Very recently, after the sparring seminar, I had a discussion about why it is important to feel contact and pressure when we are practicing and thought I would share my thoughts
By this I don’t mean we deliberately try and take each other’s head off every single session, but every so often we need to experience a taste of what it might be like to properly spar against different people while trying to land shots as well as potentially take shots.
The reason for this is simple. To build confidence in our own training and to correct our issues and bad training habits, we need to be able to actually hit a moving target who doesn’t want to be hit, and we need to know where our own holes are. I think it is massively important that we have this. Imagine if you never test your shots with contact (pad hitting doesn’t count) and then you are chucked in the deep end with someone intent on hurting you. You think it will be okay, after all it always seems to work in class, even though you have not actually hit a person before. And then all of a sudden all your punches don’t land or do any damage. You lose confidence. You then take a colossal shot to the face, your first ever. You lose the rest of your confidence. What do you do then?
In class you’ll hear us say this a lot: you drill it badly in here, that is what you will do outside. If you have only ever pulled your punches and never hit anyone, you will instinctively pull them when you fight a live opponent.
To get around this In Bushin, we test spar regularly. We do it every session! It is one of the few safe ways we have to test what we can do against a myriad of different shapes, sizes, and styles; against an opponent who doesn’t want to be hit and who wants to hit us back. The variable we give it is how much contact we allow. If you are junior, less to no contact for you, as you rise up the belts, the hits coming back get harder, so you better be sure you are used to hitting someone!
The reason for increasing the contact as you go up is simple, you’ve been given the basics and you can throw them well. You need to then know that you can land those shots and can actually do damage. It gives you confidence. The other thing that gives you even more confidence (I think so anyway), is the capability to take a shot to the face/body and still keep fighting. That confidence can only come from experiencing contact and can well save your skin.
Which needs very neatly to my final point. Grading is coming up soon. The time to mentally gear up for it fast approaches. You need to think about going into it and to do your best. Be confident. Strut your stuff. Show off. If you take a shot, well done to them. But they better be ready for a war, cause you will not be going down easy.