Every student enjoys the challenge and excitement of Sparring Techniques Tea kwon do . It is the best way for students to test their practical fighting ability. Historically, however, the problem with sparring has been to balance realistic fighting situations against safety. If students were allowed to punch and kick at each other without restraint, serious injuries would result. To prevent this, different martial art systems have developed various restrictions on sparring. Some schools allow only noncontact, or “focus,” sparring, in which students score a hit by delivering controlled technique to a point approximately one inch from the opponent’s body. This approach has its limits in terms of training for real-life situations.
Students trained this way simply do not understand what it is like to be hit. Even if such a student effectively blocks or wards off an attack, the unfamiliar sensation of feeling the force of blows throws off his concentration and timing.
In the worst case, the student may employ a fancy technique he has developed in the gym only to discover the hard way that such a technique is ineffective instreet combat.
At the other end of the spectrum are those schools that encouragefull contact sparring.
The idea of course is to provide as realistic afighting situation as possible for the student to develop his or her skillsmore effectively. Varying degrees of protective padding are worn bystudents to help reduce the risk of injury.
Some schools minimize theuse of padding to the point of having competitors wearing only boxing-style gloves and foot pads.
This allows the competitors the mostfreedom of movement but affords little true protection from landedblows.
Other schools require their students to don extensive protectivegear before sparring including headgear, mouth guard, body paddingand leg and arm padding as well as gloves and foot pads.
While this inturn affords fairly good protection from even full-strength blows, too much protective gear hampers movement. Moreover, this can makestudents dependent on the padding to absorb much of the force of astrike, leading to lazy blocking habits.
Poor blocking habits can havedisastrous results in real-life situations. Without the padded glove tosoften the impact of a connecting fist, or the protection of thick bodypadding to distribute the force of the strike, one punch can do a greatdeal of damage.
Tae Kwon Do takes a moderate position with respect to sparringrules. While contact sparring is a regular part of training and competition, there are certain restrictions.
By requiring competitors to wearprotective padding (i.e., headgear, mouth protector, chest protector,forearm and shin pads) and restricting attacks to the front of the bodyand the head, students are protected from serious injury.
At the sametime, however, by not encumbering the hands and feet with thickgloves and pads, students are able to block and attack with a great dealof “real-life” force. Furthermore, the protective padding worn in TaeKwon Do competitions has been specifically designed to be both lightweight and nonrestrictive as well as effective for absorbing the force oflanded blows.Before students are allowed to begin sparring, certain fundamental techniques must be mastered.
These techniques allow students tomake a smooth transition from the more rigid movements of simpledrills to the fluid motions of a competitive fighter. In any sparringsituation it is essential that the student be able to move quickly andeffectively around the ring.
When a student learns to do this properly he is able to manipulate the opponent into revealing momentary openings that may be exploited, and to respond effectively to anymovements or changes in stance by the opponent. On the other hand,if a student does not learn to move correctly, chances are good thathe’ll be an ineffective competitor in the ring.
The best techniques inthe world will not help him if he cannot get close enough to his opponent to use them, or if he cannot move out of the way of an attacklaunched by the opponent.
With this in mind, we’ve devoted the first portion of this chapterto certain drills that will improve your ability to move effectively insparring situations. These will teach you the basic skills that must belearned in order to become an effective competitor.
The first of thesedrills concerns the basic ways in which to step while maintaining theproper stance and balance. These basic movement drills are the firstthings to be mastered before a student can hope to become an effectivecompetitor.