Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Three step sparring

This evening at Tang Soo Do training we did some little-practiced three step sparring which turned out to be very satisfying. It's not usually part of our training like one step sparring is but it brings in an interesting dynamic and forces sharp thinking and quick reflexes making it a good pre-sparring technique.

The three step sparring we exercised tonight were random techniques in classical, formal style so not codified and open to creative interpretation. Given this it meant you had to think fast to get some correct blocks and counter techniques in. Although it's a very linear structure (go see this article by Dojo Rat for more on linear or circular) in many ways there is a lot of room for interesting counter techniques on the third defence bringing the entire syllabus into play: hits, kicks, grabs, throws, immobilisation and although done in a very contrived way I think this may be a good precursor to sparring for some junior grades.

A big problem I see with junior grades and sparring is that they rely far too heavily on strength and speed, forgoing a lot of technique. When I see this I always encourage them to slow it down, take the opportunity to try some fancy stuff and practice things 'live' rather than see it as all out conflict! The aim isn't to kick me black and blue. Not yet anyway. I find ramping up to sparring much more sensible than throwing the juniors in at the deep end at full speed and strength. Tang Soo Do sparring is very energetic and quite spectacular to watch and it would be a shame to miss out on this. Above all I find it thrilling to do and great FUN!

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