In order to attain the Blue Belt ranking you must demonstrate a reasonable proficiency at sparring. We are not asking you to be a professional fighter (though you can if you wish), but we think knowing how to spar is of great benefit to students for a variety of reasons.
We do not require anyone to engage in sparring with another person if they wish to avoid being struck or potentially injured. Kumite and full contact sparring are entirely voluntary. Students who do not wish to engage in these activities will be required to demonstrate essential sparring skills via extensive shadow boxing exercises.
Sparring provides you with the skills, timing, and experience you may need in an actual fight. Sparring, at least to some significant degree, simulates the pace, excitement, maneuvering, and striking that takes place in a fight. Having experience with these conditions can be invaluable should you find yourself in a confrontation with someone who thinks of fighting in terms of sparring. It provides you with a good sense for how this person will move, the likely tactics they will use, and what they will not expect from you.
Sparring also is of great benefit for your stamina and conditioning. You will be quite tired after just a short period of sparring. The more you can spar the more fit you will become.
We understand that not everyone looks forward to the prospects of sparring. For some this is the most dreaded part of their training. But we make sparring as reasonable and as adaptable as possible for people so they can obtain some valuable training without feeling overwhelmed. We will not pit you against a world class sparring champion and ask the two of you to go at it full speed. That would be rude. We take things slowly and allow a student to advance with their sparring skills at a pace that is comfortable to them. All we ask is that students keep an open mind and understand that the primary reason for sparring is so you gain the experience you may need in the event you are confronted by someone who thinks they are good at sparring.
We teach several different types of sparring over time. Students have a good degree of latitude in what they wish to do in the area of sparring. In the following sections we will discuss the types of sparring we provide, the equipment required, and some fundamental strategic skills you should consider. We want sparring to be a safe and educational experience for all students.
Here is the material you will need to know for your Blue Belt ranking examination.