how to spar: techniques?

Discussion in 'Karate' started by yuen, Jul 20, 2011.

  1. yuen

    yuen Valued Member

    im trying to find out what can make my sparring better

    will 'attacking' the opponents 'attack' be more effective than defending the attack?

    Last time we sparred I focused on kicking my opponents legs. And it worked. His punches and kicks were slower, and eventually I got him to the ground :D

    so what techniques do you use to make you fight better? and will both of my techniques 'work'?

  2. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    Forgive my apparent sarcasm - I don't intend to be sarcastic - but the best way to improve your sparring is, well, sparring. And lots of it.
  3. Simon

    Simon Moved on. Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    Yuen, sparring is about being able to set your opponent up in order for your own hits to be successful, this is done in one (or a combination of) five ways.

    The common Jeet Kune Do terminology is The Five Ways of Attack, however this definition is not confined to JKD and whatever your art you will be using one of these five ways.

    This explanation was taken from my blog and is a combination of my own works and the description in The Tao of Jeet Kune Do.

    There are many physical and psychological components to attacking movements and these components can be broken down into categories such as simple attack, compound attack or counter-attack.
    The intelligent fighter has the ability to change tactics during the course of a fight and the choice of what weapon to use will be dictated by the opponent. It is no good for example a boxer continually throwing a jab against an opponent proficient in blocking or parrying, tactics such as feinting will need to be used to draw a movement from the opponent.
    are mentioned in his book Tao of Jeet Kune Do.

    Single Direct Attack (SDA)

    Single direct attack is simply punching or kicking an opponent at the precise moment of an opening. Single direct attack requires mastery of timing, range and speed and can be used as a pre-cursor to attack by combination. Visual recognition is important in understanding which and when each punch or kick should be utilised.

    Attack by Combination (ABC)

    An attack by combination may be defined as a series of two or more attacking motions that flow from one to another naturally. Utilizing the hands and feet either separately or in combination, they are compound attacks, with each opening creating another. Although used in conjunction with feints and all other forms of attack such as a single direct attack, in attack by combination each blow in the series in intended to score. This requires economical motion, tight defence, speed, surprise and determination in execution.

    Hand Immobilisation Attack (HIA) or Attack by Trapping.

    Hand immobilisation (or trapping) tools are necessary when the opponent blocks your single direct attack creating a barrier. In order to continue your attack, you either have to change the line of the attack or remove the barrier. By trapping the barrier becomes immobilised and a new line created for a renewed attack. In addition the opponent is prevented from using the trapped arm (or leg) again.

    Attack by Drawing (ABD)

    Attack by drawing is essentially counter fighting. It is initiated by `baiting` an opponent into a commitment. It is a premeditated action and its success depends on luring the opponent into attacking the opening being offered. Subtlety is an essential ingredient, as it must not appear to be a deliberate error or the opponent will not take the opening. Attack by drawing can also be offensive actions by making the opponent react in a set manner to develop your own attack.

    Progressive Indirect Attack (PIA)

    Progressive indirect attack differs from attack by combination in that, in PIA, only the final blow is intended to score. Progressive indirect attack uses feints and false attacks to draw a reaction from the opponent, to induce the execution of a block or other defensive motion, then deceive the defensive move to score on another line of attack. The initial feint or false attack should bridge the distance by at least a half, leaving your final motion only the last half of the distance. Progressive indirect attack is a single forward motion without withdrawal.

    The above drills can be done individually or in combination with each other. In addition each has to be drilled as a seperate entity.

    As well as understanding the attacking movements it is important to understand the defensive type of opponent you may face.

    The Runner

    According to Chris Kent and Tim Tackett in the book JKD Kickboxing the runner is flighty and out of range of both hands and feet.

    Guarding with Distance

    This opponent uses distance, but remains closer than the runner, waiting for the opportunity to score a counter.


    This opponent remains well covered and is prepared to block an attack and then counter.

    The Jammer

    This opponent likes to crash into an attack in order to smother and jam it, then throw the counter. He willmaintain a good guard.

    The Angler

    This guy/girl likes to use footwork and evasicve body angulation to offset your attack.

    So as you can see to be able to deal with the different opponents you will face there are many, many components that need to be in place.
    Sparring is physical chess, a back and forth exchange, which is rhythmic and unrhythmic. It includes pauses and interuptions and the victor will be the one who can adjust, often in the middle of the exchange.

    As well as the the mechanical process you will need to work your distance, timing, footwork and mobility, feints and speed, as weill as a host of other attributes. All of these components again can be broken down into subsections.

    Speed for example is a subject all on its own, as there are different types of speed.

    1. Perception speed.
    2. Mental speed.
    3. Initiation speed.
    4. Alteration speed.
    5. Performance speed.

    Yuen, one thing you can do in class is vary your sparring partner. This will help you against varying speeds, different timing and energy. When you do attack do it with confidence, speed and economy of motion.

