forms or sparring...

Discussion in 'Tae Kwon Do' started by neryo_tkd, Oct 24, 2003.

  1. neryo_tkd

    neryo_tkd Valued Member

    some people prefer doing the forms, whereas others prefer sparring and going to competitions.

    sometimes people say that there are martial artists who pay full attention to forms only because they are not good at sparring. would u agree?

    is it possible to advance to the black belt without sparring? does it make any sense since tkd is a martial art?

    does a black belt holder has to be a complete person in his/her skills, meaning does (s)he have to be able to do forms, break boards, fight, use self-defence successfully, be aware of the philosophy behing this martial art...?
  2. KickChick

    KickChick Valued Member


    True... we all prefer to do one aspect of our martial art more than another but that doesn't make that particular aspect any less important.

    Sense it does not make... not to me anyway!:confused:
  3. Taeho

    Taeho New Member

    I personally like mixing it up.

    Sparring is good for fitness, cardio, learning to think on your feet (quickly). Giving you some of the essenial skills required to actually be proficient at defending yourself.

    Forms do the oposite, they help you to work on the movements needed to perform well in sparring. They also assist in the spiritual aspect associated with TKD.

    IMHO, both are required to be a well balanced martial artist. White belt through black and on...

    TKDshane Ÿ
  4. popop

    popop New Member

    i have always considered sparring and going to competitions as two different things. Sparring in the dojang is fun, we don't get hurt and we can do kicks we would never even try during competitons. Competition is a totally different world ! (well, at last i feel in a different world when doing competitions :D )

    I think sparring is essential for a black belt and competition is just for those who enjoy that kind of fighting :rolleyes:
  5. neryo_tkd

    neryo_tkd Valued Member

    Re: Re: forms or sparring...


    so some of the black belts at ur school go to competitions and some of them don't, right? at my school all black belts go to competitions (for a certain period). nobody is forcing them of course, but as time passes by and as students work their way towards the black belt, the training sessions are more intense, more sparring is done and it just comes with the territory, i guess - going to competitions that is. those who are not that good at sparring they don't advance, they can't break boards, they don't do the sparring good at the testings, thus don't reach the black belt level. and honestly i can't imagine how a black belt who hasn't experienced fighting can become an instructor???? it's something that belongs to the picture.

    i also enjoy sparring at the dojo, but i can't say that we don't get hurt.
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2003
  6. Thomas

    Thomas Combat Hapkido/Taekwondo

    At our school, both are required for advancement. Some students prefer one or the other but must do both for promotion. Unfortunately, we are a bit isolated and don't have a lot of opportunities to go to tournaments nearby, but we do try.

    The master strongly recommends that every student competes in at least one tournament before black belt level and actually would prefer one tournament per color level, if possible. And, he recommends that if we pay and travel to go to a tournament, we should compete in both forms and sparring. The reason mainly is to give students an opportunity to test their skills versus new people and under the pressure of competition... not everyone likes it, buit everyone should try it even once.

    Sparring in the dojang is a lot different from tournaments though. We do train tournament style, although usually when there's a tournament coming up soon, but normally we spar for practice and footwork and may use various rules to make up for the restrictions found in tournament style.
  7. popop

    popop New Member

    Re: Re: Re: forms or sparring...

    that's right. Some of them are really pretty good, but they don't feel like going to a competition. I agree with you, competitions are a good way to train, and there are feelings we got nowhere but in competitions. I like it !! :rolleyes:
    The fact is that as they spare with competitiors, they still are good at sparing, and keep in touch with the reality of competition.
    Yet one of those black belt is very very good when sparring (he has such wonderful punch/kick combo :D ), he tried competitions and did not well. That's why I said it was a different world.

    Really ?
    I feel so shameful when hurting people during classes.
  8. Kwajman

    Kwajman Penguin in paradise....

    I love tournaments, even though I lost the hearing in my right ear after sparring in one of them. I still compete in forms and breaking.
  9. flyingblackbelt

    flyingblackbelt New Member

    you have to do forms, you have to spar, you have to know youre techniques, and, if the school requires, you have to break. Otherwise you have not truly climbed the ranks of TKD. Everyone has personal preferences, i mean i love forms and prefer them over sparring. I also like sparring without any gear vs my fellow black belts much more, does that mean i dont spar with gear? no, of course not. Sparring is an essential part of TKD as is forms, otherwise it would not be called a martial art..
  10. Helm

    Helm New Member

    I prefer sparring for sure.

