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 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, instructors should emphasize blocking and evasion techniques, regardless of whether the student is tough enough to take the blow. Much time should be spent on learning how to protect the head and body. While you may like to fight and enjoy the physical contact, you should do everything possible to avoid injuries.
Don't get me wrong, if you are preparing for a fight, you need to spar, and you need to spar hard. But you should be wearing protective gear and you shouldn't be sticking your head in the way of an oncoming fist just to see if you can take a punch! Sparring should be taken to a point that is just as intense as a fight but with injury prevention in mind.
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 that are paying more attention to training, conditioning, and good technique are a major improvement upon the old days!
Calasanz is the creator of his own mixed martial arts and exercise system that was developed over the course of the last 30 years. For training videos and media visit: