Is there sparring in Krav Maga training?
This is a question we get asked a lot, and the short answer is 'yes' we certainly do sparring in our classes here at DDKM.
When people ask us this question they are usually coming from one of two places...
On the one hand, some people are worried or scared about sparring, thinking that it looks too violent or dangerous and they may get hurt or injured.
On the other hand, some people want to spar in their training and are worried that Krav Maga doesn't have sparring, and therefore can't be effective (this seems to be a common misconception about Krav Maga - usually some nonsense about Krav Maga being too dangerous to use in sparring!!).
Both of these concerns usually stem from the simple fact that a lot of people don't understand what sparring really is (and what it's not) and why (if at all) it's important for training Krav Maga, so let's take a look...
Firstly, sparring is NOT fighting. A lot of people mistakenly think that it is - that two people put on gloves and try to knock each other out. Understandably, that puts a lot of people off from wanting to spar. Thankfully that's never the goal in sparring (certainly not here at DDKM).
Secondly, sparring is NOT about simulating or preparing for reality. This is another common misconception but it's completely wrong - sparring is NOTHING like a real fight, and even less like any kind of real-life self-defence situation, so will, in no meaningful way, prepare you to deal with a real attack.
In self-defence we teach students to avoid danger, not get into fights, and if they do end up in a fight to try to finish it quickly in order to escape. So standing toe-to-toe with a training partner and sparring with gloves on for minutes at a time has no bearing on what you should do in a real self-defence situation.
So why do we spar if it's got nothing to do with self-defence?
Sparring is a fantastic training tool for developing, improving, and testing your fighting skills, and fighting skills are a crucial element of any complete self-defence training.
Even though fighting should be avoided at all costs in reality, if all you ever do in training is learn to escape the danger as quickly as possible (which you should), if something goes wrong in reality and you find yourself in a fight you can't avoid or escape from, you'd better have some solid fighting skills - and sparring is one of the best ways to develop those.
So, sparring is a vital part of Krav Maga training.
Here at DDKM, in our 'Foundations Programme' (our mixed level classes) just over one in ten of our scheduled classes is a focussed sparring session, usually looking at just a few specific aspects of fighting, then working them into some live sparring (i.e. breaking down punches, kicks, takedowns, grappling etc.).
In our 'Progressions Programme' (our intermediate classes) we do sparring much more often and involve more free-style sparring, including standing, ground-fighting, multiple opponents, and weapons.
As with everything we do in class, safety is always the top priority, and so all sparring is done in a safe way which is appropriate for the level of the student.
And best of all it's great fun - and a chance to really feel that you're improving and able to put what you've been learning into a dynamic context with a 'live' resisting opponent.
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