Sunday, November 19, 2006

Today's TDA Tip: The World's Most Dangerous Man!

No, I'm not talking about Ken Shamrock. I'm talking about someone more fearsome, more dangerous, more terrifying Not the most dangerous!than almost anyone you're likely to meet on the street or in competition: the rookie!

I have never been more in fear of injury than when breaking in a new fighter, one who has no training, or someone who thinks he's good, but isn't. Typically, a trained fighter has balance, coordination, clean technique, and timing. A beginner has none of these things.

Typical rookies:

  1. Have no clue as to where they are on the mat, or where you are in relation to them. This is called spatial sense. It's the same as watching a basketball player shoot a 3-pointer - they just know how far the basket is, no matter where they stand on the court. A beginner doesn't know how far away he can hit you, or how long his arms or legs are from their target. He probably doesn't even know what a target is!

  2. Is scared to death! That makes him a danger to you, himself, and every window, door, or person around him. He is likely to be even more of a spaz than he'd normally be. Stay away!

  3. Is uncoordinated. This awkwardness makes a fighter dangerous in the ring, because you don't know what he's aiming for, or what to defend. This lack of coordination also makes a beginner more dangerous than a trained opponent. It's not a bad idea to keep some of that unpredictable technique, as long as it works!

  4. Have no control over their power. Most of us know how hard we can hit, 'cause we've hit someone or something thousands of times, whether on a target pad, heavy bag, or live partner or opponent. A beginner doesn't have that experience or nuance in the use of his strength and speed, and thus could clock someone he meant to merely touch.

The bottom line:

DON'T let beginners spar! Anyone who lets beginners spar, or even drill, with a live partner, is just asking for trouble. If your school typically lets beginners spar, you may want to think about getting another school. If a school waits 3-6 months before letting someone free spar with a live partner, they're probably looking out for everyone's safety. Finally, if you a paired up with someone like that, RUN!

Happy Thanksgiving!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I remember an instructor of mine saying that sometimes the most dangerous (i.e. unpredictable) trainees are white belts for most of the reasons you listed. Through the years I've seen a wide variety of students - most do start out as typical uncoordinated novices. Others are naturally gifted - it really depends on the guy. One common trait of the rookie is that they go straight for the head. But besides that, I've truthfully never seen a really bad mishap with a white belt (less than 4 months experience). Higher ranks are another story.