Sparring a case: Guidelines

❶  If it’s your case – you get to illustrate (deliver) the attack

  Initiate the case with an experienced practitioner by simulating the person that triggered you

❷ Take note of any moves that create energy shifts (escalation or de-escalation)

  Note as much as you can about the posture and techniques used (or lack of…)

❸ Minimize chit chat, maximize practice

Avoid analyzing or disecting the exhange, contribute to authenticity by honing the case further if necessary

Here are some one-line attacks for practice (a.k.a. a Sacattaq’). You can copy, print and cut up these verbal attacks to spar with your partner.

You can be so selfish!You disgust me!
You look like a sack of potatoes!What you’re saying is ridiculous!
You’re as lazy as they come!You’re such a coward!
You can be so sensitive!How stuck up are you?!
You’ve clearly got a screw loose!You’re completely mad!
Could you be any clumsier?!You just don’t think, do you?!
Why do you say such silly things?There’s something wrong with you!
You dress like a granny!You’re totally out of date!
You can be so naive!You just don’t make sense!
You’re ugly!You stink!
You can be so annoying!You’re always so mean to me!
Sometimes you’re so dumb!You really get on my nerves!

Delivering an authentic attack is an essential part of practice. When carrying out a spar with a practitioner, we must be able to provide them with the energy of the attack along with the words. Here are some pointers that will increase your attack authenticity, so that the practitioner has something solid to work with.

  • Attacks come from a destabilized and opposing position. Make yourself feel uncomfortable and in a state of resistance to the practitioner before you begin.
  • Use a previous experience of an aggression that you have had and simulate the demeanor, attitude and volume. Use the spar as an opportunity to evacuate any residual aggression you may have.
  • Understand the emotion behind the attack. If it is anger, access something you feel is unjust. If it is fear, access something you find dangerous. If it is disgust or contempt, access something you find unacceptable.
  • Imitate the facial expressions that correspond to the emotions that you are trying to reproduce and maintain them for as long as seems appropriate.
  • Let the attack play out naturally. If you feel a positive energy shift, flow in the direction that it takes you rather than returning to an attacking posture just to resist. If you feel provoked, let the exchange escalate as you feel it might in real life.
  • When working with novice practitioners, you can signal destabilization (jazz hands is a good gesture) to help them know when to propose Aiki.
  • When possible, another practitioner can prompt you with attack ideas during the spar until you feel self-sufficient.
Sparring a case: Guidelines