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Essay Library

Tournament Sparring Profiles

Mr Chris Fitzgerald


I'm not a very good sparrer! " Do I try and be a defensive or offensive sparrer!" " Should I use other peoples techniques! " How can I become a better sparrer! "

Learning from the better members or should I say more successful, can often be a problem, especially if we don't have them as senior members in our own club, or if they're not in other clubs close by. The only times can be at regional or national camps, and often the time we have is only brief, but usually worth while.

So, what I have put together is profiles on some members who I consider to be good tournament sparrers (and there are a lot out there). You may not have heard of some of them, but you may still learn something from them, be-it male or female.

All the questions I have asked them are the same, so you will get a wide variation of techniques and methods of training.

NB: From the time of printing some of the information will become incorrect, i.e.. rank, age, marital status (for women) etc.


Name: Jeanette Joe

Age: 21

Rank: 3rd Dan

Club: Meadowbank

Instructor: Mr Peter Graham

Year you started training: 1983

Q: When did you realise you had a talent for sparring? A: Actually, I still have a long way to go.

Q: Do you prefer to train alone, or with a training partner? A: Depending on what it is for and why I am doing it. Generally with a partner because they motivate me to keep going when it gets tough, They can comment on how I do and where to improve and it's a lot more fun.

Q: What was the first tournament you entered? A: Probably as a new green belt 1984. It was the scariest time I think in my sparring career.

Q: Please list some or all of your tournament successes? A: Regional; 1987 Team patterns - Bronze, 1989 Team patterns - Bronze, 1990 Sparring - Silver, 1991 Sparring - Gold, 1992 Sparring - Gold.

National; 1990 Sparring - Gold, 1991 Sparring - Gold, 1992 Sparring - Silver.

International; 1994 Victorian TKD Championship, Australia, Patterns - Gold, Sparring - Bronze, 1994 World Championships, Malaysia.

Q: At the time of your success did you consider the other people win the tournament to be the best at the time? A: I judge my success on whether I tried my best and know that I put my heart fully into what I did. I do think the other people were better at the tournament.

Q: What sort of training programme do you set for yourself before an upcoming tournament? A: Depending on motivation and the type of tournament. Especially for major tournaments, Aerobics, running, TKD more than two nights-a week. Definitely diet programme e.g. carbohydrates and vitamins

Q: Do you find it hard to motivate yourself to train, if so how do you overcome this? A: Yes, When I don't have a strong enough dream in front of me of what I want to achieve. I lose my motivation. I try to think more of what I really want to achieve and surround myself with picture photos, motivational books, always motivate daily; like to feed the body, we eat daily, to feed the mind also feed it daily.

Q: Would you describe yourself as a defensive or as an offensive sparrer? A: Definitely defensive I always move back, defending and hardly ever attack first

Q: What would you say is your greatest defensive and offensive skill? A: Defensive, dodging back kick. Offensive, pickshape kick.

Q: Name the person(s) you most think helped you develop the style or ability in sparring you now have? A: Being around for a while a lot of the people have shown me different aspects of training which I have added to my style.

Q: Do you think it is good to copy another person's style of fighting? A: Not copy kick for kick but definitely different techniques and combinations, the way they move. Really you should talk to them ask them what they do with their techniques that you would like to adopt. Ask the best way that they found to execute their techniques.

Q: Do you prefer full contact or touch contact sparring? A: Touch contact, because I don't move fast enough so when I get hit it won't hurt as much. Both have good and bad points. Full contact, is good, you learn how to take "the real thing".

Q: How do you overcome an opponent that you consider to be better than yourself? A: 95%-is in the mind. If you don't have it in the ring you have lost it. What is needed is continuous motivation of positive thinking. Building up of self esteem and confidence in yourself and ability. Leading up to the event you always need to have the spirit in your heart and mind.

Q: Do you change your diet in anyway to prepare for a tournament? A: Yes. I try. As before, food intake of carbohydrates, fruit, vegetables, vitamins, heaps of water.

Q: What do think makes a good sparrer? A: A good attitude! Fitness level, knowledge of opponent styles, focus, speed and agility, instinct, and using-your brain when you fight, strategy while sparring is essential, not being kicks and punches robot.

