As we mentioned earlier, to learn how to manage a self-defense situation optimally we must focus consistently on the practice of combat. In 6DKF there are several types of sparring related to different purposes; before showing them, we want to rapidly list the fundamental conditions to start:
At the base of sparring:
- Respect and consideration for the safety of our partners replaces the desire to prevail; to cause harm to those who train with us amounts to a serious defeat (lack of physical and mental control ability)
- In sparring we are all on the same team, there are neither winners nor losers, there are only precious errors, lessons and experiences to which we must give meaning (to evolve and understand ourselves)
- Before and after the fight we exchange a gesture of respect and friendship (we’ll see how this happens in 6DKF)
- Those who can not fall, keep the guard up or has large balance deficit can not do sparring, first we need to build these bases; who has serious health problems can not do sparring at all
- At the first sign of discomfort, pain or excessive tension, sparring should be discontinued; the goal is always to preserve our safety (both in a real battle, both among teammates), if we hurt we risk not being able to continue training with constance
- In order to avoid unnecessary risks, sparring is done only after a good warm up and stretching, preferably at the end of a complete training session (with few forces and under the stress of fatigue)
- The techniques that we can perform stop where their complete application would mean to end the sparring with damages that will do not disappear within 1 hour after (eg. some bruises are not a big problem, an overextended arm yes)
- Do not do sparring without a third person who can help properly or stop the ongoing of the confrontation (there are a lot of unexpected things that can happen)
- While we do sparring exist only us, our opponents, the supervisor and the scenario, nothing more (we do not stop and we have not to be distracted); the fight ends when one of the 3 entity asks for a break (tapping on the floor, on our body or by voice)
- In general, we do little use of protections but their presence does not alter in any way the attention to our body and to the opponent’s one (defense is the same whether we are protected whether we are not)
- In sparring session we must ensure that our companion always has a chance to learn something, no matter who is better and who is not; the constant mind effort is the key to learning
- We must not train always with the same partner (if it’s possible), we have to try with those who are stronger than us, those who are like us and those who are less prepared, in all three cases there is ample opportunity for learning
- Being sure not to risk our lives should not put ourselves in a fictitious state of tranquility, we have to defend at the most all the vulnerable parts of our own bodies as if we were fighting for life
- Less speed more power, more softness less rigidity, more mobility,less savings of energy, more tactical / strategy less instinct, more precision less randomness, more testing less linearity
- The blows has to come to their target, should not be caresses and must not be harmful, we must learn to retain the strength and not the attack; the same things happens for levers, we gradually and slowly increase the closures, without dangerous explosive movements
- At the end of the sparring, with respect, patience and constructive will it’s a good practice to discuss what, in terms of effectiveness, happened of positive and negative (let’s be humble, friendly and let’s try to expose first our limits / faults)
- If our opponents are not able to fill to apply any technique / blow, let’s stop, let’s give him some useful advice and let’s start again but without lowering our level of struggle
The sparring is group study, is neither a sport competition, nor a real fight, the sooner we understand this the sooner we will become real practitioners. In martial arts, as everyone knows, the real enemy is always within us.
In the next article we will see the various types of sparring.
Author: Master Kongling
Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.