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Set sparring is a series of prepared attacks, blocks and counter attacks, with one student facing another. Each student takes turns in performing the attack and defence.
Three step sparring is designed for the beginner to learn the basic techniques. Three step sparring teaches the student many things i.e. proper distance, correct facing, forearm conditioning, correct blocks, correct stance & counter attacks and timing. All attackers start in left walking stance, obverse low section outer forearm block. All defenders start in parallel ready stance.
Attack: Always starting from right leg back low block, then three middle section front obverse punches in walking stance,
Defence: as below, from parallel ready stance
1-4 - May be taught to lower grades, but not required until yellow belt grading (8th Kup to 7th Kup)
5-7 - Green stripe grading (7th-6th Kup)
8-10 - Green belt grading (6th-5th Kup)
This form of sparring is designed as a step forward from basic three step sparring. It involves three consecutive attacks (hand or feet) and three blocks or evasions, plus a counter attack. Three step semi-free sparring should not be hurried, the secret is reaction force and quick, intelligent movements. This is where the true art of sparring is learnt.
Attacking students start in L stance guarding block.
Defending students start in parallel stance.
Basic (6th Kups) -
Attacks - any three kicks, in any order, from the choice of front snap kick, side kick, turning kick.
Defence - any appropriate blocks.
Counter - middle section front punch only
Intermediate (5th Kups)-
Attacks - any three kicks, in any order, from the choice of front snap kick, side kick, turning kick, reverse side kick.
Defence - any appropriate blocks.
Counter - any hand counter attack
Advanced (4th Kup and Above)-
Attacks - any three attacks, hand or foot, but must be from rear foot or rear hand.
Defence - any appropriate blocks.
Counter - any hand or foot counterattack or short combination. Jumping techniques allowed in counter (not in main attack)
Two step sparring is designed for the intermediate student to learn more advanced techniques, also using the same timing and distance as in three step sparring, but with more varied attacks, thus also allowing the attacking student to develop various combinations. All attackers start in right L stance, forearm guarding block. All defenders start in parallel ready stance
1-3 - Blue Stripe grading (5th-4th Kup)
4-6 - Blue Belt grading (4th-3rd Kup)
1-8 = Red Stripe Grading (3rd-2nd Kup)
Two step sparring (basic or advanced) may also be tested in all your subsequent gradings, so should not be forgotten once the grading for which it was practiced has passed.
One step sparring is the most realistic form of sparring there is, simply because the defender cannot foresee the attack coming. Therefore, the defender must have very fast reflexes, in order to defend and defeat the opponent. This form of sparring is completely different to free sparring. i.e. take down techniques, arm locks, joint breaking techniques etc., may be practiced (black belt level only)
Both students normally begin in parallel stance and attack with a middle section obverse punch in walking stance, but this may be varied at the Instructors' discretion. Takedowns, locks and restraints are not permitted at colour belt gradings. Combinations may be used on the counterattack, but should be kept short and believable.
Unrealistic, overly flashy techniques should be avoided. Concentration should be applied on correct distancing and aim and powerful, realistic techniques and stances and reaction hands should not be forgotten.
ONE FOR ONE SPARRING
This is mainly used for stamina training between intermediate and advanced students. Both students start in fighting position and when the command is given, one student will start with one technique, as soon as his technique is over, the other student attacks immediately, and so on. Because this is a stamina exercise, it does not mean that techniques should be sloppy, they should be crisp and well executed
FREE SPARRING (JAYOO MATSOKI)
Free sparring is basically putting what has been learnt so far into practice, with no pre-warning of attack. Therefore, not as many defending techniques can be practiced as in the other forms of sparring. Free sparring can be practiced with no pads and should be strictly non-contact.
Semi contact sparring is allowed only with adequate protection (i.e. safety boots and gloves etc). This type of sparring must only be carried out under strict supervision of a qualified Instructor.
TOURNAMENT FREE SPARRING
Free sparring In Tae Kwon-Do could be said to be a combination of all the different types of sparring that a student has previously experienced e.g. 3 step sparring, semi-free sparring and so on.
To be a competent tournament sparring exponent certain skills have to be developed such as speed, timing, stamina, balance and flexibility
All these attributes must be used together as one unit. Probably the most important attribute for the student who wishes to enter competitions to possess is stamina. This must be worked on continuously using a variety of exercises over a long period of time, not just days or weeks, but months at a time.
Most students when they free spar see it totally as a means of attacking an opponent with certain techniques; what many students forget is that defensive movements, learnt in earlier types of sparring and basic movements should be utilised and are just as, if not more, important than attacking movements.
Even when all the skills have developed it still does not guarantee success - as with most things there is no substitute for experience.
Tournament sparring in Tae kwon-Do must be seen purely as the sport side of the Art and must not be confused with self defence. It is a completely separate concept and must be learnt and approached in a totally different manner.
In tournament sparring, you are aiming to score points by making light contact to the head and body. A referee and umpires will monitor and regulate the fight and you will score more points for kicks to the head than to the body.
GRADING/DOJANG FREE SPARRING
In grading/dojang sparring, there is no referee but the fight is still supervised by the instructor to ensure control is maintained.
In this style of sparring, which is normally non-contact or with strictly controlled contact if protective sparring equipment is worn, the emphasis is not on scoring points but in demonstrating your skill at blocking and guarding as much as attacking.
In a grading, you are likely to have several short fights in a row without a substantial break, so stamina is also measured.
Self defence is a completely different style of fighting. In self defence your aim is to prevent yourself from being attacked further and to enable yourself to escape quickly. In self defence, attacks below the belt are usable where practical and you may incorporate techniques such as throws, grabs and restraints that you might not normally utilise in your normal tae kwon-do training.
Flashy kicks that may look impressive at a demonstration are unlikely to be your first choice in a self defence situation. It is also important to take time to familiarise yourself with the law on reasonable force in self defence. The level of force you use has to be proportionate to the perceived threat, so beating someone to the ground because he pushed you once may not be considered reasonable.
Remember that in a threatening situation, your hands and feet are not necessarily your first weapons of choice - try to resolve the situation with your mouth and brain first. Violence must only be a last resort.