Q: Do you prefer sparring to any other activity practised in T.K.D.? A: During the years my enjoyment of sparring has increased. When I first started I really did not enjoy it. Maybe because at the time we did not use sparring gear so I was hurt a lot more. The other thing was that all my partners were large males, as there were no kids around my age. I would not say I prefer it more than other T.K.D. Activities, but I don't enjoy it less.

Q: Do you have any special exercise or warm-up you do before entering the ring for a fight? A: 1 Limb up, e.g.: 10 min. running - warm up body and muscles. 2 Stretch - especially main muscle groups. 3 Warm up, e.g.: light sparring, combinations, line work. Always be sweaty and warm when entering the ring. Mental preparation is; also important.

Q: Who would you consider to be the best male and female sparrer, from past and present members, in the country, and why? A: Male - Mark Rounthwaite and David Sauvage. Why? They have been around a long time, they are flexible, fast, use their brains when in the ring, have good attitudes, and good control. Female - Caroline Seelig. (3rd World Champs years ago.) Why? Has international experience and always picks her targets and doesn't waste energy (as with the boys.) Really nice person, good control,


Name: Christine Young

Age: 26

Rank: 2nd Dan

Club: Brooklyn

Instructor: Mr Craig Beissel, Mr Richard Hall, Mr Gary Hastings

Year you started training: 1985

Q: When did you realise you had a talent for sparring? A: I do not consider that I have a talent for sparring. Therefore have not yet realised it.

Q: Do you prefer to train alone, or with a training partner? A: With a training partner, but often I train alone for patterns and gym work.

Q: What was the first tournament you entered? A: 1986 - Nationals in Masterton.

Q:- Please list some or all of your tournament successes? A: Placings at regionals from 86-89, 2nd in sparring, 2nd in destruction, 2nd in patterns 89 Nationals, 1st sparring, 2nd destruction 94 Nationals, 1st sparring, 1st destruction, 3rd patterns 96 Nationals.

Q: At the time of your success did you consider the people in the tournament to be the best at the time? A No

Q: What sort of training programme do you set for yourself before an upcoming tournament? A: Practise, Practise, Practise, Build up fitness, Visualisation + mental training.

Q: Do you find it hard to motivate yourself to train, if so how do you overcome this? A: Yes, by organising a time with a training partner and by positive mental attitude.

Q: Would you describe yourself as a defensive or as an offensive sparrer? A: Both, depends on the opponent.

Q: What would you say is your greatest defensive and offensive skill? A: Defensive - a good blocker Offensive - flexibility to get high kicks in.

Q: Name the person(s) you most think helped you develop the style or ability in sparring you now have? A: No one in particular, mostly myself.

Q: Do you think it is good to copy another person's style of fighting? A: No, Develop your own.

Q: Do you prefer full contact or touch contact sparring? A: Neutral, But I have not fought in a full contact tournament.

Q: How do you overcome an opponent that you consider to be better than yourself? A: Confidence in yourself, Be-a smarter fighter.

Q: Do you change you diet in anyway to prepare for a tournament? A: Not really, Only increase fluids and carbos close to tournament day.

Q: What do you think makes a good sparrer? A: Quick reactions, good technique, strong mental attitude, good preparation.

Q: Do you prefer sparring to any other activity practised in T.K.D? A: No.

Q: Do you have any special exercise or warm-up you do before entering the ring for a fight? A: Nothing special.

Q: Who would you consider to be the best male and female sparrer, from past and present members, in the country, and why? A: My opinion only: Andrew Salton - speed, power and strong-mind. Caroline Seelig - strength and flexibility in sparring, kicking and a strong mind.


Name: Kirsten Hasell

Age: 26

Rank: 1st Kup

Club: New Plymouth

Instructors: Neill Livingstone

Year you started training: October 1993

Q: When did you realise you had a talent for sparring? A: I never really realised I had a talent, except that I gave the guys a run for their money.

Q: Do you prefer to train alone, or with a partner? A: I prefer training with a partner. I need someone to help push me along.

Q: What was the first tournament you entered? -A: My first tournament was the "selection day" for the Wai-Bop regionals in 1995.

