Tag Archives: fighting. sparring

The Subtle Disadvantages of Point Sparring

Sparring. Everyone has an opinion on sparring, especially those who have never done it. I can’t count how many times I’ve talked to a parent or a prospective student and sparring has come up. People either think it’s the most intense UFC-style thing ever or just a random game that isn’t really relevant to the real world. The truth, of course, is that’s it’s both and yet neither.

When people think of sparring, they immediately think of UFC. Why? Why not Olympic boxing or Taekwondo?

I’m a blackbelt, and I’ve been teaching martial arts most of my life. A big part of that is sparring. Sparring is one of the most enjoyable parts of learning the martial arts. Here it is, your skills on display, in a direct match against another person. There are no ties, and you instantly know, instantly, who is the better fighter. There are no doubts. It’s a fantastic learning tool.

That said, the more I teach and the more I practice, the more I realize that one of the most common sparring styles, point sparring, is almost completely useless. Continue reading