How to Spar for the Street
In this series of articles we are discussing how to make your sparring relevant to real situations. As we've discussed in previous articles, the sparring in many dojos has little in common with real situations. Karateka train for a variety of reasons, so it is to be expected that they will spar in a variety of ways in order to address a variety of goals. If being able to protect yourself is one of your reasons for training, then your sparring needs to specifically structured so that it has relevance to the street.
In this series of articles we are discussing how to make your sparring relevant to real situations. The sparring in most dojos is based on the rules of modern competition and therefore has little in common with real situations. To be clear, I'm not for a second saying there is anything fundamentally wrong with competitive sparring. If you want to win tournaments, that's how you need to spar. The problem occurs when people mistakenly believe that training for competition also develops the skills needed for the street. It doesn't.
Almost all martial artists include sparring in their training. However, there are many different types of sparring and there is some debate as to what types are most realistic. Indeed, some question if sparring has any relevance to self-protection situations. To my mind, the amount of relevance that sparring has to the street is determined by how that sparring is structured.