    I feel you could practise sparring every-day, all day and never perfect it, however i feel with enough practise...patterns become easy.
    I think patterns are important if you want to remember correct form etc...
    However im much better at sparring and always feel the need to improve, my instructor feels the we rarely do patterns.
  11. neryo_tkd

    neryo_tkd Valued Member

    sparring really rocks. i love it too. and i love every bruise i get. luckily i haven't had any serious injuries so far. two years ago we, the girls, were really satisified with the training session and our improvement (we were training for a very important competition) and in the locker room noticed that we all had bruises, so we even organized a competition for the most beautiful bruise ha ha ha ha
    but i don't think that forms should be neglected because they show how well and accurate and clean u can perform ur technique. it's easier to hit a punching bag because ur leg lands on the bag, but it is much more difficult to do the technique properly without it.
  12. Kwan Jang

    Kwan Jang Valued Member

    -There is alot more to being a black belt than just fighting, but if you are worthy of that color, you MUST be able to really defend yourself to a high level and you must be good at sparring. There are no "if's, and's or but's to this one.
    -One of my third degree students greatly prefers forms over sparring in competition because he is more artistic and that is what he enjoys. He used to win at both point fighting and full contact on a high level, but it really doesn't match his temperment, so i don't push him. He still smokes some of the tournament champions in class w/ ease and I recall one point sparring competitor remark on him being all show and not a fighter (as if point sparring was being a fighter-sorry, showing my own bias there). Allen challenged him to an impromtu match in which the point champion(who was nationally ranked on the NASKA circuit) could use any and all techniques and he could choose one tech for Allen to use. Allen called over one of the main officials to ref the match. Allen then smoked the guy 5-0.
    -When I was a first degree back in '81, we had a team fight at Ed Parker's Internationals against a team of Chuck Norris' students. I remember at the time, my teammate George Chung, who was the top rated forms competitor was getting a lot of lip from a lot of people as being all flash and no fighting ability. He went up against Chip Wright (who was later inducted into the BLACK BELT HALL OF FAME as Fighter of the Year and was a top ten fighter at the time)) and beat him 7-0. This is back in the days when all tech.,both punches and kicks were a single point. George even hit and scored on Wright with aerial kicks just to show his critics he could. My point is that just because someone prefers to do forms, don't assume they can't fight. I do know some people like that exist, but my experience is that most forms competitors are very good at sparring and fighting for real.
    -I do not push my students to compete. I have many who are or have been champions in Olympic style, points, kicboxing, and even a few who compete successfully in NHB. I have a lot who do forms at the open tournaments as well. To me it is their decision. We generally free spar or grapple in class (usually as seperate activities until 2nd dan when they start NHB as part of the required cirriculum) and if they decide they want to compete we will work with them towards that type of competition.
    -For myself, I find forms competition as much more challenging than fighting. It should be noted that I am a former national level powerlifter and bodybuilder, though. With my speed, size and power, I don't feel I have much to prove in sparring and though I am far from invicinible, I find it hard to find opponents who are really too much of a challenge.. In forms, if at 250 lbs, Ican have better speed, focus, technique, ect. than the guys half my size, then I feel I have really acomplished something.
  13. Kwajman

    Kwajman Penguin in paradise....

    One of my problems with sparring, besides my hearing loss, is that in class, the instructor trains with "light" contact. While control is important, I don't want to have use my MA on the street and only do "light" contact. As someone heres sig says, you fight on the street how you practice in the dojang. So I don't like to practice sparring lightly, I like practically full contact. I'm not intimidating, but I'm 6'6" and 250#, and hit quite hard. So I tend to focus mostly on forms and breaking tho I can do VERY well at sparring if necessary. Any comments about light vs hard sparring in the dojang from the instructors here?
  14. Thomas

    Thomas Combat Hapkido/Taekwondo

    Light vs hard sparring

    We use many levels of sparring in class... ranging from no contact to heavy contact. We also wear various levels of pads. Our main concern is with what we want to gain from each session of sparring... e.g.

    (1) Do we want to work footwork and some new combinations? light or no contact

    (2) Are we trying to build confidence in new skills or break in new guys? light or no contact

    (3) Do we want to work on speed and control, while not making our people unafraid of getting hit? light contact

    (4) Do we want them to respect a bit of the power that can be applied? medium w/o pads or heavy with pads

    (5) Are we practicing self defence applications and/or low kicks and/or head/face strikes? light to medium contact

    (6) Are we gearing up for a full tournament? Some with medium contact to practice techniques and some with full to practice like a tournament.

    It all really depends what the purpose of your training is. The old argument of "no or light contact sparring can't cut it on the street" is partly bull. You do need to train with various degrees of speed and power so that you can effectively use them where ever and when ever you need to. It would be like saying shadow boxing is bad for boxers...
  15. Kwajman

    Kwajman Penguin in paradise....

    Thanks for your input Thomas, your usually right on...I just looked at your profile, no wonder I like your posts so much, I love history also...
  16. neryo_tkd

    neryo_tkd Valued Member

    yes, i agree with Thomas too. so i won't repeat it.
  17. nunchaku8587

    nunchaku8587 Valued Member

    oh jeez there was this quote my master always says to me from some movie....what is's like "just because i said i didn't like to use a six shooter, doesn't mean i dont know how to use it" or something like that....

    anyways, to answer your question i prefer forms over sparring any day simply because i hate sparring, but that doesn't mean people shouldn't know how to do sparring just cause they dont like it

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