Rant on Competition



This time of year is for preparation in our dojo. Our annual tournament is approaching so we focus class time on sparing and kata. I have been working toward getting the kata perfected and committing the movements deep into my muscle memory. Go Pei Sho is my kata this year.

We also have been working on kumite. In our school, we practice continuous sparring kumite without scoring. Also, sparring drills where we work specific techniques back and forth. These are very helpful. We begin to ready ourselves for tournament competition by working on point sparring. The biggest difference to me is pace. In continuous sparring, we tend to wait for a point, circle distance and plan and attack or counter. But in non-continuous sparring, you can’t afford to wait to counter, or spend precious seconds circling to much.

The other day I worked with our Green Belt. We worked point sparring with the intention that there were only ten seconds left. It really helped with focused intensity and aggression. Though I have not been in many tournaments, most of the time, I find that two minute round is over in the blink of an eye. Before you are able to get comfortable, there is only a few seconds left and next point wins.

I find this kind of sparring frustrating. The question I understand it is important to practice techniques against a live opponent. Especially, working the techniques against someone who is trying to keep you from executing them.

What is the point in point sparring? Many karate techniques are too violent to actually execute on another person. Live combat would result in injury or death. But today’s point sparring is not an effective method to rate one skill. It is too subjective in scoring and to safe in combat.


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