Sunday, April 05, 2009


Bugo Kumite! Once a week or so, for the part few years, I have been trying to learn to spar. This weekend, there weren't many people in class so there was an unencumbered view by the spectators. I handed the camera to a spectator (actually, someone's ten year old son) and asked him to film my first four matches. Since the numbers were odd today, I sparred four matches in a row with only thirty second breaks. I'm trying to pace myself but frankly, you can see me getting it exhausted. Osu!

An Amazing Motivational and Analytical Tool - These videos are  really a big deal for me to watch. Like a good optical illusion, I can choose what to see. I can either watch how bad I am how much I have to improve.  It's very humbling. Or, I can watch how much I've learned in the last few years. I find that each perspective has its value and is motivating. In any case, here are the videos, unedited. And here a my observations. Please share your own.

1. My arm speed is really really slow. That's my new number one goal. Faster arms. I think I can achieve this through just focusing on speed and snapping my punches. I'll shadow box, do some bag work, and mostly, repeat it to myself as I start each punches, fast punches, fast punches...
2. I need to refine my kicking form so that my roundhouses snap out and back a lot faster. I think my stance is so too wide which makes the roundhouses slow.
3. Get my hands up a little higher when I get in close.
4. More cardio and power. In both cases, I'm limited by my constrained training schedule.
5. Footwork. I should bounce less and do more of a muy thai march or a classic boxing front-back shift.
6. My cross is underwhelming. There's no real body or hip rotation behind it, I lean across in a awkward vulnerable way, and instead of lowering my level with my knees, I appear to be bending at the waist. Sloppy.

With all that said, I'm having fun and making progress. At times, my front kick is camouflaged and effective although I sometimes signal it by dipping my hands. I often parry comfortably and I'm learning to trust my defense. I'm quick on my feet backing up although I should be spiraling a little out rather than going straight back. My chin isn't tucked enough and my hands often aren't high enough but they're much better than awhile ago.

PS - I'm the one in sleeveless Tshirt, black gloves, more bounce than march

Want to see more sparing?
Sparing July 2009 with Mr Vince and with Norm. Watch both of them kick me in the head!
Bugo Kumite with Carlos and others
Reflections from years ago (no videos) on sparing



Training partner said...

john. You are too hard on yourself. I've watched your four matches. You are solid and consistent. Very controlled. Two basics that you might want to pay attention to:

- Circling to your right, not your left. Mostly, you are circling into your partner's power side. Particularly when they're coming in and you are defending, you want to shuffle to your right to get away from their power side. Get outside of their jab.

- Using the hook. You have long arms. People for years have used the hook. You should try it. Particularly with the left.

BBat50 said...

Heh. Thanks. I think. The circling comment is dead-on. Tomorrow is Saturday. I will have my hands up. I will circle to my right.

The hook is another question. My hook is like my backhand in tennis: the best thing that I can say is that it needs work.