Q: Please list some or all of your tournament successes. A: Selected for the nationals at the "selection day"- Wai-Bop regionals 1995 (I was the only female at my rank, so automatically got through.) Was placed 2nd at the 1995 Nationals in the middle weight blue belt sparring. Won black tip fight at regionals to get through to Nationals 1996. Bummed out at Nationals this year.

Q: At the time of your success did you consider the other people in the tournament to be the best at the time? A: (Nationals 1995) To be honest, I had no idea who or what I was up against. I hadn't heard of them before. (Nationals 1996) I had heard of Julia Parker and was dreading fighting her. I new that last year she was a force to be reckoned with, if she hadn't been disqualified for "heavy contact" I feel she would have won the tournament.

Q- What sort of training programme do you set for yourself before an upcoming tournament? A: I would try to get a group of students together. We would do a lot of bag work (including fitness) it helps with focus, speed, and fitness; e.g.: Run length of hall - 25 turning kicks off each leg, run back, 5 press ups, repeat several times. Shuttles - at each shuttle 2 turning kicks off each leg etc. (side kicks, back kicks etc.) Stretching - (partner stretching) between exercises. Jogging or fast running twice a week at least, (Last 400 metres of run, push yourself to the max.)

Q: Do you find it hard to motivate yourself to train, if so how do you overcome this? A Yes. I find it very hare, especially if I have to train on my own. I find the hardest part is to actually get started. Once I get going I'm OK. I find that after work, I'm too tired to train, so I try to do my stretching, go over my patterns etc., before I go to work. Then at least it's over and done with for the day. I'm a lot more motivated in a class situation where I find it easier to push myself.

Q: Would you describe yourself as a defensive or as an offensive sparrer? A: I think that I'm more of an offensive sparrer. I like to attack mostly, but then again, I also try to counter-attack as much as possible.

Q: What would you say is your greatest defensive and offensive skill? A: Defensive - blocks? (although, not very good.) Offensive - turning kicks and jabs.

Q: Name the person(s) you most think helped you develop the style or ability in sparring you now have? A: I think my instructor, Neill Livingstone, helped me to develop my style . Also, a few of my fellow students (Geoff Anderson, John Berin,) whom I have trained with from the beginning.

Q: Do you think it is good to copy another person's style of fighting? A: Not really, but then again, if certain things work for them, it might work for you.

Q: Do you prefer full contact or touch contact sparring? A: I prefer touch contact sparring. There is a lot more skill in touch contact than there is in full contact. I didn't take-up T.K.D. to get the hell beaten out of me, I took it up to learn skill. Discipline and fitness.

Q: How do you overcome an opponent that you consider to be better than yourself? A: I try to find their weak points and try to figure out how to wear them down. I also hope for the best' (ie: if they always punch high, do a front kick to the solars etc.)

Q: Do you have any special exercise or warm-up you do before entering the ring for a fight? A: I light-stretch, and try to do a bit of light pad work. Usually I am so nervous that I find it hard to do anything!

Q: Do you change your diet in anyway to prepare for a tournament? A: No. Had a few barley sugars on the tournament day.

Q: What do you think makes a good sparrer? A: I think a good sparrer is someone who can find the opponent's weaknesses and work on opening them up. A good sparrer is a good thinker and obviously a good technical fighter as well.

Q: Do you prefer sparring to any other activity practised in TKD? A No. I probably prefer doing my patterns to sparring.

Q: Who would you consider to be the best male and female sparrer, from past and present members, in the country, and why? A: Male - Mark Rounthwaite,-l haven't seen him personally, but from what I've seen on video and heard, he is a superb sparrer, so controlled, quick and efficient. Beautiful to watch too.

Female - Julia Parker, From what I've seen and experienced , I think she is a great sparrer. She is very good with hands. Once she gets on a roll she's very hard to stop, although she does need to control her techniques (ie: heavy contact).


Name: Lawrence Mantjika

Age: 30 years

Rank: 2nd Dan

Club: Massey University; Palmerston North Taekwon-Do Academy

Instructor(s): Mr Mike Lowe, Ms Vicky Ineson. Mr Kevin Joe

Year you started training: 1984 (in TKD)

Q: When did you realise you had a talent for sparring? A: I didn't! (For a long time). Then I thought I must be OK once I received my second dan.

