The likelihood of head contact in a no-headcontact sparring

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Discussion' started by Nachi, Apr 21, 2017.

  1. Nachi

    Nachi Well-Known Member Supporter

    I have a question for many more experienced "fighters" here. Generally in my normal traditional karate class, we do not spar very often, especially lately.
    Tommorrow, though, there will be a 5-hour seminar and sensei told us to bring all of our protectors (not that we have many). I asked about the program and he said there will probably be a (free) sparring session included.

    Three months ago, I got an accidental elbow to my front teeth. Part of one tooth broke off, the other two still hurt, one to the point that I still avoid biting tougher food. I explained my worry and reluctance to spar to sensei and he said it will likely be a session without head contact with the exception of head kicks (kyokushin style). I am not too woried about kicks as there are not too many people who are likely to attempt that. Maybe just the senseis, but I believe if I ask them not to kick me, they will have enough control.

    I am worried, however, what is the likelihood of me getting punched or hit to the face despite it being forbidden? I will wear a gumshield, but I've only worn it a couple of times and I am quite unsure if the protection would be enough (I'm worried it won't).
    And as we don't spar too often and it will be a free sparring without a referee and there being people bigger, stronger, faster and whatnot than me, I have no confidence to be able to escape all hits. And in case there's an "accidental" head strike, that I am not prepared for on top of it.

    I am stinking of not participating in the sparring, but on the other hand, it may be towards the end when everyone is tired and it would be a good practise for me...
  2. kandi

    kandi Valued Member

    If this is a training session, you should be OK. In training, your sparring partner should be respectful and push you only slightly above your current sparring level. If you are really worried about head shots, then let them know in advance. Partner sparring doesn't have to be to the death.

    If you're fighting kyokushin guys, then be prepared for kicks to the head. Whilst they don't strike to the head in tournaments, they do sometimes train to the head.

    Also, you're in a combat environment. Accidents happen. Sometimes, you walk into a punch that your partner tried to pull short. People slip, and get distracted. Wear your protective gear and be on guard.

    Your sensei, and whoever is running the training session, has likely done this before, and knows how to set up an environment where people are safe but pushed just beyond their limits.

    Have fun.
  3. Nachi

    Nachi Well-Known Member Supporter

    Thanks, Kandi :)

    No, I am not doing kyokushin and this will be our association's seminar, so no kyokushin guys there. From what I know there are not many people, who really sparr often and would try techniques they are not too used to, like head kicks.

    I am more worried about accidents, as you said. Of course, I would like to let eveyone know in advance, but if this session will be like last time, wearing gloves and a mouthguard, having a few seconds to change partners and quickly start another round, it may be sometimes hard to find the time to explain. Since there will be no head contact it may also be pointless as if anone hits me (except the kicks), it will be accident either way. Or that they forgot or something. And warning them may not have much effect.

    Sensei's did this before and I suppose people won't try to kill each other, but senseis are likely to be sparring too and it is hard to prevent accidents either way (EDIT: And experience says that injuries aren't completely rare when a sparring session occurs). They just happen. Well, I will probably just hope I'll be ok. I am just scared I get hit and in case my tooth is already slightly damaged, probably, it will get worse because of me stupidly thinking nothing will happen...

    Thanks, I will! :)
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017
  4. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    Back when I did more knockdown sparring I got hit in the head a few times with bare knuckles.
    Mainly when the other person is going for a punch to the chest and it gets deflected upwards.

    Wear a gum shield and make sure you bite down on it when in you're exchanging blows rather than let it hang and that should save your teeth to some degree.
  5. Nachi

    Nachi Well-Known Member Supporter

    Thanks, that is also a good point :) I will have to try if I am able to bite down on the gumshield properly. Generally biting down on something doesn't go too well (if it depends on the front teeth). I hope it should be fine, though.
  6. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    Honestly, yeah, it can and does happen.

    Our official sparring rules are no head contact, but it happens. We are all learning and sometimes it happens, people move in unexpected ways, things get deflected upwards, you just get a newbie without much aim or control.

