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"One thing has always been true: That book ... or ... that person who can give me an idea or a new slant on an old idea is my friend." - Louis L'Amour

"Ideally, your self-defense will never get physical. Avoiding the situation and running or talking you way out - either of these is a higher order of strategy than winning a physical battle." - Wise Words of Rory Miller, Facing Violence: Chapter 7: after, subparagraph 7.1:medical

"Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider..." - Francis Bacon

Warning, Caveat and Note: The postings on this blog are my interpretation of readings, studies and experiences therefore errors and omissions are mine and mine alone. The content surrounding the extracts of books, see bibliography on this blog site, are also mine and mine alone therefore errors and omissions are also mine and mine alone and therefore why I highly recommended one read, study, research and fact find the material for clarity. My effort here is self-clarity toward a fuller understanding of the subject matter. See the bibliography for information on the books.

Note: I will endevor to provide a bibliography and italicize any direct quotes from the materials I use for this blog. If there are mistakes, errors, and/or omissions, I take full responsibility for them as they are mine and mine alone. If you find any mistakes, errors, and/or omissions please comment and let me know along with the correct information and/or sources.

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How do you control practitioners in kumite?

First, it is natural for many to get involved to a point where they tend to lose a bit of the control necessary for safety. It becomes an issue many times simply because you want to get them as close to the line of reality without losing it to the point where injuries are frequent and serious. Remember, not that you really need reminding, that martial arts are contact systems with the goal of defense meaning violent encounters - when things fail of course like avoidance and deescalation, etc.

I can only provide my thoughts and theories on the matter of kumite or sparring. It is my intent to provide a practitioner a fundamental foundation of knowledge, technique and limited controlled experience before allowing them to free form fight.

I tend to want their fundamental principles of martial systems solid along with the basic waza and at least a solid understanding of one kata. This is the core, the foundation and the book of techniques or the tool box they must draw from to make karate techniques work.

Second, this is often done gradually and slowing and without real power in a step-by-step form. Like one-step, two-step, three-step practice where all the techniques and responses are set for the practice session. As they become familiar and at ease with what they are applying then you begin to ramp up the speed and power while keeping it under control. This is a dangerous part simply because most have no clue as to how much power the human body can apply without actually understanding or knowing anything - Sensei or Senpai must remain diligent and in control.

This is how they learn control and teach their mind consciously their power and the levels of power they can control and apply depending on the waza applied.

Only when they have acquired a modicum of natural ability in this do you allow a bit of spontaneity into the picture. Then you allow the tori to shift the techniques out of alignment with the predefined one, two or three-step model. This should get the practitioner to think - thinking in practice is important for to think here means you won't think in the fight - hopefully, if all goes well.

Lets, skip ahead to the free form sparring/kumite. When a bit of spontaneity is acquired with adequate results you can either continue to add predefined and spontaneity to the mixture or you can move slowly and deliberately into the free form stuff.

When you move them into free form sparring where anything goes, to a point, then you have to ramp it back DOWN to slow and no power or speed. You want them to think, apply and react appropriately. It is important they don't get stuck in one set of combinations. It also requires Sensei or Senpai to remain diligently observant or involved directly in this stage. It is too easy to get excited at this point and move to fast into sloppy stuff - avoid this at all costs.

As they slowly dance through attacks and defenses they can see, hear and feel how it works and then work out mistakes and variations that adjust the waza, kata and bunkai into a form that fits their bodies, minds and spirits - it allows proper encoding into the mind as well.

As they get into it and become proficient then begin to slowly and methodically ramp up the speed, power and most important CONTROL. Often when these steps, i.e. what is posted here is not all inclusive of what needs to happen, are lost due to excitement and motivation things get sloppy and bad habits form.

Lets skip ahead once again. When they get to the point where they can apply a variety of waza in a variety of situations, scenario's and partners and speed and power are controlled to the very limits possible then we must move into a more reality based set of scenario's where we add in more in-depth aspects necessary to have confidence and ability if one were to encounter conflicts.

Note: we are assuming that all the knowledge on violence, avoidance, deescalation, awareness, legal and psychological considerations are covered and instilled within each practitioner - this is before all the actual contact training starts.

All this instills a sense and conscious awareness of control and how to apply it accordingly, correctly, and with proper spirit to remain within the confines of a safety oriented reality based training system.

Note: if you have someone who seems to need quick self-defense then this system is not for them due to the time needed to make it work. There are methods and systems geared specifically to get one up and running fast and efficiently. It should be noted tho that this quick SD method is not without limitations and restrictions. The main sticking point is that it takes not just that quick training cycle but continued efforts in training to keep it active and effective over time. You can' t just take a class and expect it to work a year later or two or three years later.

Other stuff like stop words or tapping out when taking it to the limits may be necessary as well but all the safety stuff is basics as well and remember that safety are rules and in a fight or violent encounters those rules could result in hesitation or freezes so prepare for this as well.

Sadly, there are no quick and easy answers. As can be seen as I add on tidbits it is very involved and needs due diligence to gain a modicum of proficiency and then there are no guarantees. Even professionals will tell you that what worked once could not work the next time - beware and aware.

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