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▶  More from Modern Combat Modern Agonistics The Combat Space
Stoking the Fighter's Fire
Notes on Coach-Sparring
Today my top fighter and I sparred for the first time in over a month. It was a pleasure to get back outside where we began our journey. This is his 13th year as a fighter, in his prime, struggling to stay fit and forever struggling against his civilized conditioning. He's not a whack-job alpha male but a skill package, tempered with a lot of rough experience. I am hoping to find someone from New York to fight Charles next year. In the meantime we want to perfect his game.
This is coach sparring, with my ego totally on the sideline. this was part of my reasoning for simply fighting like savage in my last few outings, to try and purge that from my approach to make way for this nurturing sort of knuckleheadery. We need him to discipline his ego enough to use me as a file on which to sharpen his edge, not simply defeat me in a dozen mini-brawls. A session was broken into roughly 3 minute rounds:
3 knife
2 double knife
2 baton
2 stick
each weapon set expanded the range, now we went back down the too ladder
2 stick
1 baton
3 double knife
If someone had been scoring it wit would have looked like 10 rounds Charles, 5 rounds James. That is not important. What was important was to control our weapon velocity to avoid injury while going 100% with movement. I also want to avoid athletic scoring, but to score on slow sure lines that are apparent to him. 15 minutes in I won't be able to talk. For the most part he is self coaching. If I score with a 4-2 combo behind a shift, I'll keep repeating it until he adjusts. He has the tools, just needs to put them together. I am basically a diabolical, self-coaching apparatus.
He concussed me and disabled my right hand for five minutes without trying to, apologizing for the jagged control. It is bothering him that he is not as controlled as I am. But he needs that wildness for fighting and I don't want to squash it. Toward the end of the session, as I was exhausted and enjoying the washed up fighter super power of getting better as you wind down to a halt, I began to outscore him. He became disgusted with himself and turned away. I called him back and we fought with the knives until he finished me clean and I told him that every session has to end this way, on a high point for him. My goal is for him to dominate the combat space. Development of his sense for his own prowess, of his timing, of his rhythm sense, is top priority. At this juncture in his journey it is more important for him to develop more confidence and familiarity with his existing skill set then to add another weapon to his arsenal.
That is coach-sparring for the stick-fighter and it's the same with boxing.
The Punishing Art
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