    One thing I have my students do is what I call "watch the turbines".

    Don't intercept the punch or kick, intercept the thought process. Watch the mental turbines. As soon as the opponent gets set, thinks of hitting, or adjusts in readiness, you hit, disrupt or move. This places you a half beat in front of them. They can never get ready or set.

    Hope that makes some sense. Don't worry about the JKD terminology, it stands up and can be used in all arts.

    Good luck and this will all come with time served.
  4. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    Yeah... Simon, you just pwned my post. Thanks. :cry: :D
  5. Simon

    Simon Moved on. Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    Sorry dude.

    It took me a while to write and when it was posted I did have a chuckle to myself when I saw yours above it. :)
  6. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    Buy me a pasty from Greggs and I'll forgive you.
  7. Llamageddon

    Llamageddon MAP's weird cousin Supporter

    Um. I think Simon has pretty much just finished the karate section forever. But, in the spirit of ignoring everyone and shouting anyway, LISTEN TO ME!*

    Karate-specific here, you would be amazed at how effective a simple stepping punch (or a few stepping punches thrown in combo) can be. We always expect a jab here, or a jab there, or some fancy kick or whatnot. Oi Tsukis can be very effective especially if you have size and weight on your size. Barrel through.

    The other bit of advice I'd give (but I guess specific to how we spar) is accept the fact you're going to get hit. That way it doesn't matter if you get smacked in the mouth when you're closing the distance, because you're still going to smack the guy back, if you see what I mean.

    Otherwise, do what Simon says (twice in two days! I'm on fire!)

    *Don't listen to me. That's terrible advice! ;)
  8. Yohan

    Yohan In the Spirit of Yohan Supporter

    Work on your jab.
  9. Simon

    Simon Moved on. Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    Further to my earlier post there are some other things the OP needs to be aware of.
    To make things easier I am going to deal specifically with punching range, but the advise can be adapted easily for kicks.

    Controlling distance.

    Step up to your training partner, but be out of punching range. Extend your lead leg and draw an imaginary arc in front of you. Now anywhere inside this line and you are out of distance, allowing the opponent to be on the line puts you in range. This is what I call your sparring circle.
    You need to practice being just a fraction inside your sparring circle, such that with the slightest adjustment you can be in range, hit and away to safety.
    Inside your sparring circle is where you can relax slightly, conserve energy and take a good look at your opponent.
    Maintain a good guard, but keep moving. The old saying "be like the reflection of the moon in the water" remains a good one. Always moving, but always remaining the same (structurally speaking).
    This range is (if you are a counter puncher) where you can tease your opponent. You should be teasing with how close you can be to the edge of your sparring circle, getting hit to commit to a movement and ready to counter.
    If you are more offensive you can (and should) crash through the sparring circle with a commited attack. Single direct attack to draw his block/parry, followed by an attack by combination.

    Types of Sparring

    The OP if he wants to improve his sparring does not need to be sparring at too fast a pace.
    Within the class structure should be sparring of different types in energies.

    Technical Sparring

    This is what some of us may recognise as one, two or three step sparring.
    Each specific drill is worked seperately.
    It may be just a slip or parry off of a jab, or maybe a counter to a lead leg kick. The intensity is slowly increased until the energy is at full speed with the attacker really trying to land the shot.
    I have found that you have to slow the student down when doing this.This is so they understand the technique, where the points of balance are, the opponents weak spots and how they recover ready for the next hit.

    Conditional Sparring

    Here the instructor lays down the ground rules on what can and cannot be used and level of intensity.
    20% power, jab and front kick only.

    A can only defend, while B can only use kicks.

    You must throw at least a three shot combination and angle off when finished.

    All Out Sparring

    This really speaks for itself.
    The student does not need to be doing lots of full contact, as techniques are not learnt here. It is more to understand how they will react in the ring, or when under the stress of a proper fight. The effect of stress on the body will be found out when sparring full contact.

    Shadow Boxing

    Again there are different types of shadow boxing and this is something that the OP can definately do on his own outside of class.
    It takes no equipment, little space and only a few minutes every day.
    Even if you do not have a mirror you can turn the interior lights on at night and use a window or patio doors to obtain a reflection.

    You can shadow box for speed, movement, combinations (hands, feet or both), balance, pivoting etc.

    In terms of the sparring circle, place a shoe on the floor in front of you. As you move in you can practice a front foot pin. Excellent if you move in and trap the opponents lead hand.

    If you have a gumshield this is a good time to practice wearing it.
    Controlling your breathing is import and and you don't want to struggle in class with the gumshield.

    Just like sparring you can set your own conditions.

    Must use a defensive move before throwing your own shot.

    Must angle off after each hit.

    Each technique must include a kick and so on.

