drills are the best way to drive it home.

Also, when you do the forms, do you do them at deeper levels as you grow? The forms teach you where you are vulnerable and where you are strong. How to flow energy from one move to the next. How to apply the techniques in different situations and most important, what is the TCMA concept behind the technique.

On top of muscle memory, it's sensitivity. Especially Southern fist, the bridge is your key. It paraphrase Bruce Lee, "When my he expands, I contract, When he contracts, I expand, I don't tell the fist to hit, it hits all on it's own."

Sow Choy
08-30-2000, 02:13 AM
Good quote by Bruce Lee!

But one thing he believed which I believe too, is that the best way to improve your fighting or sparring is to fight or spar. If the techniques in your forms really work, practice them for sparring or combat, and then give it a try. Some techniques might work and some might not.

2 man forms to me don't seem practical for fighting, my style's 2 man forms are more for arm conditioning and for demonstrations. Bruce Lee believed if you are training forms and bag techniques you are "doing something about fighting" not really fighting.

If you want to see if the techniques work try them, Kickboxing came from Kung Fu and we all have the same legs and arms, and fighting most of time is not a pretty sight.

Peace to you all

08-30-2000, 03:33 AM
great advices, guys. I think I should do some more sparring. I haven't had too much time lately.

btw. what is this thing about techniques in forms not working in combat? I've learned 4 hand forms on my CLF-career this far and I haven't found a single technique that would not work in reality slightly modified and with a lot of practice

anything works if you practice hard enough, have a decent body cordination. sure. it takes a lot of time, but people who practice traditional CMA usually are aware of this and accept it.

no, I won't get killed in the streets, because I can do some mean-ass kickboxing because of my CMA experience.

08-30-2000, 04:07 AM
This entire discussion is moot because all CMA is completely useless and only BJJ will work in a real situation.

Sorry, I had to throw this in because I haven't seen this type of post in a while.

08-30-2000, 04:31 AM
I'm not sure if you were responding to my post but I never said two man forms was the end all. They are part of the steps. When people say wait a year before you spar, it's not a year of forms only. And even after your first year the way you do your forms should evolve or have many different ways of doing the same form.

As for sparring, the big caveat is, if you don't train two man drills, you will only use the most basic techniques because your body isn't used to doing the advance stuff.

the easiest thing is to stay out of range and them bounce in with punch or kick combination and bounce back out. This doesn't take advantage of bridging or the opponents energies.

On defense, the easiest is to do a direct block or run. This doesn't easily set you up to counter attack.

If you don't train the advance techniques with a partner, it's very difficult to get past the basics because you won't have faith in the advance.

This is part of traditional training.

08-30-2000, 10:53 PM
I spar people using Northern Shaolin Boxing- which means that I look sort of like a Thai Boxer with elbows in, open palms, groundfighting/grappling, and spin moves.

For ring sparring where you can't run away and are dealing with an opponent who plays hit and run while maintaining a good cover, I adopt this posture because it keeps myself covered while being able to throw the offensive techniques I get from my sets.

I practice my fighting sets knowing that many of my moves are exaggerations for purposes of display or exercise. In reality, the long flowing moves of Northern Shaolin can be shrunken to barely perceptible motions useful against opponents.

When I fight against other kung fu practitioners, they seem to adopt this type of stance (elbows in, palms out, knees can come up at will) because of their own set training and because it's the easiest way to keep onself covered in this situation.

Now "real" fighting with intent to maim - that's a whole different story.

Wah Ren Jie
08-31-2000, 01:00 AM
What do you do differently when you want to maim?

08-31-2000, 03:05 AM
A Shaolin with an intent to maim, hmmmm.

08-31-2000, 10:46 AM
Remember this too; all of you who have been quoting Bruce Lee so much; Bruce Lee's JKD was a lot different from what he learned from Yip Man.
I forgot to emphasize two-man forms....you should have mastered these or at least know them to the point of being second nature, because only after that should you begin sparring. Now if you are a JKD practicioner, then your style, apparently, calls for something else.
I must say that most sifus out there won't let their students spar untill they have become proficient in the style. I don't believe in putting the gloves on after a few months (I first attended a TKD school which did that), sparring should be the tail end of your training. Only after you have learned the virtue in patience and respect towards others (including your opponent) should you be allowed to fight//spar. If you can't spar without losisng patience or bearing in mind keeping humble, then you haven't been getting everything you should have out of your training.


