Today we wanted to share our thoughts on why we think sporting competition in the martial arts is so important to the development of a student. You may have heard people refer to their system of practice as a self-defense only type of practice in which students would be seriously injured if they were to partake in a sparring venue utilizing their techniques. The truth is that without practice in a dynamic environment in which the opponent is trying their best to prevent your use of technique while attempting attack there is no way to develop the timing, angles, distance control, or fluidity required to pull off any technique. Imagine a boxer who never sparred or a wrestler who never actually wrestled.
There is nothing wrong with the practice of kata (forms) or waza (technique) as an art that someone enjoys for a physical and mental benefit. But without the sparring it is only an art and less of a martial art. We do however believe that all students should partake in the repetitive performance of their techniques. Try doing your most beautiful throw, grappling technique, or sparring move in a controlled environment. Now reduce the quality of that performance by a factor of 5. This is most likely how it will look if you were to use it in a dynamic environment. Of course there is no guarantee that you can successfully pull off the move since you will have to figure out how to set it up and manage all of the other things that go on in a combative match. So for this reason you should always strive for technical perfection through the practice of techniques in a controlled environment while participating in a free play or competitive type format to develop the skills needed to apply what you have learned.
In addition, anyone who has competed in a large scale competitive venue can attest that adrenaline is a huge factor that must be considered. Free play or sparring in a dojo or other training facility will not produce the same rush of adrenaline experienced at contests where the opposing competitor is unknown. This rush of adrenaline would also be experienced in a self-defense situation. A familiarity with this effect will enable a martial artist to make better decisions in less time without the burden of thought paralysis.
Lastly, there is one simple thing to remember if your goal in practicing martial arts is for self-defense. Keep it simple! Unfortunately we are not all able to catch punches out of the air and do sophisticated lock flow control holds on someone who has a serious intention of hurting us. They look cool and might be fun to practice but not what we would call a go to program for defending one self. It may take you many years to get comfortable with a program or system of self-defense so be sure that you are spending your time wisely and in a system that you thoroughly enjoy. If you are not sure about what system or martial arts program is right for you then do some homework. The internet has made everything so accessible. If you find something that looks interesting be sure to interview the instructor(s) and ask lots of questions. We hope this short informational helped you and wish you the greatest of success in your martial arts journey!
For more information about our background or martial arts program please visit: www.NorCalSportJujitsu.com
NorCal Sport Jujitsu & Judo - Instructional Staff