Q: Do you prefer to train alone, or with a training partner? A: With a training partner, for purely motivational reasons. I need to feel I have somebody's support.

What was the first tournament you entered? 7 years running patterns - Gold, 7 years running sparring - Gold/Silver alternately, 3rd place University Open Martial Arts Tournament, 2 years running - Best overall black belt, Represented New Zealand in World Champs 1994.

Q: At the time of your success did you consider the other people in the tournament to be the best at the time? A: Yes (except for a few), most of the time.

Q: What sort of training programme do you set for yourself before an upcoming tournament? A: Until three years ago - nothing! No specific programmes other than regular club training. But now I do fitness work-outs - techniques/skills drills, massage, carboloading/diet control (one week prior to the event), sprints (anaerobic & aerobic levels) relaxation and meditation.

Q: Do you find it hard to motivate yourself to train, if so how do you overcome this? A: Yes, I get a few people who are committed and train with them, or appoint "coaches" who takes an interest in what you do, they come on your runs/sprits and skills training, cook you nice dinners, tell you you're wonderful - generally be around.

Q: Do you change your diet in anyway to prepare for a tournament? A: Yes - Eat more vegetables, increase carbohydrates, reduce meat protein. Have cereal and fruit for breakfast on the day and ensure plenty of fluids.

Q: What do you think makes a good sparrer? A: The ability to see openings, move around and " control the fight. " Not too be aggressive and to have a number of various skills/combinations already practised. Fast foot work is the key ( ability to kick fast, move fast, and dance around. )

Q: Do you prefer sparring to any other activity practised in T.K.D? A: No. I see it as only a small part of the overall "game".

Q: Would you describe yourself as a defensive or as an offensive sparrer? A: Defensive most of the time - trying to develop an offensive style at present. But definitely defensive is the best tactic for me.

Q: What would you say is your greatest defensive and offensive skill? A: Defensive: Countering after/during an attack with faster counterattack e.g. Back kick while jumping away, or checking side or front kicks. Q: Offensive: Turning kicks and sidekicks, also back kicks.

Q: Name the person(s) you most think helped you developed the style or ability in sparring you now have? A: Myself David Lee (World Champs team coach.) Other sparrers at the 94 World Champs. / Q: Do you think it is good to copy another person's style of fighting? A: Yes, As long as it works for you.

Q: Do you prefer full contact or touch contact sparring? A: Touch contact, mainly because I don't like getting hurt and I hate feeling the " intention to hurt " within my own self and that projecting from others. TKD to me is a friendship thing. True sense of Full contact is to hit with intention to cause maximum " Hurt". I do enter these competitions, however, do not enjoy them as much as other touch contact ones.

Q: How do you overcome an opponent that you consider to be better than yourself? A: Be the best you can - stay away and wait for an opening be defensive and dance around/move around. Try to overcome that psychological barrier.

Q: Do you have any special exercise or warm-up you do before entering the ring for a fight? A: Yes, I have developed a quick 10 minute warm-up/stretching routine that warms me up without wasting energy.

Q: Who would you consider to be the best male and female sparrer, from past and present members, in the country, and why? A: Female - None;-(possibly Carolyn Seeling - I've only seen her once). Male - Phillip Wong, a fast counterer and great footwork. David Sauvage, very technical and fast combinations and skill. Ian Walton, strong kicks, punches, offensive sparrer who holds his own and the ability to isolate and trap his opponent.


Name: Steve McQuillan

Age: 27

Rank: 2nd Dan

Club: Auckland City - Takapuna

Instructor(s): Mr Mark Rounthwaite

Year you started training: I started training in 1984, gave up for five years and rejoined in 1989.

Q: When did you realise you had a talent for sparring? A: I personally don't think I'm a good sparrer but I'm currently trying to change this.

Q: Do you prefer to train alone, or with a training partner? A: Partner training is a must, they can tell you what your doing wrong.

Q;: What was the first tournament you entered? A: My first tournament I entered was as a green belt in sparring, and I #@*XtX big time.

