Sparring

“The more comprehensive and realistic your training is, the better you will perform in actual combat because conditioned responses can help you counteract, or at least work through, the effects of adrenaline.  Conversely, the more stressed you are through exertion, fear, or desperation, the harder it is to perform…” – Rory Miller

If you don’t apply you’re learned skills, you can not expect to pull them off in real-time, it’s as simple as that.  Sparring and application are a necessity in becoming effective at self defense and combat.  It serves as a laboratory to see what works and what doesn’t.  It provides insight and some clarity to the nuances of violent encounters.  Such as:

*What strikes and holds work against one body-type but not an other.
*How size/strength/age aren’t always the dominant variables in facing an opponent.
*Ranging/timing, figuring out how you strike and not get hit using multiple weapons with multiple reach lengths…

The intensity and duration is dependent on you, it’s all about what’s comfortable.

GEARING UP

Beginning
When first starting out, more often than not, you’re going to want to use the most amount of protection until you become more acclimated to contact and obtain more pain tolerance.  Here is the recommended gear list for the novice practitioner:

*Fencing Mask
*Gloves (Hockey or Lacrosse variety)
*Elbow Pads (Lacrosse variety)
*Knee Pads (Lacrosse variety)
*Neck Guard (Hockey variety)
*Mouthguard
*Cup

Intermediate
As you’ve become more experienced, may have a Dog Brothers rank, and feeling more comfortable with your style and limitations, you notice that you’ll have a greater advantage by losing some of the aforementioned gear.

Advanced
You’re a seasoned/veteran fighter.  At this point you’re probably a full Dog Brother or very near becoming one.  You’ve established your skill and know how to handle yourself.  The knowledge that you seek now is to push limits and establish the most realistic scenarios you can.  In doing so, you must shed protection to keep you honest and allow yourself to grow…within reason, we all have to work the next day!