Nothing beats having a great sparring session whether you are focusing on using a tool like a stick or striking with kicking techniques and hand strikes or grappling or putting it all together and letting it all hang out. Alive training or working against a resisting opponent is crucial to your growth as a martial practitioner. Having a living, thinking opponent who is trying to dominate you will definately force you to improve or suffer the consequences.
Now since it is so important how often should you do it? Well that really depends on each individual and their unique goals. You have to do it but how much depends on your needs. Personally I like to get some alive training in regularly which probably is about every other day or every third day. However at my age I have to regulate certain things. I do not need a concussion or broken limbs, black eyes etc. So quite often when training alive I focus on certain things and aspects. I might for instance just spar with padded gear such as helmet, gloves, elbow, knee, shin and instep protection plus padded sticks, knives, etc. or I might grapple or roll focusing on positional movement. I could of course roll hunting for submissions while my opponent just defends. (boy that can be difficult at times) Or I might roll all out where we both are looking for submissions. That is always fun! I might spar using WEKAF Filipino Body Armor and rattan sticks utilizing just strikes without takedowns or I might go at it all out just wearing a fencing mask, elbow and knee pads with a rattan stick allowing strikes, takedowns and grappling. Or I might focus on just empty handed full contact sparring with minimal gear and everything goes. Plus several other varieties some including air soft pistols, etc. So you can see that Alive training can include many different things to do and each practitioner not only needs to experience as many things as possible but also do so in a manner that is best for them long term. That long term is important because in the end as true practitioner’s of martial ways we are looking for real world personal protection skills that will allow us to be victorious in the moment of combat. That being the end goal is what it is all about when you train for the real world. That is also what Instinctive Response Training is preparing you for and in turn what it is all about.
Pacing, what is that? Well in the martial science’s each practitioner needs to be paced at a certain speed. In other words you need to know what the heck you are doing before being thrown to the wolves. So each practitioner needs to have skills before they can go all out all the time. That does take a bit of time. One of the worst teaching methods I have ever seen and believe me I have witnessed this quite a few times is just to throw the new student into sparring or any Alive training right off the bat. I mean a new student comes in and immediately at the end of class they roll, spar, etc. without ever having had a chance to learn some skills. So pace yourself and your students and let them develop skills and confidence and then go Alive and let them develop their skills to the next level! This method has worked wonders as I have personally witnessed many people who might have quit right off the bat become formidable people able to defend themselves in the moment. So pace yourself accordingly depending on skill set, age, cardiovascular shape, etc.
However in the end make sure you get some Alive Training In!
Copyright Instinctive Response Training LLC 2008
Brian R. VanCise
Note: This Blog is opinion only and Instinctive Response Training LLC nor Brian R. VanCise is responsible for any third party actions taken.
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