tips for a full-contact kickboxer competing in sports karate
November 5, 2014 8:05 AM   Subscribe

I'm a full contact kickboxer/MMA student looking for training tips for competing in karate point sparring in January. (Light/moderate contact, continuous and stop/start, NASKA rules.) Would love input both from other full contact fighters who've done point fighting, and from pure point fighters.

I'm not interested in a big discussion about "real" fighting/"effective" martial arts/whatever (actually I am in general, just not with regard to this question ^_^).

I'm competing as a featherweight black belt, in both stop/start and continuous sparring. As far as striking goes I have extensive experience in muay Thai, ITF taekwondo, capoeira, and boxing. Dabbled in wing chun and jeet kune do. I also train in wrestling, judo, and BJJ, if that somehow ends up being relevant.

I competed in taekwondo when I was younger but those events were usually full contact, and this one has harsh penalties for excessive contact.

Physically I am a southpaw (although I switch well, should I hone this?), 5'8" with a 69" reach. I have fast hands and good balance and leg control. I pick up footwork well. My cardio is improving but right now probably is a weak point. Maybe flexibility as well (felt pretty good about my flexibility until I started watching Raymond Daniels reels haha).

I'm doing this for fun but I'm also taking it very seriously. I'm already planning on practicing sparring with these rules, as well as working on my flexibility and cardio. Any input on those and anything else you think I should be doing would be super appreciated!

Full contact fighters, any pitfalls you've had in this realm? Tips for adjusting the stuff I'm already comfortable with for this format?

Pure points fighters, any thoughts you've had while fighting guys like me? Tips for throwing spinning techniques lightly?

Anything I'm not thinking of?

posted by whydub to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I did point fighting extensively back in the 90s. I'm not sure what if anything has changed.

When I took up training with a pro kickboxer in the late 90s, after years of point fighting, I noticed a few things:

The kickboxer had no concept of control. Light contact to him was sufficient to hurt someone who wasn't trained to receive blows, and also get him disqualified from any point matches. As a black belt maybe this would be less of a deal than at the lower levels, but still. As most martial arts are based in muscle memory and reacting on instinct, I imagine it is very hard to switch back and forth between light contact point sparring and full contact fighting.

Our stances were very different. Most of the point fighters I knew back in the day used a sort of Jeet Kune Do side stance to protect target areas and allow for quick flicking strikes. I also used a sideways stance. He used a traditional boxing stance.

I was very good at not getting hit by him. I think I am the only person in the dojo who didn't get a black eye or bloody nose, ever, while sparring with him.

Conversely, I hardly ever got in a decent hit.

So based on this, and not knowing anything about your training and favored techniques, I think I would recommend the following:

Don't do spinning techniques. You will hurt someone. If you do, keep the spin to a minimum. I used to do a sort of fading back kick which was almost but not quite a spin technique, and that's it. If someone charged in I could turn away, duck my head away and stick my leg out there and they might run into it.

Keep your distance. No need to close or stay close because when you get in close, someone's going to score a point. If you move in to get a point, move back out quickly before they can counter, do not stay in and try to mix it up. Skipping in and out from a horse type stance will let you cover a lot of distance.

Do most of your kicking and strikes from the front leg and arm. I was never much of a kicker but some folks had fast feet and could flick a roundhouse up and get a quick point that way.

Practice snap kicks and backfists. Drill, drill, drill and drill some more. Maybe practice striking at a heavy bag and getting a full blow without making contact with the bag.

Practice precise targeting. The idea of point fighting is the old one strike kill - one strike to a vital point. While in practice a backfist to the forehead might get a point, the underlying goal is to get that backfist to a vital point.

Don't be afraid to showboat a little. I've seen folks score points just by convincing the judges that they'd hit. They'd relax and drop their guard after their strike and go back to their side like the round was over. This is risky, obviously, but projecting confidence like this can seriously impact the way your opponent and the judges see you.
posted by natteringnabob at 9:18 AM on November 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: That's very helpful, thanks! I will keep all of this in mind.

I'm going to keep this question open as I'm hoping to gather as much info as possible, but this was indeed a very useful response.
posted by whydub at 9:41 AM on November 5, 2014

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