Fighting preparation has come a long way since my days in the Dominican Republic. During the very first class, I witnessed novice white belts getting their butts kicked and enduring some of the most brutal training you could imagine. Kicks to the stomach, punches to the head…for what? You were subjected to all this punishment to prove that you were tough enough to take all this punishment.
This type of training is no longer popular in today’s dojo. First off, the lawyers will tell you that your exposure to lawsuits is increased. Secondly, instructors have wised up and understand that a student must be mentally and physically prepared to jump into the ring. I’m not talking about point fighting here. I mean full contact. Not only should a student should be physically conditioned to develop strength and stamina, he should also be trained in how to avoid punishment. Learning how to properly block and evade attacks is essential.
There is enough evidence to prove that turning yourself into a human punching bag can lead to serious injuries over the years. Shots to the head for example, can lead to long-term brain damage or even death. The American Association of Neurological Surgeons has indicated that 90% of boxers sustain brain injuries. Because of the risks involved, I like to emphasize blocking and evasion techniques, regardless of whether the student is tough enough to take the blow. In my school, we spend a lot of time on learning how to protect the body. While we like to fight, we also want to do everything we possibly can to avoid injuries.
I’m impressed with the training I see some of the UFC fighters go through before they step into the Octagon. Fight preparation has come a long way from the old days in the rough and tumble dojos. Brutality is no longer the way to train a fighter. Instructors paying more attention to training, conditioning and good technique are a major improvement.
Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness
507 Westport Ave, Norwalk CT 06851