Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Why sparring IS NOT self defense

Many people believe that sparring helps them to develop hand-to-hand combat skills for use in the real world. They believe that the more you spar, the better you will be at defending yourself. I'm here to tell you that sparring alone will not make you better at self defense. Don't misunderstand me, i'm not saying that you won't learn any skills that could be used for self defense. I'm simply giving you many variables and considerations to take into account. Here are my list of reasons why the way most teach sparring is ineffective for self defense:

* Sparring doesn't prepare you for the unexpected - Think about it. You have two people on the mat with head gear and a bunch of other safety equipment on. Both know that they are about to fight and consent to it. In the real world, you don't know 100% that you'll be attacked. Your attacker won't tell you if he or she is going to attack and how. I've tested this myself with a sparring partner on multiple occasions. Coincidentally, he hit me without letting me know we were sparring. If that happened on the streets, i probably would've been knocked out. Sparring does not teach you how to deal with those situations.

* Sparring teaches street fighting - Once you put on your headgear and other safety equipment for sparring then prepare yourself for hand-to-hand combat, you are training for street-fighting. Why is it street fighting and not self defense? For one, sparring doesn't teach you how to avoid a potentially violent situation or diffuse it. Another reason you have to consider is that your attacker may not do those Karate kicks or Judo throws that your partner used in class. If you expect your attacker to just exchange punches only to find out you've been hit from behind by one of his buddies or attacked with a lethal weapon, all of your sparring lessons were just rendered useless. The last reason is that you aren't learning to neutralize the threat quickly enough. The longer the fight goes on, the more danger you put yourself in. Unfortunately, you will find many people claiming "self defense" be it on youtube or in person when they were street fights in reality because they gave their consent.

* Sparring has rules - Many forms of sparring include no hits to vulnerable areas. Sparring conditions you to only strike anywhere but those areas. That's a great hindrance to you and an advantage for your attacker who intends on seriously injuring or killing you. Another common practice is instilling "point systems." This is where you execute certain attacks or techniques to score points. When you have enough points, your opponent is considered defeated. This type of training is instilling false confidence be it with your fists or weapons because it completely ignores adrenaline rushes and pain tolerance. You might be surprised to find that no matter how many times you hit your attacker in the real world, he or she still won't go down. As a result, your confidence will start to break and chances are, you will give up or get hit. Some sparring sessions include making an opponent tap out. In reality, your attacker will do everything in his or her power to attack you. Once you let go of your submission hold, there's nothing preventing your attacker from landing a fatal blow. This video depicts one example where a man was being assaulted before others followed.

* Sparring neglects everything else in violence - Combat is much more complex than what sparring classes teach. There are adrenaline rushes, fight or flight response, weapons, multiple attackers, drugs, alcohol, stress, morals, psychology, the list goes on. If you are being bullied to the brink of insanity and your self esteem is being drained, do you really think you will be able to use what you learned in sparring against the bully? No. The bully already has a psychological advantage against you. If you freeze because of insecurity, the bully will take advantage of that and beat you up. If you aren't mentally prepared to hurt or kill your attacker then you will get hurt or killed. Thee aftermath of a violent confrontation (injuries, PTSD, prison, etc.) is also something to think about.

* Sparring gives false security - It's easy to fight when your wearing headgear, gloves, and other safety gear along with knowing that your partner isn't trying to kill you. In real life, you won't have this luxury. Your attacker will try to hurt and kill you. Your fist might break the moment you make contact with your attacker's jaw or cheekbone. Will sparring teach you how to handle an attacker trying to intimidate you? Will sparring condition you to cause real injury to another human being? Will sparring teach you how to execute eye gouges and other dirty fighting tactics properly? No. This is why sparring gives false confidence.

In conclusion, nothing you learn in self defense schools is guaranteed to save your life and this includes what i teach. You'll have a percentage of people who've misused hand-to-hand combat intended for self defense to street fight. You'll have a percentage of instructors who teach hand-to-hand combat but never had to use all of them in self defense. You'll have those who used them but the results were far different than expected. There's too many variables that you cannot account for all of them in self defense training. What's the best advice i can give you? Don't get into a violent situation. Focus more on avoiding or diffusing conflict before it starts.

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