Wah Ren Jie
08-31-2000, 07:00 PM
I agree with you in theory but in the real world I respectfully disagree with you. My Sifu (and I agree with him totally) believes you should spar within a couple of months of joining a kwoon. No, one can't master anytechnique in a couple of months. No one may not even understand the theories and the applications of the style. But in the world we live in today, who has time to wait a year or two to learn how to fight. Maybe you're not fighting with Kung Fu, but the typical thug won't give you a pass untill you perfect your form. I did start the thread and I am upset that the nature of sparring sometimes leads to brawling as opposed to polished techniques. But at the same time IMHO, an important part of training in whatever martial discipline one chooses is developing a fighting spirit. If you don't have it, you won't be able to take or deliver punishment.

09-01-2000, 12:02 AM
Hmmm... Seems to me that I fight in fairly good kungfu form, usually in a horse-like stance, turned almost sideways to my opponent, or in a false leg stance. I get a little bit more tense when sparring, and I can, if I am not careful, slip into that boxing stance. It really helps me to remember that I do not have to move so much when my opponent is bouncing around, trying to psyche me out. I do much better when I conserve my energy, and wait for the right moment. I keep my hands open (in snake or tiger form), and this helps me remember that I know Kung-fu, as well as allowing me to use more techniques. Our school is heavily centered on grabbing techniques, and moving to the outside of the punch, rather than blocking on the inside (leaving yourself vunerable to the other hand). This grabbing technique is hard to carry out in sparring, because it involves a lot of body movement. It's kind of like one of those video games (Tekken, etc) where you have tons of really cool moves, but you usually end up just trying to punch your way to victory, because you don't have the time to roll the joystick 3 times and hit two buttons at the right moment. The only cure for this apparent lack of time is to increase your awareness of the world around you. If you practice long enough, the world seems to move a bit slower than it used to, and you can find lots of room to carry out complex procedures.
The biggest enemies in a street situation are your lack of awareness, and your fear. If you aren't afraid, you will have no problem standing on one leg with a crane technique if it is the right thing to do. Oh sure, some people will just box their way out, and that's fine, but know that anything is possible with the right mindset.

09-01-2000, 06:38 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by sei ping dai ma:
What do you do differently when you want to maim?[/quote]

It depends on the context, of course.

I'll keep this discussion confined to the worst-case scenario - that I'm forced to fight in a life-or-death scenario because somebody in the vicinity is going to lose their life if I don't do something about it then and there.

My techniques actually become MORE like those in the forms.

Strikes are performed with longer motions and more classical hand postures, I step through my kicks, I use more leg motions and footwork, I utilize whatever weapons I can (pens, keys, etc. . .), and I let "incidental" contact go.

By "incidental" contact, I mean things like punches and kicks that don't fully connect. I'm willing to wade through a weak punch to get to my opponent in a real life situation - not so in "sparring", though.

As far as grappling goes, I become a lot more "dirty".

I haven't been exposed to this type of situation for it (kudos to my training for teaching me how to prevent them), but one can train for them daily.

For me, a half-baked attempt toward self-preservation is better than no attempt at all.

09-01-2000, 06:40 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by kenpoman:
A Shaolin with an intent to maim, hmmmm.[/quote]

A true Shaolin (or person for that matter) knows that the intent to maim is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY in selected situations.

