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Sparring Mistake -- Turning the Back

I was watching footage of a sparring match in Okinawa. The participants appeared to be teenagers.

One of the youngsters scored a punch to his opponent's chest. I thought that he did not have good distance or kime but the punch was counted. I did not particularly care about the match. The way people kumite varies depending on the rules. Some kumite has degraded to a silly game of tag which bears no relationship to actual self defense.

But it is what happened next that got my attention. The youngster who had scored the point, immediately turned his back on his opponent and walked back to the starting line. He turned his back!

I'm sure that he meant no disrespect, but if this had been an actual fight he would have surely been hit on the back of the head. His point was weak. The opponent was not knocked out or knocked down. He turned his back on someone who could still attack him.

What if the opponent had not seen that a point had been awarded? What if he thought that the match was still on? Or what if he was just angry and wanted to get in a punch for payback?

I would have taken away the point when the youngster turned his back. I would have warned him to never turn his back on an attacker.

But if the only goal of the match was to score points, then I guess that the youngster won. I hope that he does not turn his back on the street. Don't win a point and lose your head.


Charles C. Goodin