Pressure Tests or Sparring / Boaz Aviram

Don't fool yourself. Pressure test are sort of vanilla substitute for real training. It is designed to give students the joy of playing combat safe. Yes, it can be used to bring students to a state of heightened awareness forcing them to try and think rationally and plan their plight against multiple opponents. 

In the secret service, and other security organization they run similar drills how to run through the crowd to reach your target. But apparently most Krav Maga Organizations do not make much difference between all of the above purposes and differences in mindset and proper way of drilling objectives. So Pressure Tests had become simply put joy ride! 

What is the Role of the Sparring Drills, why it is of the ultimate Importance in Teaching Self Defense, Why most Krav Maga Organizations are not Doing it or not doing it right, and How should it be done right... 

Sparring is the ultimate test not only for the instructor to know that his student is ready to defend himself/herself, but most important for the student to feel confident to face the most fearful possible future events. In safe sparring you try to reach your opponent's pressure points and control him first.  It can be done from safe non contact to semi contact up to full knockout.

However as safe as it is, yet forcing at least one training partner to stay away from sparring for three months if knocked out, still the knockout method of sparring is irrational for self defense.  While you can easily tear someone's knee cartilage with one side kick and put him out of training for at least a year, it makes no sense to knockout your training partner instead.  Instead, In Pure Krav Maga Sparring you use breakeven points of controls through impact and push and pull.

In Many Full Contact Sparring, combination of attacks let the fighters try to distract and incrementally adjust the dose of the knock out without reaching the killing dose. Many times the stronger guy is more careful to apply too much force on his first opportunity. Then his opponent takes advantage of it and at his first opportunity tries strikes with more force than the other and then succeeding in knocking him out.

Sparring is the final tool to drill
synchronization of your body ability to execute what is programmed in your brain and ensure everything is stored in our brain in the proper way ready to be used.  Therefore, instead of it becoming an ego contest with the fear of loss, there has to be heightened trust developed quickly between the students themselves and the students and the instructor to perform these drills.  All need to carefully understand how to synchronize the fast pace hot zone navigation drill reaching each other pressure points within splits of a second, and gaining control of each other as they learn from mistakes quickly, and feel safe to keep trying and learn more using sufficient force to stop an attack on the spot, yet not injuring their opponent.  The opponent has to respect that and not try to retaliate with greater force.  In some special cases, for training partners that care about their egos more than their training partner's safety, there is time for a knockout!

Instead of doing thousands of pressure tests where most of the learning experience is lost due to the social fun of the game, few sparring can make a big difference. 

What are the reasons that most organization do no teach sparring. 

-Fear to lose the crowd of the fitness students 

-Fear to lose the crowd of the Dental Investments 

-Fear of students getting hurt and possible bad reputation, possible law suits 

-Fear of student getting killed in sparring 

-Having no clue what they are doing how to teach self defense, how to teach sparring 

-Mixed crowds of new students coming in forcing the class level to adjust to keep interest of the new students. 

-Mixed Crowd in classes for students that are ready for sparring and students that are not 

Most Martial Arts have sort of sparring games. Some are at the very basic level of executing techniques close to a training partners, some of trying to synchronize selected techniques and counters. 

Many Impact Martial Arts practice punching and kicking on training mitts, punching bags, wooden dummies, and other training devices, and breaking boards and bricks. Grappling Martial Arts do spar as well. So the weapon martial arts have sparring drills of either choreographed moved or slow motion free attack and counter. Some like Kendo have real trying to hit the opponent with a softened training stick wearing body and head armor gear. 

The myriad of techniques and principles need to be taught with a prioritization principle that simplified the process of selection and matching principles and techniques for the unfolding challenges. 

The safety control method must maintain realistic elements of distance and pressure point reach and control under the constraint of the human reaction time. 

Principles and Techniques of generating Impact, and leverage on hard and soft pressure points in all possible combat range including the arrival by lunging rolling jumping of falling must be taught prior to sparring to ensure sparring does not become a pillow hitting match. 

Sparring must be taught in such a way that the breakeven point between deadly force and safety is maintained during sparring. 

The realistic speed of the impact and push and pull need to be maintained during sparring. 

The major difference between Self Defense Sparring and Sports Sparring is that in self defense sparring every time you lunge into the hotzone or find yourself in it as your opponent does so first it represents one "fight" that needed to be immediately handled with controlled attack or defense with counter attack. 

Remember that one stab, one cut, one single Punch Death, one windpipe choke, one fall on the back of the neck can be deadly. It takes a few splits of a second for each. Keep sparing real! 

Watch Pure Krav Maga Sparring Drills Youtube Video 
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