Q: Please list some or all of your tournament successes? A: Silver medal - Blue belt patterns, Silver medal - Red belt patterns, Bronze medal - Black belt patterns, Silver medal - Black belt patterns.

Q: At the time of your success did you consider the other people in the tournament to be the best at the time? A: I think that most people have room for improvement so I would have to say that at National Tournaments most students are at 4 their best. Where as Regional Tournaments, everybody and anybody gets in and has a go.

Q: What sort of training programme do you set for yourself before an upcoming tournament? A: I mainly try and work on fitness training especially for sparring, an unfit sparrer will not last the distance. But with patterns I try and work on timing, technique and power.

Q: Do you find it hard to motivate yourself to train, if so how do you overcome this? A: No! The day I find myself having to motivate myself for Taekwon-do is the day I quite. Not once have I thought, oh #*@c, training tonight.

Q: Do you think it is good to copy another person's style of fighting? A: You bet, I always watch video's of different sparrers and pinch some combinations for my own sparring, some things work for mew some don't

Q: Do you prefer full contact or touch contact sparring? A: Probably touch contact, although I've never done full contact fighting so I can't really comment.

Q: How do you overcome an opponent that you consider to be better than yourself? A: If I know my opponent is better than myself I become defensive, I wait for them to open up then attack.

Q: Do you change your diet in anyway to prepare for a tournament? X A: #@*$+ no! McDonalds or KFC after training is awesome. But if I was chosen to represent my country that would probably be different.

Q: What do you think makes a good sparrer? A: Someone who is fast on attack as well as defence, Someone who can use hand techniques as well as legs.

Q: Do you prefer sparring to any other activity practised in T.K.D.? A: Half and half I prefer patterns to sparring but I prefer

Q: Would you describe yourself as a defensive or as an offensive sparrer? A: Probably defensive, I wait for an opening.

Q: What would you say is your greatest defensive and offensive skill? A: I think I would have to say defensively, jumping back kick, pickshape kicks.

Q: Name the person(s) you most think helped you develop the style or ability in sparring you now have? A: I have to thank two people for what I know today, they are Mark Rounthwaite and Dave Sauvage.

Q: Do you have any special exercise or warm-up you do before entering the ring for a fight? A: Not really, I make sure I'm fully warmed up before entering the ring .

Q: Who would you consider to be the best male and female sparrer, from past and present members, in the country, and why? A: Best female: Carolyn Seeling, her technique is amazing.

Best male: Dave Sauvage, I can't explain, just no one could beat him, he had everything there and it was incredible watching him


Name: Ian Mark Walton

Age: 30

Rank: 2nd dan

Instructor(s): Mr Francis Karauti Mr Tom Temata. Mr Garry Hastings.

Year you started training: November 1984

Q: When did you realise you had a talent for sparring? A: I don't think I have a talent for sparring, but it's something I've always enjoyed.

Q: Do you prefer to train alone, or with a training partner? A: I definitely prefer to train with a partner or a group. Because I find it hard to motivate myself and I wouldn't train as hard by myself.

Q: What was the first tournament you entered? A: End of 1984 I was a yellow belt, and entered in the green belt sparring. I enjoyed the tournament so much I've competed since.

Q- Please list-some or all of your tournament successes? A: 1986 Nationals - 1st Blue belt sparring middle weight, 1988 Nationals - 1st Red belt sparring heavy weight, 1989 Nationals - 1st Red belt sparring heavy weight, 1990 Grand Lake Colorado - 1st sparring heavy weight, 1990 Open Style Tournament Blenhiem - 1st sparring 2nd patterns, 1991 Nationals - 3rd Black belt sparring middle weight, 1992 Nationals - 1st Black belt heavy weight, 1993 Nationals - 1st Black belt middle weight, 1993 Nationals - 2nd Black belt destruction, 1993 Full Contact Tournament Auckland 1st, \ 1994 Open I.T.F Tournament Wellington 1st sparring, 2nd Team Event.

Q: At the time of your success did you consider the other people in the tournament to be the best at the time? A: There were some good competitors , but there's always good ones that don't enter as well.

