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Sunday, May 9, 2010

To Spar Or Not To Spar?

H.E.A.R.T. Martial Arts and Citizen Schools students learn the importance of sparring.

Sparring is a vital part of training, it helps the students to connect the techniques in ways that Kata (Formal Movement Exercise) can never accomplish. Basics (Kihon) help to lay the foundation - each technique on its own. Kata helps the student to connect the basic techniques together - each Kata has a specific purpose or concept that helps the student to grow in understanding of the application of the basic techniques. Sparring/Fighting (Kumite) helps the student to truly understand what works and why... but more importantly what works for THEM and why.

Everyone is different; different size, flexibility, strength, weight, even mind and spirit. This all adds together to form a style that is unique to each individual, while we may share the training hall (dojo) and help each other by sharing the training experience we each will walk away with it "fitting" us a different way.

One thing I/we must stress, even here on our blog/website, is that we do not condone our students getting into fights. We actually teach them how to avoid getting into a confrontation, but as many of us have experienced sometimes even with all the extra effort you may find yourself in a position or situation where you have no choice but to defend/protect yourself.

I sit here now thinking of what it means in the eyes of other individuals who may not embrace the Martial Arts in the same light as I do. While for many close friends and I the Martial Arts have become a way of life some may view what we teach as being a contradiction. Learning how to fight and defend yourself so that you will not have to fight is a difficult concept to grasp. This discussion and philosophy could and has filled many other books and websites, I am sure it has also taken many a hour in the form of debate between those with varying opinions. What I will add to all that is out there is that in my 27 years of training I have only come upon two scenarios where I had to use the techniques aside from my Full Contact Martial Art Competitions (and at times the vigorous training in preparation for these tournaments).

The individuals who I train with help me to become better on many levels; Physically, Mentally and Spiritually. I have, over the years, had the privilege of meeting many great fighters, my teacher Shoshu Shigeru Oyama being one of them. What I have come to recognize in all of them, outside of the competition arena, is the incredible amount of humbleness, humility and compassion that they possess, far greater than most. I could only hope that all of humanity had this level of confidence and compassion combined.


Sensei Jim


21st Century Skills Addressed: Teamwork, Leadership

H.E.A.R.T. — Martial Arts — We're Fighting To Make A Difference!

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