    Getting Hit

    Llamageddon gave good advise when he said you are going to get hit.
    If (when) you do get hit, move. Do not return to the same place. If you hit a bag it comes back to the same place and gets hit again, do not make this mistake, move, angle off, slip, weave, whatever it is do not return to the same place.

    Take a few shots.

    This is good for the soul as long as long as it is sensible. When doing one or two step sparring or conditinal sparring I sometimes allow a few to hit home. Suddenly you realise it is not that bad. It also helps with controlling the flinch, which is the enemy of the beginner.

    I'll leave it there before I write a book.
    I would like some response (good or bad) from the OP as to whether this has been of help.
  10. Llamageddon

    Llamageddon MAP's weird cousin Supporter

    You're just showing off now, Simon.
  11. Simon

    Simon Moved on. Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    Honest opinion Llama.

    Does it apply to Karate at all? I've never studies Karate and don't really understand how you guys spar (rules etc).
  12. Llamageddon

    Llamageddon MAP's weird cousin Supporter

    All applicable to karate sparring, or at least how I like to spar.

    Like has been said so many times before, a punch is a punch and a kick is a kick; there are only so many ways of delivering them and dealing with them.

    I suppose there may be differences in some of the nuances, but nothing worth discussing I don't think.

    Some shoto people may be interested in doing the jamming one more. I think too many of us get caught up in keeping far away. Get in close.

    I'd argue the easiest way to stop a roundhouse for example is to get in close before the kick had had time to chamber/get halfway. Not so advisable for a spinning kick - I'd still get out of the way for that one

    As for rules and stuff, we don't really spar to any rule set (maybe save don't aim for the face - and we don't spar full contact, but we equally don't wear any protection). We just spar.
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2011
  13. Knight_Errant

    Knight_Errant Banned Banned

    My advice is to be more 'positive' with your use of techniques. This is a tricky concept to explain, but you want to start commiting with definite techniques rather than just half-heartedly reaching out with your hands. Extra sparring is always cool, but you need to think about what you're doing and actually apply the kihon that you've been learning. Don't just bounce around and hope for the best. Also, in a free sparring environment your techniques will need to be modified slightly. Lunge punches will be much less useful. My advice is learn to jab. It's an excellent 'ranging punch'. Also, when you're drilling at home, pay more attention to your footwork. Learn to push off your back foot- move the foot that is pointing in the direction you want to go first.
    One last thing: watch fights. At your dojo, on youtube, whatever. Try to watch actual karate mostly as this will have the biggest impact on how you fight. Copy what they do, get it right in your shadow sparring, and then have a go in actual sparring.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2011
  14. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    translation: don't do techniques just hit the other guy :D
  15. Rider

    Rider Everybody loves cakes! :D

    Learn techniques, study hard and train hard, and spar as much as you can, along with with simon said

    But depends on sparring, when training in semi contact or light contact, try out different things see if they work, if they dont dont use them, if what you did works consider it...but when seriously sparring use what you have been trained to do and what you trained to do

    ...In full contact, alot different, use what is effective, sometimes the most simplist of techniques can be as deadly as an advanced one...mastering a simple technique, is better than a sloppy advanced one (I've not seem you spar so i dont know...but point is still the same)
  16. Knight_Errant

    Knight_Errant Banned Banned

    More the reverse, really.
  17. Merovingian

    Merovingian New Member

    I guess "jumping into it" works on some attacks and blovking or jumping away works well on some? Try and see what works.

    Seems also to be different to which person you spar against, since the quality of their techniques are so different.

    I'm a beginner as well, so usually i try to use whatever technique we trained in the day or whatever i feel like to get a feel for which ones i like. It's a constant process.

    A nice rule of thumb my sempai told me was to try to "payback" so for each punch you take you give one back. It's funny when you spar against much better people, since you obviously have zero hope of applying the rule. But it makes the sparring more eventful and "educational".
  18. lexmark

    lexmark Valued Member

    I just began kyokushin a couple of weeks ago and during the sparring, I only seem to land punches or kicks when my opponet doens't try to block it. I've sparred against 2 brown belts, one black, a green, and a blue. One of teh browns took it pretty easy and the other I had to ask to hit with less force cos it was really starting to hurt. Anyway, i've never really had quick reflexes. Will that improve or should I just resign myself to getting hit alot? I said in another thread I wanted something with contact, I'm learing just how true that is.
  19. Simon

    Simon Moved on. Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    Your reflexes certainly will improve.

    One of several things will happen: -

    • You will get faster as the awkwardness gets less
    • You will have more vision awareness.
    • Your timing will improve

    On top of this you will learn to throw your punch/kick when the opponent is at his weakest, off balance or recovering from doing his own technique.

    You'll still get hit though. :cry:
  20. Andrew2011

    Andrew2011 Valued Member

    Wouldn't many MA people go for a sweep after the first few punches had been thrown rather than trying to spa endlessly?

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