Q: What sort of training programme do you set for yourself before an upcoming tournament? A: Depending on the type of tournament, for I.T.F.N.Z Nationals I've always just relied on the team training sessions. For full contact tournaments I would build over a period of 3 months with more emphasis on stamina and conditioning.

Q: Do you find hard to motivate yourself to train, if so how do you overcome this? A: Yes, So I train with a partner or group. Training with other people makes me try a lot harder and is more enjoyable.

Q: Do you think it is good to copy another person's style of fighting? A: No two person's style is the same but if you see techniques and ideas you like, try them out and if it works for you use them.

Q: Do you prefer full contact or touch contact sparring? A: I preferred the full contact rules pre 1987. Full contact to the body and head with the legs. Full contact to the body and controlled contact to the head with the hands. The finals were done in a ring.

Q: How do you overcome an opponent that you consider to be better than yourself? A: Stick to what you are good at, try and find their weakness and exploit it.

Q: Do you change your diet in anyway to prepare for a tournament? A: No. Maybe some more chocolate bars for that extra sugar rush.

Q: What do you think makes a good sparrer? A: Someone who knows their strengths and weaknesses and uses it to their advantage. Someone who gives 100%. Good timing.

Q: Do you prefer sparring to any other activity practised in T.K.D? A: Sparring is one of my favourite activities.

Q: Would you describe yourself as a defensive or as an offensive sparrer? A: Offensive sparrer.

Q: What would you say is your greatest defensive and offensive skill? A: I try and turn my defence into attack. Offence, Hand techniques.

Q: Name the person(s) you most think helped you develop the style or ability in sparring you now have? A: Mr Francis Karauti my first instructor always said, I cannot teach you to spar or how to fight. Then he would show me different techniques and give me some ideas. From that he would say, pick and choose what works for you. Since then I have watched others, tried what I've liked and kept what works for me.

Q: Do you have any special exercise or warm-up you do before entering the ring for a fight? A: No, I try and stay relaxed and loose, saving my energy the bout. Both have a great range of movement and are really quick and both are good at Countering.

Q: Who would you consider to be the best male and female sparrer, from past and present members, in the country, and why? A: Best Female: Full Contact & Touch. Miss Lena Sefo; We have been through the ranks together and she has great timing, strong techniques and doesn't give in. Touch. Miss Julia Parker; Very determined and quick hand techniques. Best Male: Touch Contact. Mr David Sauvage; Mr Lawrence Mantjika; Both have a great range of movement and are really quick and both are good at counter attacking. Lawrence has excellent spirit. Full Contact. Mr Paul Herman; When I first started he was a 1st kup at Miramar, why, scary, fast and kicked hard. He didn't enter many tournaments due to his work, luckily for the other competitors. Mr Steve Pellow; I have only seen Mr Pellow spar a few times but he really impresses me. Strong fast kicks and good hands.


Name: Mark Banicevich

Age: 24

Rank: 2nd Dan

Club: Papakura

Instructor(s): Mr Paul McPhail

Year you started training: August 1989

Q: When did you realise you had a talent for sparring?

A: I wouldn't really say I have a talent for sparring. I built up a bit of confidence, quite a bit of leg strength and speed, and I learned a lot about current ITF sparring when I was in Europe.

Q: Do you prefer to train alone, or with a training partner? A: I always used to train with a partner, but now find myself without. I guess I prefer with.

Q: What was the first tournament you entered? A: Regionals as green belt - would've been 1990. (Patterns only, of course). First sparring tournament I guess was Regionals 1991(?).

Q: Please list some or all of your tournament successes. A: 1990 Regionals - Patterns - 3rd; Nationals - Patterns - 3rd; 1991 Regionals - Blue Patterns - lst/Blue Middleweight - 2nd; Nationals - Blue Patterns - 3rd/Blue Middleweight - 3rd; Lims TKD tournament - (March) - Green-Red tip Patterns-lst; 1994 Bathgate TKD sport - Team Sparring - 2nd; 1996 Regionals - 2nd Dan Patterns - 3rd/Under 74kgs - 2nd; Nationals - 2nd Dan and above, under 74kgs - 1st

Q: At the time of your success did you consider the other people in the tournament to be the best at the time? A: Those that beat me were invariably better than me and derserving of their places. Of those I beat, I worked for them. IC sparring, there are bound to have been occasions when I was "saved by the draw".