    Most of the time, people reel it in when they realize it is heading to the head and pull back the power. But I got CLOCKED in the temple by a student new at sparring a month or so ago. I was dizzy and queasy for about a day. Last time I had a hard head shot was a couple of years before that by an idiotic fellow student who managed to clock my head with an axe kick to the head. (That one ticked me off as HE chose the rules of no head contact that match, yet pulled that move to my head.)So, harder power hits are rarer than any hit, but they do happen on occasion.
  7. aikiMac

    aikiMac boxing is fun Moderator Supporter

    Two thoughts:

    1) Wear a helmet. I'm a huge fan of helmets now that I'm "old." :)

    2) This is a "martial art," a "combat sport." We get hit, pinched, twisted, etc. At the same time, you don't have to choose a martial art with all those strikes. You could try judo/BJJ, for example, where head strikes are rare and when they happen it's accidental. Or try kali, where the hits mostly land on the sticks, not on you. (Except for when the strikes land on knuckles -- ouch!!) Or kendo, where it's full-speed, full-strength, but in full padding so you'll hardly feel it. My point is you have options, if you don't like the idea of headgear.
  8. Nachi

    Nachi Well-Known Member Supporter

    Yep, that's kind of what I am worried about. I got the teeth elbow while not even sparring. It just happens...

    I am sorry to head you got such a punch o_O

    My issue though is that to hurt my teeth now, the hit wouldn't even need t be strong... I am unsure, though, how much protection will the gum shield provide as I don't wear it much and I have it in the dojo where I'll pick it tommorrow morning, so I can't try now. :/
  9. Nachi

    Nachi Well-Known Member Supporter

    1) Well, even if I didn't worry I'd look hilarious, I still don't have one :D

    2) I don't have a problem with the art I am doing. And I hope this is not a long-term thing, either. I mean, if I really didn't want to spar, I probably wouldn't be forced to. I am not much worried about being hit as long as I am not injured by that hit. I actually quite enjoy iron body conditioning and I don't go easy on myself :) What I am worried now is more short-term. My teeth hurt (you could say like I am injured) and I feel very protective of them and if I am hit there again, I will regret it very, very much.
    I am hoping they will one day stop hurting and even if they won't, I am not considering changing arts because of it. When they still hurt though, the question is if I should avoid possible risks :/
  10. aikiMac

    aikiMac boxing is fun Moderator Supporter

    I chipped a tooth from a well-placed, and obviously poorly blocked, punch in friendly light sparring, and had to get it filed smooth by a dentist, so I appreciate what you're saying. But having now worn a helmet in boxing -- wow, I am such a believer.

    Think about it, man. You won't "look funny." You'll look like you're down for business. You'll look hungry. :)
  11. Nachi

    Nachi Well-Known Member Supporter

    Yeah, that's my case precisely, half of the rear side of the tooth is missing. Problem is that is not the one hurting, the other two do :D

    Hmmm...... I am kid of sure I will :D And well, it is pointless, we don't have helments that would protect the face in the dojo and I don't know anyone who does. I won't have one by tommorrow no matter how I wished :)
    I also started kobudo and kept hitting my head with the staff. On a seminar, sensei was making a bit of a fun of me and gave me a helmet. It was funny, indeed, but I wasn't inclined to take it off as a protest at all :D
    And I understand a helmet would come n handy for boxing, since there are a lot of headshots. Wearing one for a sparring session without head contact might look.. well... strange :D
  12. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    Sums it up.

    You get owies,hurt,and sometimes injured.Comes with the territory.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 21, 2017
  13. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Valued Member

    Were you wearing a gumshield?
  14. Nachi

    Nachi Well-Known Member Supporter

    You mean when I got the elbow? No. Unfortunately. It was during a demonstration, not sparring. The elbow was shown at full power, should have landed in the air before me, but something went wrong, not sure what, and the demonstration was more perfect then it should have been...
  15. Nachi

    Nachi Well-Known Member Supporter

    Great, looks like the issue is solved. I have a drawing commission to finish by Sunday evening so I was working whole day today and would be still pressed for time. Until my drawing tablet switched off because of some issue and I lost 10 hours or more worth of work. So, apparently, tommorrow I am not going anywhere and like today working whole day between bedtime. Just great!
  16. neems

    neems Valued Member

    Depends on your partner.

    I've been badly injured by stupid training partners before so err on the side of caution now.

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