Justin Smith wrote:
I have no personal empirical evidence that if I crash my car I will get injured, but I understand based on physics and experiences of others what will happen if I crash my car.
Similarly, I can understand body mechanics and look at the experiences of others who have successfully applied their martial arts in real life, even if I haven't been in a real fight, and if I don't train in an MMA gym.
Are martial artists that practice with wooden swords really unable to *really* get it because they don't practice with live swords full contact? I don't believe so.
To play devil's advocate, one could also say that MMA folk are in "hypothetical situations" since they typically fight with dozens of rules and in a padded environment. Fighting with high levels of resistance and contact doesn't change that.
Yes you can say, look, this guy punched this guy in the face and knocked him out. Punching works. But at the same time you are not accounting for the differences between yourself and the guy who threw that punch. Its about personal experiance. Without sparing all you know is what other people tell you to do and what other people tell you people react like. You actually have no idea what will actually happen. You tipically find out that 90% of the people out there never respond like you are told they will. People do crazy things and learning to adapt on the fly can't be learned though kata. Its a physical action that requires training.
Here is my thinking on this. I see lots of people talk about how sparing does not help you learn to use your art. I see lots of people talk about how sport fighting does not prepare you for the street. But I have never seen one person tell me how not sparing and not sport fighting helps you get better prepared.
Also, it has been my experiance that the quality of the actually martial artists vary wildly outside of the sport fighting circles. I have met many black belts in a wide varitey of arts. If I grab 10 aikido black belts and we look at their skill levels, we will find them wildly different. Some of them will be 100% unable to use any aikido against me. Some will be able to defeat me without effort. Now lets grab a sample of competition judo black belts. I would say you will find them all of similar skill. Sure they will each have their favorite throws they use and their own strategys. But I would be willing to bet the majority of them would destroy me without any effort. This is because they have actual experiance in how people react to what they are trying to do. Yes, judo competition is very restricted rules. It is nothing even close to a fight. But the active resistance allows them to adapt faster and get used to all the little things that make the technqiue work that you are never taught.
Learning though doing is accepted as the best way to learn anything except for in the realm of martial arts. Without it you are missing a vital experiance. Especially if you want to be able to use your art against a person who doesn't not want you too. I just can't comprehend how people can say sparing has so little benifit that its not worth doing. I can find no disadvantages to sparing. I can find disadvantages to not sparing.