09-01-2000, 08:48 AM
sei ping dai ma:
I understand where you are coming from. However, we all practice Kung Fu for different reasons. If you are looking for self defense, a traditional perspective may not be in your interest. I think that if you start sparring early, you may bypass the self-restraint needed to spar. But just because one doesn't spar doesn't mean he or she can handle himself in a confrontation. I believe sparring is the part of training used to practice the applications of your techniques against someone else who is just as or nearly as experience as you are in Kung Fu. Sparring is teaching you to break down a fight systematically. Being aware of gaps in your defense as well as your opponent's. Practicing the form, power and lastly speed of your techniques in a fighting situation. That is what sparring is. If you spar at the same time you begin to learn forms and whatnot, I think it is too much to teach at once because I believe in focusing one's energy on a few aspects of training and adding more as one progresses. Forms are taught and should be practiced by the following theory: Focus first on form and technique, then on power, and finally on speed. In sparring, you are trying to get it all done at once and you may not stay focused. I think forms are enough to prepare one for fighting because you are learning techniques that can defend yourself against an attacker. If you are worried about distance, use a punching bag (Wavemaster, Everlast, ect); this will also help power and speed at the same time.


09-01-2000, 08:51 AM

But just because one doesn't spar doesn't mean he or she can handle himself in a confrontation.


But just because one doesn't spar doesn't mean he or she can't handle himself in a confrontation.


09-03-2000, 12:28 AM
You should never go into sparring too early. you need at least 1 year of training before you can control yourself good enough (temper and technique). unexperienced guys usually can't control the pace in their sparring. it get's faster and faster, the blows get harder and harder. then it gets nasty.

I have experience about this myself. I was just out of the beginner's course and we had some sparring in our class. I had no experience at all. I started to spar with my si chen (big sister. a girl. yes.) and ended up braking her nose. this happened because I couldn't control my self. it was supposed to be friendly-and-not-too-hard-contact-sparring.

Wah Ren Jie
09-03-2000, 05:45 AM
HuangKaiVun: Good insight, gives me something to think about. I guess that other poster was unaware about the warior monks of
Shaolin fought with soldiers against invaders of China. (No disrespect intended kenpoman /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif)
Amifree: You're preaching to the choir, but IMHO Kung Fu is great and a superior way of fighting. But, it takes to darn long to learn how to use effectively. I really feel that sometimes you have to go with what you have and sparring often will sharpen what little a beginner has so that he/she will have the confidence and the competence to do something if an unfortunate situation develops. In the world we live in today, I feel we all don't have the opportunity to train truly old school in our Kung fu with jobs, school and other distractions. It takes a lot longer to develop good Traditional CMA in our modern times. And hitting a bag desn't help timing and distancing at all when faced with a live moving, punching and kicking opponent. Believe me, I agree with you, I just don't think it's something that is feasable to put into practice.

Premier: I know just what you're talking about. I always fear for my life when sparring with a neophyte, they are very dangerous because they lack control. At the kwoon we always put seniors in place to supervise the new guys when they spar. And usually seniors will spar with the new guys so at least one of the participants will have control.

09-04-2000, 03:23 PM
How many schools have specific levels of
speed/contact. We will start students
sparring after 4-5 months but at a very
low speed/contact level. I will use the terms 1/4,1/2, etc in describing the speed/contact that they should spar at.
We also train them on bags telling them to
hit it as fast as they can then to try and
move 1/2 that speed then 1/4 then as slow
as they can; the same for power. This way
they can figure out what their control levels
are. We keep all students below 2 years down
below 1/2 speed and 1/4 contact with lots of
pushups for breaking the control level.
We also put gloves (and other prot) on the newbies and then after a couple of years
progress move to no gloves so that we can utilize specific hand techniques.

It can be very hard to stay 'in style' in
sparring. I can only agree with most of what
has been said already. It is easier to stay
in style in a fight though, mostly due to
the commited attacks of a truly aggressive
opponent. It's amazing what you can really do
to a strongly thrown roundhouse/haymaker type
street punch. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

I am curious about the control level question.

Matt Melton

"It may be better to be a live jackal than a dead lion, but it is better still to be a live lion. And usually easier." -R.A.H

09-04-2000, 08:17 PM
In my admittedly minimal teaching experience, I have found that some people have zero control no matter how hard they try while some people have fantastic control from the get go.

I've sparred a lot against both, but I honestly can't say one's harder than the other.

I'd say that the uncontrolled opponent is more dangerous against an UNskilled martial artist, but not necessarily more so against a skilled and experienced one.