Learn Karate Sparring
You may ask what is the point of karate sparring and why should one spend time sparring when he/ she could be learning valuable self defense tactics. The answer is simple. Learning karate sparring is not just random fighting, but strategic practice of various techniques. Also, there are different levels of sparring and each has its purpose.
In the beginning of training, sparring can be very deliberate. A pattern of attack and a pattern of block and counterstrike is reenacted again and again. For example, let us pretend that an assailant attacks with two straight punches to the face. One counter is to use a windshield wiper block to the outside of one punch and at the same time moving to the side of the assailant and dropping into a horse stance. From this position, you can attack the rib cage of the opponent. Several focused punches are practiced. This pattern is practiced over and over.
Learn Martial Arts through Sparring
Sparring is essential in learning a martial art. The goal is to learn to react automatically. There is an attack pattern and there is a response to it. For example, pretend your attacker punches toward your face. You can high block the blow and at the same time step back with one leg, Now you are in position to counterattack, and you do so with a kick to the assailant's groin, followed by a punch to his face. This pattern is practiced over and over until it becomes automatic.
Let us consider another pattern. Assume someone grabs you from behind. He has his arms locked around you in a bear hug. First you should inflate your lungs, making your chest expand and giving you some wiggle room. Then you should blow all the air out of your lungs and at the same time drop into a horse stance..a stance that looks like you have mounted a horse. This frees your elbows and you use them to counterattack, shifting from one side to the other.
Learn Martial Arts to Block Kicks
If you were to block a kick simply by holding out your arm, you would risk the possibility of getting a broken arm. You would be taking the full force of the kick on your arm. In karate, you will learn to block a kick by striking the attacking leg with a sweeping motion making contact to the side and at 90 degrees to the attacking leg. This will deflect his kick if not throw him off balance.
The kick is blocked with a mid block if the kick approaches the middle of your body and if toward your head, then you need to strike the kick with a high block, making sure you have moved to the side of the kick. Sometimes it is best to drop into a deep stance and in this way get under the kick. It is important to practice these patterns so that they become automatic.
Phase Two: Learn Karate Sparring
Once you feel comfortable with the patterns described above, you will move on to putting them into more fluid form. You will work with a partner and you will attempt using the attacks described above. You don't know which attack but it will be one of those we have gone over. You have to defend yourself by using one of the block and respond defenses. You will not use full contact at this point and you will use more of a snapping kick rather than a focused kick. After you u have practiced to the extent that these patterns become automatic you can move on to full contact karate. But you may wonder: how is this done without inflicting serious injury? The answer is that you use karate pads. The torso is covered with a quilted pad and the face with a screen that resembles a fencing mask. The pads provide protection but they help the defender get a more realistic idea of what they are up against and they help the one playing the attacker by giving him a demonstration of his own power.
The next level up is competition. You may inter karate tournaments and win trophies for all your training if you can outpoint your opponent. But in addition to sparring, there are also contests for FORMS. Forms are like choreographed dances that enact an imaginary fight with an imaginary opponent. They usually contain blocks and punches and in this way they allow the karate trainee to practice basics on their own. All they need to practice a form is a small room and a flat floor. So even if you were imprisoned you could practice your karate forms. You do these as warm up and to smooth out the fluidity of your blocks, punches and kicks.
A few Don'ts of Karate Sparring
Don't tie up with your opponent. Do not allow a clench to happen. Karate is training in distance fighting. You have the advantage of reach, but if you tie up, you do not know what skills you are exposing yourself to. The attacker may be trained in judo, jusijitsu, aikido or wrestling techniques. Of, they may just be a self taught street fighter. At any rate, close quarter fighting is not to your advantage. Unless, you are trained in this form of fighting, beware. You could find yourself in a takedown and be pinned before you knew what happened.If you take down your assailant, make sure he stays down. Otherwise, he may be twice as mad as before and fight you more aggressively. So use several counterattacks to insure that he gets the point. He must be disabled; otherwise, he is still dangerous. This should give you an overview of karate sparring; its purpose and content. Learn the patterns but the main key after mastering a pattern is to practice it deliberately and fluidly so that it becomes automatic. You and practice with an opponent, but if you do not have an opponent, remember you can practice Forms. Such is the power and range of karate sparring