Q: What sort of training programme do you set for yourself before an upcoming tournament? A: We tend to concentrate more on sparring at club, and we have Nationals Team training, but I'm afraid I don't take tournaments seriously enough to do much extra. One perhaps, but at the moment work at everything.

Q: Do you find it hard to motivate yourself to train, if so, how do you overcome this? A: No, I just do it. I must admit, I have been slack the past 6 months or so - only training twice a week at Papakura - but now I have a car I will be training more. I don't find the twice a week hard - I'm an Assistant Instructor, and I have to be there!

Q: Would you describe yourself as a defensive or as an offensive sparrer? A: A defensive sparrer - are you keeping this on record for the WAI-BOP team Chris?!

Q: What would you say is your greatest defensive and offensive skill? A: Defensive - dodging back piercing kick (learned in Scotland) Offensive. - Colin Beard's turning back kick that looks like a front kick, possibly, I don't know.

Q: Name the person(s) you most think helped you develop the style or ability in sparring you have now. A: Mr Sandy Dunbar IV, Financial Director UKTF, Head Instructor Forres, Inverness, Nairn Branches. Miss Katja Hansen II, Instructor Buckle, Keltn Brancnes UKTF. Mr Paul McPhail V.

Q: Do you think it is good to copy another person's style of fighting? A: I think it is good to practise another person's techniques and adopt them if they suit you. To a certain extent, a student must copy another until they develop their own style. But to do so exclusively, I believe, is not good.

Q: Do you prefer full contact or touch contact sparring? A: I'm a blouse - touch. The adrenaline does get to me if contact is heavy, but at the end of the day, my brain is my breadwinner, I need my cells intact!

Q: How do you overcome an opponent that you consider to be better than yourself? A: Imagery, and hard training. Mental fitness is very important to overcome a nemesis.

Q: Do you change your diet in anyway to prepare for a tournament? A: Very little. Perhaps more carbohydrates. An extra meal of pasta each training day.

Q: What do you think makes a good sparrer? A: Speed, good guard, intuitive and instinctive. Hard training and a good coach.

Q: Do you prefer sparring to any other activity practised in TKD? A: No. I think my order of preference is probably theory, self defence, patterns, sparring.

Q: Do you have any special exercise or warm-up you do before entering the ring for a fight? A: Loosening - gently shaking out the muscles. A fast shake of my legs while standing. Light punch combination - jab, cross, hook, uppercut.

Q: Who would you consider to be the best male and female sparrer, from past and present members, in the country, and why? A: Male: Mr Mark Rounthwaite IV dan. I have never seen Mr McPhail spar properly. Mark is very quick, with a good technique.

Female: I haven't seen this British lass from the South Island spar. Of those I have seen, probably Kim Kingsley I dan. Quite fast very flexible, and very aggressive - she's a bully.


Name: Neill Livingstone

Age: 33

Rank: 2nd Dan

Club: New Plymouth

Instructor(s): James Rimmer

Year you started training: October 1987

Q: When did you realise you had a talent for sparring? A: I don't think that I am a good sparrer, in fact very average. I do enjoy sparring and am always looking for ways to improve.

Q: Do you prefer to train alone, or with a training partner A: I prefer to train alone, but I think it's also essential to train with others especially with sparring as you need to practise with partners.

Q: What was the first tournament you entered? A: An Open Karate Tournament 1991

Q: Please list some or all of your tournament successes? A: 1st sparring-Karate tournament 1991, 2nd sparring Karate 3rd sparring Auckland Regionals 1992 2nd sparring Wellington Nationals 1995 tournament 1992

Q: At the time of your success did you consider the other people in the tournament to be the best at the time? A: I don't think that success is measured in coming 1st, 2nd or 3rd. Success for me is feeling good about your sparring. Many times I would win a sparring match and feel as if I didn't deserve it, and vice versa.

