What is Martial Arts

Balance and Order

Training together in sparring over a period of time facilitates trust and camaraderie among students. Sparring is an example of a program that is fun and easy to learn. Although I do not have students engage in three-step sparring (Samsusik) on the first day of class, they are given the opportunity to do so on the second day. Students find this practice fun and exciting, even if they do not yet quite perform it properly. It is important to work toward correct technique in one-step and three-step sparring. Beginners stand facing each other, at a distance apart of about one full step in front stance. The higher the belt level, the closer students should be to each other while engaged in this type of sparring. One student is first to defend and the other is first to attack. The student who is defending engages in a defensive body stance with a thunderous kihap while looking straight into the eyes of the partner, thus showing his partner ki, or flow of energy. These actions signify the readiness to engage in the match. A loud kihap is actually the student’s pronouncement to the partner, “I am ready.” The term for one-step sparring, “Ilsusik” can be explained as “one step backward for defense and one step forward for attack.” The three-step sparring term, “Samsusik” refers to the same movements, except that the person takes three steps each way. I incorporate these exercises to encourage my students to respect and form close bonds with each other. The defending student blocks the attacking student’s punch. He then does a counterattack technique. All animals instinctively try to bite each other or attack when threatened and unable to escape. Instinctually, people seem to first attempt to attack each other in the face and indeed, in both one-step and three-step sparring, the punches are directed at the opponent’s face. Students must punch and block each other gently, but there should still be enough contact to keep the endeavor exciting and realistic. Learning how to control the intensity of attacking and blocking gives students self-confidence, along with a sense of achievement, that is gained from hard work and commitment to excellence. In the process of a hard workout, students will perspire and there will be a release of endorphins, resulting in a feeling of elation. Giving out a yell, which signifies one’s readiness, and then engaging in a repetitive offensive or defensive motion will focus the student on his partner’s movements. In sparring, the student begins by using hands and arms, then employs the feet, and gradually learns to combine them together. Sparring practice so absorbs students that they are not usually aware of how quickly the time has passed. They often find the exercise to be so intense that they sweat profusely. The practice is so exciting that the students become absorbed in the depth of their own training. When a male student and a female student are practice partners in the dojang, the instructor must take special care to prevent any problems that might lead to a situation of potential sexual harassment for either practice partner. The instructor must firmly indicate to any offending student that such misconduct is not allowed and will result in expulsion from the dojang.