Sparring in martial arts is limited by two major factors – safety and sporting rules. Having rules for safety makes perfect sense, most martial artists need to go to work or school the next day without having to carry injuries and be black and blue. However, the more rules there are for sporting reasons, the more stylised and frequently fantastical a martial art becomes. If you are purely treating your martial art as a sport this is perfectly fine, but when the sporting rules make the way you spar so stylised that it becomes unrealistic for self-defence then you are probably conditioning yourself to have bad habits that will fail you if you ever need to rely on your art to defend yourself.
While Shinkyu Martial Arts does run tournaments our sparring rules are not designed for competition they are, first and foremost, designed to maintain a safe sparring environment while developing realistic skills. We have 3 levels of sparring that gradually increases the levels of confidence of participants while simultaneously building on competency in increasing broader ranges of skills, while also gradually increasing realism.
These levels are:
Non-contact points – Essentially this is an introductory level of sparring for developing control and familiarity with basic attack and defence.
Continuous – A significant step up from points sparring, continuous broadens the range of legal techniques significantly. But most importantly the continuous action prepares students for the reality of self-defence and fighting. Combat students will start to learn this even from beginner levels.
Free fighting – Free Fighting is the final level which is designed to simulate self-defence. This is only performed by experienced, advanced students.