In this blog post, we will address some of the how and why of sparring.
The Importance of Sparring
Sparring is an important part of our Filipino Martial Arts program for anyone who wants to truly develop the skill to wield a stick like a swordsman. It allows you to test your techniques and tactics against a non-cooperative opponent, and develops attributes needed for combat not possible with other forms of training.
We believe that engaging in the friendly rivalry of free sparring encourages the development of courage, resourcefulness, resilience, and self-discipline. Healthy competition inculcates a sense of fair play and justice, determination and camaraderie. These qualities help individuals to be winners in life, not just in the combat realm. Eskrimadors learn to overcome and win not only against an opponent, but also themselves, their weaknesses and fears, ultimately realising their full potential. The study and practice of Filipino Martial Arts can help bring balance and harmony to one's life, and taught in an environment of mutual respect, builds a sense of honour, discipline, and purpose.
How to Spar Effectively (Thornton 2018)
NEVER SPAR ROUGH: Don't hit harder than necessary, strike out after you've clearly lost an exchange, or strike parts of the body where you are likely to cause injury, etc. These things won't help your Eskrima grow, and they won't encourage people to train with you.
ALWAYS SPAR HONEST: If you and your opponent agree to spar light, then don't blast out of the box striking them like you are in a major tournament. It's ok to spar light so long as you don't switch gears the moment you find yourself at a disadvantage. Likewise it is ok to spar hard (not rough) if that is what you and your partner have agreed before the bout started, but it's not ok to fight like a madman at one moment and completely give up the next.
All participants must wear a fencing mask and hockey gloves
Chest protection, groin guards and mouthguards optional
Additional armour around the joints may be worn for any sparring but are required for rattan stick sparring
Padded sticks, pool noodles, latex swords, rubber knives, or thi