James Wilson wrote:
Edward Im very interested in your statement that you train "with full intent and honesty". What is your intent when you attack then? To kill or maim your opponent? To touch him? What do you mean by this "full intent". In randori, it is very easy for uke to have "full intent" to tag tori with the tanto and very easy for him to also have "full intent" to stay upright and I think sport furthers both these intents.
Why do you not believe in sparring?
And what is the relevance of the karate and taekwondo teachers who do not spar?
What I meant is that I attack with the intention to hit. Some Nage attacks stop at the surface, but I usually aim about 20 cm inside Nage for a Tsuki, and with a Shomen Uchi I aim to cut the opponent from the head down to his stomach. I also aim at where Nage is, not where I know he will move. I try to use as much intensity as possible, probably 50% of full power, otherwise I wouldn't last till the end of the session. Doing this makes aikido techniques work better because I genuinely loose my balance when Nage goes out of the way. I don't believe that one can genuinely strike and not loose balance because one expects the resistance of a hard object, flesh and bones, and if this resistance is not encountered one has to loose balance.
I do not believe in sparring as a learning tool out of experience. I used to practice Judo and being faced with another Judoka who knows exactly what I would and would not do nullifies both partis and makes it very difficult to apply any technique successfully without resorting to some strategy of faints and half-techniques before applying the real one. After a while it becomes second-nature and it becomes very difficult to let go of the bad habits acquired in sparring.
The street environment is different in the sense that there might be one or more opponents, you don't know what they will do and they don't either. If they don't know you personally they would usually assume you don't know how to defend yourself (the thug mentality) of course if you don't warn them by showing them some funny MA stances like they usually do in the movies.
That's why I believe that the artificial environment of sparring can be misleading as it does not recreate a street fight environment, and of course as mentioned sparring distorts your techniques as you try to adapt them to work on opponents from the same art.
Hence the example of the non-sparring Karate and TKD classes that I mentioned, to show that some instructors also see the drawbacks of sparring and approach their art as purely "traditional". I've seen their students win (and loose) their compulsory matches in a very pure MA way, because their technique remained clean, not distorted by frequent sparring. By pure I mean no faints and no jabs and no funny stuff, they won almost like performing a Kata or a Kumite, one block, one atemi, match over.