10 GOOD reasons to spar!

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10 GOOD reasons to spar!

Postby gjkhoury » Mon Apr 05, 1999 11:03 pm

Folks, I recognize that my name does not carry the weight of the top Uechi Masters. If you will give me a moment to pontificate, however, I would like to make a case for Uechi-ryu, rather than myself.

10 reasons why we MUST spar for the future of Uechi-ryu:

1.) We must spar because as traditional Uechi-ka it is our heritage to spar! Just take a look at our own All-Okinawan Championships! More than 20 years of tradition that we as Westerners have abandoned! (By the way guys and gals, that's POINT sparring with a capital "P" for you naysayers!)

2.) You are all "sparring" to some degree already! Why is it that we all faithfully dedicate oursleves to the Yakusoku Kyu and Dan kumites, but stop just short of the next level of training, which is Jiyu kumite, or free sparring?

3.) It's all we got, baby! Everyone tries to make arguments against sparring by stating the obvious fact that it's not "real" fighting. Well, friends, it's as real as we got, isn't it? Or maybe you think the conditioning drills we all robotically engage in night after night will prepare you for that mugger in the street? No? Oh, you must be boning up for your next gang fight with an extra Seisan a night -- maybe two?! Good for you! Or should I say "Good LUCK" for you?

4.) It's required curriculum in every dojo I've ever known! Van-sensei said it himself: Why kill ourselves trying to perfect Seisan bunkai for our Dan tests, but opt to do the "funky chicken" when we spar? Personally, I'll take the moving skills, thank you. Ideally, we'll all strive to be good at both.

5.) You've got to "put it on the line". Talk as you like about your spiritual approach to training. Fact is, we practice a MARTIAL art. You want spirituality? FORGE your spirit in hell's fire! I never would have had the kind of emotional gut checks or internal personal advancements I've made UNTIL I stood in front of the likes of a Mike Rozumek, a Tracy Rose, a Jimmy Deluca, a Kazuo Takara! Challenge yourselves! Find a Black Belt, find a training partner, find a Tourny! Let's GET IT ON!!

6.) You should strive to develop all aspects of your martial practice. Free fighting is part of this TOO!

7.) You are not too old for, too disinterested in, or too far above sparring. I've heard these and a thousand excuses like these in the past 5 years. All they add up to is a pile of horse****. Do a gut check, get your gi on and train!

8.) It's good for your dojo! I stand in direct opposition to those dojo owners and others who say that sparring scares students away! Poppycock! What do you think is scarier? Sparring under the watchful eye of your trusted sensei or being mugged by a group of thugs? People are afraid. That's why they're at your dojo. Don't cloud their perception with smoke and mirrors, give them what they want: the self-confidence that comes from knowing that they can handle themselves! They can get that sparring.

9.) It's NOT too hard to teach (safely)! Get a video, get a lesson, get a guest instructor, but get going! With today's access to information, don't let your shortcomings become your students'! At my dojo I have a "guest" grappling, weapons, and healing arts instructor, and I regularly invite JKD, Tae Kwon Do and other experts in as well. Why? Cuz' I don't know it all, folks. I'm not afraid of it all either!

10.) It will ALWAYS be the most memorable part of your/your student's practice in the end. (Don't BS me and say, "Yeah, how will they ever forget a broken nose?!") Sparring's a rough game. So isn't life! Doesn't mean we should shy from it. And when the training or the tourny's done, the sense of comraderie, accomplishment, self-esteem and satisfaction will be so palpable that you will want to do it again and again! I can't remember EVER saying, Bobby remember that kyu kumite we did in '87. . .But you can bet your ass I still talk about that "one that got away", that missed punch that scored kick that championship victory and, yes, that broken nose!

Spar. If you can't I'll show you how. If you can and you don't, shame on you. You are no traditionalist and certainly not a fighting Uechi-ka!

You can take THAT to the bank!

Keep training!

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10 GOOD reasons to spar!

Postby JOHN THURSTON » Mon Apr 05, 1999 11:50 pm


Although I am not a big "tournament" fan. I agree with you and will bend on more efforts to increase sparring time at my Small school.

I am trying to increase general "Chin Na" grappling time as well.

Any thoughts on how to handle older students and the like?


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10 GOOD reasons to spar!

Postby T Rose » Tue Apr 06, 1999 2:42 pm


I couldn't have said it better!! We should plan on getting together (with students) at the next Brockton workout.... wouldn't that rock??

T Rose
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10 GOOD reasons to spar!

Postby gjkhoury » Wed Apr 07, 1999 3:15 am


"Well, I would love to!"

Actually, if I remember correctly, those take place on Fridays? That would be a real stretch for me (we teach 6 classes on Fridays at our school!).

Anything's possible with a little planning, however. Please contact Bob-sensei and make sure it will be OK.

Looking forward to getting on the floor with you again (but not for beating I'm sure will follow!)

Give me a ring!

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10 GOOD reasons to spar!

Postby Van Canna » Wed Apr 07, 1999 5:20 am

Point sparring ,that is , as I have witnessed from the taped Okinawan championships and from the teachings of Gary Khoury !

That is sparring with " terminal velocity " !

1] Free style and street fights are totally different , true , but the type of point sparring that Gary teaches is one of the closest things you will experience to the real thing ! What impressed me is that he keeps the techniques very basic and he discourages turning your back on your adversary !

2] This type of sparring will mold the body into a well oiled machine so it will do what your brain tells it to do automatically and with effective delivery , such as direct perfect , powerfully focused techniques onto your target with the confidence they will stun or disable !

3] It will develop the body's " launch platform" from which to accurately deliver from a balanced position with maximum force !

4] Free fighting , the way I have seen Gary teach it , is the crucible in which the lessons of Uechi -Ryu practice is put to the test ! Will get a chance to learn if the blocks really work under pressing attack , will program effective combinations , hone up accuracy , work on balance in defense/offense , develop a tactical mindset , learn to read the opponent and build the confidence to remain in command , dominance and control under stress !

5] Gary teaches to close your hands in fists so there are no fingers to be broken except when using " seizing" blocks for takedowns ! He teaches the leading hand to be up and closer to the opponent's face which is shot hard to the target in the "forward shuffle" to penetrate the distance ! He does not use the cat stance which reduces mobility and is unstable under rushing attack !

6] Gary teaches the hook kick as the most effective weapon , strongest body technique , coming over the shoulder or around the back of the arm of the opponent who will most likely never see it ! That is how he nailed Myagi -san in the tourney ! { Ouch } !

7] He teaches to look at the ground after a closing combination into the opponent to determine where he is for an effective sweep / take down ! This concept was demonstrated skillfully by the world class competitors on tape !

8] You learn how to close the distance , deliver a devastating blow , or combinations of blows [ the rock ] and get out by shifting and hook kicking on the way back [ the roll ] !

9] you learn to psyche up and use tactical kiais , firing up your resolve ! Bob Spoon does this extremely well and it gains a psychological advantage over the opponent subliminally !

10] There is no leaving the ground and Gary teaches how to set up a trap i.e. , an invitation to attack a certain area triggering a premeditated counter attack !

Once you get fairly proficient with this , then enter the world of Tracy Rose sensei and get high on adrenaline while facing his 280 lb. Bulletman / redman in the armored suit ! Then you will learn much about your body , such as flailing under the mini chemical cocktail and fatigue you will experience in spite of your dan "smugness"

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