Sparring, Hitting and Getting Hit

We had some sparring in class this past Sunday.  We do it every few sessions.  I believe in regular sparring, but since I’m not training professional fighters, we don’t have to go paranoid crazy at it.

We took some hits, but I don’t think anybody was willingly giving up some hits to take any.  As an instructor, it’s one of my biases, don’t get hit. I don’t training you to get hit and get hurt.

Stylistically, as a matter of personal martial arts development I’ve always sought to be a “finesse” guy, to work smarter not harder, and to be efficient in use of my strength and energy. Not looking to impress others with how much hurt I can take.  No doubt brute force is a great quality too, and I’ve used that as well, but finesse is my tendency.  And it’s where I bias my coaching.

So we trained sparring and strategies.  Staying “in the pocket.”   Staying “in the pocket”without getting hit, is a skill that takes training, practice and intuitional development, with maybe just a couple of hits along the way.  Floyd Mayweather has that skill set.

I just watched the Mayweather-Guerrero fight.   Mayweather, at 36 years old is consideredold in boxing, but, is quoting his dad as “the less you get hit, the longer your career,” in regard to claims that he doesn’t go “toe to toe” or just stand there and trade punching.  Guess what? As I’ve gotten older, that’s become even more important to me.   Even if fighting isn’t your “career, it’s still true; the less you get hit, the longer your career, the longer you maintain good physical health, mental health, and well being.  I never cared for some martial artists philosophy of “I’m WILLING to take one to give one” when it came to sparring and fighting.   You may have to, but I don’t think willingness is the right predisposition.

English: Floyd Mayweather, Jr. vs. Juan Manuel...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yeah, I understand that sometimes it’s about taking a risk, but there’s a difference between a reckless risk and a calculated risk.  Just like there’s a difference between an “opinion,” and an “informed opinion.”

I’d rather my students be the hitter or “feeder” rather than receivers.

Today, I repeated to the class that anything I tell or teach them is only 50% true.

What?  Not that I’ll lie to them, but that life, the universe, fighting, are so fluid and wavelike, that the opposite can be true at any point.  Only they, in the moment, combining experience, intelligence, training, and sensitivity, can know the significant truth at the time.

And that brings us back to “finesse.”  My ideal “fight” is a couple of finishing blows to the opponent, without breaking a sweat or getting hit.  I’ve always wanted to be slick with movement, variety of technique, and fine tuned motor skills.  However, I’ve seen “run’em over” brute force methodologies.  You can finesse a brute, brute a brute, brute a finesse opponent, and finesse a finnesser.  But, who wants to be in a “war” or barely surviving, scarred and damaged, umm, not me. Contrast can be a significant advantage to those who know how to use it.

Finesse and brutishness are two sides of the same coin.  They should be included in that saying about there being a time for every season under heaven.  You should train both, unafraid to discover and acknowledge your preference due to experience, body particulars, or karma.

Knowing both sides will help you ride the fluid wave of a fight or self defense situation.

Contact us for more information about our Kali Silat and Self Defense Training Group in Debary, Fl.


Well Being

Mackay Beauty

Mackay Beauty (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How we define living well is a first step to better living, and understanding that living is an active verb is an important part of that.  Physics gives us the understanding that everything at the atomic level is in motion, and vibrating.  By extension, all existence, all of life, is constantly in this vibrating motion, and therefore in a state of continual change.

The pace of this change may be slow or faster, and often it seems sudden, but it’s been in process all the while.  This is especially noticeable when we go from what we consider doing well, to misfortune of any kind like financial, physical, or psychological.  We generally call those things a loss, because it is related to losing our being well, loss of health, loss of money, loss of peace and calmness, loss of harmony.   That throws us out of whack because our innate desire in life is to live well, and we want to get back to that as soon as possible.

Our values and thought systems direct our actions in dealing with unpleasant changes, and how to navigate back to well being.  We are not born with a life manual or easy indexed reference guide, and our knowledge at any one time is limited, so we experiment arbitrarily, or we seek the insight and example of those who have navigated these changes successfully.  It happens on many levels.  Sometimes it’s a mechanical fix, like your car engine shut down, and all you need to do is change the oil, or a belt.  Maybe it’s an environmental fix; it’s cold outside, and putting a jacket on returns your sense of well being.

But often the necessary fix is internal, and may not be achievable to the original degree.  This is where some people compound their loss, increase pain, and fall short of returning to any semblance of well being, by kind of shooting themselves in the foot.  Rather than accept incremental steps on the way back to well being, they take an “all, or nothing at all” stance.

On the physical passing of a loved one for example, the pain of loss is extended when you cannot transcend the single thought that you “just want him back.”   Demanding that as the fix for your well being is impractical.  The emotional and psychological drives within would like that, but that’s not going to happen in a single miraculous sweep.  Being complex creatures, the answers to these situations, the path to returning to well being, is not the broad and gross singular action we’d like.

But incrementally, we can grieve freely, recognize that by our desire they’d still be enjoying life, know that we can summon their presence by memory at will, and step in the direction of our own well being one step at a time.

Well being often relies on our approach to it, turning in its direction, taking little steps towards it, not standing in the place of pain and calling well being to come to you.

Do you believe you need to participate in your own well being?  How much do you participate?  Take your vitamins, think some scenarios through beforehand, study wisdom teachings, try to help guide others to well being when they are standing in pain, change the oil in your car regularly, recognize that change is inevitable in finances, health, relationships, and machinery.  Make your values and thought systems effective guides to your well being, realizing they may need to direct many elements at once.

Be well.