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Guest Post: Fighting and Sparring


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five comments


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I talked with some people in college about this. The difference between sex and rape is consent. The difference between fighting and sparring is the same. Essentially sparring in consensual warfare.


sounds like you need to learn some grappling, and it sounds like he was a wrestler. with some good submission work (jiu jitsu) you might have been able to put him to sleep. I’ve done mma for a few years now, and, while it’s hardly perfect for a streetfight, it’s the best training you can do in the unfortunate circumstance of defending yourself. that said, it doesn’t sound like you did anything to de-escalate the situation.

I’ve been reading this blog for a little bit, and I’m very interested in the perspectives you all have. I’m just finishing a semester on “ethnic” violence at my university, and so this blog particularly struck me.

I’d particularly like to recommend to you my professor’s book “Extreme Politics” by Charles King. It’s chapter, “the micropolitics of social violence” is very elucidating, and i think might help with your articles. (you can actually find the chapter on jstor.org). it’s an easy read, but very informative.

Also, the site http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/ has some interesting insight on the nature of violence. random site, i know, but it’s interesting. I plan on making more comments soon and, if possible, maybe even a guest post of my own, if you would take a look at it.

Thanks, hope to hear from the writers.


Tae Kwon Do sparring (in competitions anyways, though individual schools may focus more on self defense) is really restrictive. You generally don´t get points for punches, punches to the face are prohibited, kicks are supposed to be above the belt, of course no clinching or groundfighting is allowed and in Tae Kwon Do a hard block is generally preferred over a parry. Tae Kwon Do is more on the art side of martial arts, although it is extremely competitive, athletic, and can be brutal as well. It has set rules and boundaries just as boxing, albeit it is a little bit less brutal than boxing. A spinning hook kick is the best and most powerful weapon in Tae Kwon Do and works well in the ring but could land you in trouble on the street.

I remember the first fight I was in in school, it was a normal highschool hallfight I had with a bully but I remember a clear thought running through my head as the fight began: “No one is innocent here, we both chose to get into this fight, and we both deserve whatever bad stuff is going to happen to us”.


@ Chris M – Love to hear from new people. I don’t have access to jstor right now, but I’ll keep that chapter in mind. it sounds fascinating.

I’ve seen a lot of good links today. The no-nonsense website is an interesting find. One of the first pages I went to, the author described getting shot at dozens of times, which makes me question his ability to avoid fire fights, but something I’ll check out.


The taekwondo forms have series of one, two and three step sequences that are designed for fighting. These fast take downs using strikes are brutal so you have to think twice about using them… the aggressor could be disfigured and maybe permanently damaged.

But in high-school the normal competitive development of youngsters moves them towards doing more free form sparring which is designed to enhance quickness and reaction times and not necessarily self defense. Free form sparring can also be practiced as a sport with scores, etc. there fore its popularity among the youth. But it is really an exercise and not an end to itself.

I am not sold on MMA as a self defense because it is primarily a sport and lacks the elements of brutality that are necessary for a realistic self defense system. But understand that almost all martial arts are moving in the direction of becoming sports including such unlikely candidates as the weapon arts from the Philippines. So that feature is here to stay… over time they might all develop just like fencing has… into modern fitness sports rooted in what was once a martial art.