Friday, 9 November 2012
Sparring = Free Sparring = Competition Sparring?
Once upon a time free sparring meant sparring that was free. You chose yourself what techniques you wanted to use (allthough you obviously would pull some techniques, or omit others for safety). Someone kicked you with a roundhouse, missed barely and did not retrackt their foot after the kick? He would be "guided" to the floor fast enough... Someone caught you of balance? You might just find yourself on the receiving end of a throw.. Someone grabed your lapel to do a hip throw? That arm would be locked before you could say "ouch".
Then the focus on competition started.. In the beginning you might have free sparring and competition sparring. I like the terms and that they are seperate things. Later with an ever increasing focus on competition the free sparring faded into obscurity and competition sparring came into the main stage. Until now when free sparring is really a lost art and competition sparring is the only kind of sparring the students ever really face. Today "free sparring" is a term often used in the Dojang but it is really the same as competition sparring (maybe a little less serious as there is no plastic trophy at stake).
I like competition sparring. Do not get me wrong. It is live training and hard to full contact against a really uncooperative opponent who wants to hit you but he/she really does not want to be hit back. This is important part of training and the stand up striking part of the system really gets tested. Depending on the arm leg/ratio it is not neccesarily "leg fencing" either. But when you start competition sparring as the only kind of sparring and for its own sake (being good at competing) you loose a lot of the system.
The "large" surfaces in WTF sparring are the sides of the upper body from the arm pit to the hip bone, the stomach and solar plexus from your navel anr up to the sternum, the sides of the head that is covered by the helmet. For those that do competition sparring that is enough to know, but the vast knowledge of vital points both for healing and self defense are rapidly dissapearing today from the Taekwondo comunity forcing people to take up a seperate martial art to learn these things. No wonder that young people start Taekwondo and then quit when they get a little older or change to another martial art.
If WE take matters into our own hands and teach this to our junior students we might just make Taekwondo into a real Martial Art that can be enjoyed by students of all ages and for a number of reasons and not just like it is today a Martial Sport for young people and little else. The first thing on the agenda for this revulotion is: Making Free Sparring into Free Sparring once more!
Have a nice training session:-)