The use of sparring in Self-Defense

The use of sparring in Self-Defense

Most people training in any form of combat sports or Self-Defense systems end up taking part in sparring sessions. It’s an important part of training but very often it’s not really made clear as to why you are actually doing it in the first place. So let’s have a look at it and see what it does for you and how important it is to have it as part of any modern self-defense training system.

What actually is sparring?

Sparring is the process of ( generally ) two opponents attacking each other to test out their combat skills under various levels of constraints and safety procedures. 

In boxing, sparring is usually done with larger gloves, head guards and groin protection. It normally has time limits and someone checking what is happening.

In martial arts, like the Kung Fu I trained in, we would wear gum shields, often shin pads and gloves. 

What is common in both types of training, is that the levels of power and aggression are often checked back to avoid serious injuries. In martial arts training more so, normally, than boxing, but this can depend on the skill level and whether it is professional or amateur.

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The 6 ranges of combat and their use in defending yourself against a violent attack: Part two

Understanding The 6 Ranges Of Combat and their use in Self-Defense

This is the second part of the article as there was a lot of information to get through. To resume.

We discussed that in general terms, there are 6 ranges or distances in a combat situation or violent confrontation. Learning what they are is another important piece of the Self-Defense puzzle. Part one you can find here. Now we look at using any knowledge of the ranges.

Using knowledge of the 6 ranges

Understanding what is happening is one of the key elements of Self-Defense. If you have clarity in reading a situation, you can then be clearer in how you deal with it. Some form of order in the chaos, so to speak. A clear understanding of the 6 ranges helps you plan how to deal with something and act according to each different problem.

So, for example, you are having problems with someone being aggressive in the street, but they are at least 5 metres from you.

With knowledge of the ranges of combat you can..

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The 6 ranges of combat and their use in defending yourself against a violent attack: Part one

Understanding The 6 Ranges Of Combat and their use in Self-Defense

This article goes on a bit as there is a lot to get through, so I have split into two parts. Here we go.

In general terms, there are 6 ranges or distances in a combat situation or violent confrontation. Learning what they are is another important piece of the Self-Defense puzzle.

Why is it so important I hear you ask?

Because knowledge is power and knowing what you are actually dealing with can help you prepare for and deal with what is to come. By understanding how a range can work for you or against you, you can pick the right response to any form of aggression.

The 6 ranges of combat can be roughly defined as (starting with the furthest away)…

  1. Missiles
  2. Hand weapons
  3. Kicking
  4. Punching
  5. Trapping
  6. Grappling

Breaking down the different ranges:

Missiles

Missiles are essentially anything that can come from a distance. From a rifle bullet to a spear or even some drunk in a bar throwing a beer glass at you. Being situationally aware is the key to avoiding a long-range missile hitting you.

A potential assailant could be some distance away but if they look a bit conspicuous and have their hands where you can’t see them, they could be armed and dangerous. Follow your instinct to move away from them as quickly as possible as they could be carrying a pistol or knife.

You could also be having an argument in a bar, for example, and you aren’t very close to the other person. You may feel safe, but don’t switch off to the possibility that they could pick up a bottle or glass and throw it. It can happen very quickly, so staying alert to any sudden move could be a lifesaver.

I remember years ago, a New Zealander I knew, telling me a story of a bar fight which started with an argument. One person left it alone and the other didn’t, so to speak. The next thing that happened is a beer crate flying through the air and hitting the bloke in the side of the head nearly knocking him out, before he was jumped on. It happens!

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Failure as a learning tool in Self-Defense

Dealing with "failure" is a part of any learning curve.
Dealing with “failure” is a part of any learning curve.

Failure as a learning tool in Self-Defense

The title may seem a bit of an odd one, so let me explain a little bit. 

To defend yourself against someone who is attacking you, you need a certain amount of know-how and skill. Realistically speaking, you will have had to train to develop this skill and know-how. So at first, it would seem odd that I would suggest that an important part of this would be failing because that doesn’t make sense.

Learning curve

The point is this. Anyone who has achieved any level of skill and knowledge at anything has dealt with failure along the way. They attempted to do something to improve and failed at it. They then went back to that something and tried again. And again! Until they were somewhere near what they wanted. To drive home the point then is that the sooner you accept that you are on a learning curve and will get things wrong, the sooner you will be on the path to better learning. The sooner you deal with failing, the sooner you will improve your skills.

How would understanding failure apply directly to Self-Defense?

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