Jun 3, 2019 - Feature of the Week

Perks of Sparring, Part 1 - Independence

Tristan “Raptor” Ligtvoet and Josh “Viper” Shamassian back in the day

Perks are benefits. Sparring is light contact fighting designed to simulate actual combat for learning purposes but without the full intent of actual fighting, whose goal is to physically defeat your opponent. One of the many critical perks of sparring is independence – a state where the individual is autonomous, free and sovereign.

Being independent is a critical aspect of personal identity and character because it negates one’s need and desire to be dependent on others. But the reality of life is that each of us is responsible for ourselves once we reach the age of adulthood, generally considered to be eighteen. To be a strong and whole person, being independent, as much as one can be, is necessary.

Sparring absolutely teaches us to be independent because when we fight no one is there to help us. We’re tasked with blocking the kicks, punches and strikes of our opponent while doing our best to execute our own weaponry and strategy. We’re simply and purely on our own when we spar. After all, this is the natural order of life, the way it should be. Just think of being stranded on a desert island, alone. Who’s going to take care of us? That’s right. We are. There is no one to take care of us, rescue us. There is no cavalry charging in with bugles blazing the welcome refrain of “charge” to save the day for us. Our survival rests solely and factually with us and us alone. Sparring is one of the essential benefits of being a martial artist because it teaches us the essential life skill of doing for ourselves, by ourselves; to be independent.

This virtue of being independent is especially critical in today’s world because of the surge of socialism, which is a completely dependent construct where other people and powers exercise total dominance and control over others.

Socialism has never worked and will never succeed because it is antithetical to the human desire to be independent and free. Socialism appeals to those individuals who are needy and want to be taken care of by others rather than taking care of themselves by themselves.

Sparring is an antidote to dependence (and socialism) because it mandates we be independent, that we take absolute control over our own lives without the interference or control of others. Thus, sparring with another martial artist is a lot more than learning combat skills. Sparring is learning to be independent, to take charge of our own life and to live that life as the autonomous, free and sovereign person we were meant to be.

~finis

© Richard Andrew King, Grandmaster, Kiado-Ryu Martial Arts