A Hazard of Coach-Sparring
When one coach-spars with a non-fighter who is schooled in a martial art, he is inconstant danger of suffering an ego-based injury, while his partner is operating in total safety, safe from all physical injury that is, but highly conditioned by the stilted, scripted version of his art to psychological injury. Just before the injury suffered below [two sprained toes] I said:
“We are sparring, not fighting. This is not a competition. We are working, not scoring. I will move at one fifth speed. Your goal is to defend at the same speed I am moving and to attack and counter at a slower speed. Tap and brush with the stick. This is learning. If you move at full speed I will get hurt. I am rendering myself helpless in a cooperative sense so that you may get onto the learning curve and grow.”
Sure enough, as soon as this bigger, younger, more fit, more skilled man discovered that even though I was moving less than half as fast as him I was outscoring him, he went into ego survival mode, misread my heel step, thought I was shifting back and then darted in like the Green Lantern, sprained my big toe and my first toe ligaments and snapped my first toe before he even knew where our relative positions were. As this happened, which, with street shoes would have resulted in zero injury to me, I struck the finishing blow to his head.
This is common. Earlier this year I received a concussion from a fighter I was tapping because his ego got engaged and he lost his cool in the drill. My brother in law, as he looked on in horror while my sister photographed these toes said, “Why didn’t you drop him?”
Dropping him would have lost a student for my host, would have degraded me by paying back an accident with intent and would have knocked the fighter forever off the learning curve as the session ended badly. He apologized and we continued. All martial artists have been conditioned by our sissy society to see sparring as fighting when fighters see sparring as work. This is due to the semantic game played by karate promoters who seek to avoid paying athletic commission fees by calling their competitions "sparring." People from MMA gyms also have this karate mentality of sparring as combat rather than work, which is why their boxing is so retarded.
Such occurrences are proof that technique training in combat without continuous contact practice [continuity of contact being much more important than level of impact contact] is not only useless but dangerous to the user. In practice I was injured due to the need to go barefoot in the mat, while in a survival situation such an attacker would scuff by boot and die. When this does happen, honestly informing the novice partner can be sobering for him and help in stay on the learning curve. The value of continuity of contact over level of intensity in training is proved by the general superiority of grapplers over strikers in MMA.
What happened was he ran the ball of his foot into my toes, snapping the first toe and spraining the tendons and ligaments. The bleed on the top of the foot is from the burst capsule and ligaments in the toe joint and that below from the torn tendons.
In our world of falsely supported, skill-based ego, which is known to be false in the mind of every deluded student when the fists and sticks and blades come his way, the body of the coach and the mind of the martial artist are both at risk, leaving the coach with the burden of leading by painful example.
Note the wear on the right foot compared to the left foot. The right foot serves as a pivot point in stick fighting and a driver in boxing. I use medicated ointment to minimized the splitting of the calloused skin, which open into bleeding cracks if left untreated.
(c) 2018 James LaFond