Q: What sort of training programme do set for yourself before an upcoming tournament? , A: I would use a lot of bag work. I find that it helps your speed and focus it's useful as an aerobic work-out. E.G.. 50 x Axe kicks 50 x Back kicks 50 x Side kicks 50 x Combination punching 5 x 2 min. spells of hand, foot combinations, stretching while rest in between reps. Total 1 hour.

Q: Do you find it hard to motivate yourself to train, if so how do you overcome this? A: As I get older it's getting harder to get motivate. 1 certainly lack the energy I had 4 - 5 years ago. Now I try to plan my week and set aside certain times when I must train, although I must admit it doesn't always work.

Q: Do you change your diet in anyway to prepare for a tournament? A: No

Q: What do you think makes a good sparrer A: Full contact: the person that is able to end the fight with one blow. Touch contact: the person who is able to execute controlled techniques.

Q: Do you prefer sparring to any other activity practised in TKD? A: No, Top of the list would be patterns.

Q: Do you think it's good to copy another person's style of fighting? W: Not entirely, but things can be learned by taking bits and pieces from other fighters.

Q: Do you prefer full contact or touch contact sparring? A: Touch contact, I've never seen much point in full contact unless your life depends on it.

Q: How do you overcome an opponent that you consider to be better than yourself? A: Look for their weaknesses ( everyone has one ) and work on that. E.G.. When I used to spar, I would use a lot of jabs exposing the floating-ribs, at this I would try and slot in a side kick.

Q: Would you describe yourself as a defensive or as an offensive sparrer? A: It would be a defensive sparrer. I struggle to win fights because I don't throw enough techniques.

Q: What would you say is your greatest defensive and offensive skill? A: Defensive - Hard to answer as I think that my defence is not very good at all. Offensive - Axe kick or Jab

Q: Name the person(s) you most think helped you develop the style or ability in sparring you now have? A: Chris Churchwood, Chris Fitzgerald and Jon Sawden, My sparring-partners as I was coming up through the rank.

Q: Do you have any special exercise or warm-up you do before entering the ring for a fight? A: Not really, light stretching.

Q: Who would you consider to be the best male and female sparrer, from past and present members, in the country, and why? A: Male - Mark Rounthwaite, his speed and control is a joy to watch. Colin Beard, I also think that he has developed into a very good sparrer, again his speed and control is good. Doesn't waste many techniques.


Name: Colin Beard

Age: 25

Rank: 1st Dan

Club: Papakura

Instructor(s): Mr Paul McPhail

Year you started training: 1988

Q: When did you realise you had a talent for sparring? A: In the time that I have been training I have enjoyed the sparring side of our art more than some of the other sides. Participating in tournaments at Regional and National level over the years has brought me an element of success, which suggest to me that realization of any talent that I might have for sparring has been gradual, and over the years of participation.

Q: Do you prefer to train alone, or with a training partner? A: Almost always with a partner. I find it difficult to-find the motivation for solitary training, unless that training is bag work, which I enjoy. Practically any training I do is with a partner, normally in a club situation where I find that to get the most benefit from my training I should practise with students either superior to myself in skill or senior in rank, for motivational purposes.

Q: What was the first tournament you entered? A: The first tournament I entered was the 1989 Regionals. I can't remember how I went, but that I came third in green belt middle-weight sparring in the nationals of the same year.

Q: Please list some or-all of your tournament successes? A: Probably the best result I have had would be from the 1995 Auckland Regionals; Silver 1st dan patterns, Silver destructions, Gold middleweight sparring. 1994 Nationals; Gold destructions. 1996 Nationals; Gold middleweight sparring. It must be noted that since my black belt, grading in '91 I have participated at 1st dan level, I have not graded to 2nd dan due various commitments. The fact that this may give me an unfair advantage over other 1st dans ( not many of them would have been competing at 1st dan level as long as I have ) may make reluctant to participate in next years tournaments as fully as I have in the past.

Q: At the time of your success did you consider the other people in the tournament to be the best at the time? A: No, At times a competitor feels down by issues such as the number of people competing in certain divisions. This makes any `success' less worthy, and I'm sure practitioners of our art, with the integrity they posses, would agree. Take for example 1st dan middleweight sparring, three competitors from the Auckland region? This is a shocking turnout ( I won't say what year ) and one that lets down those who make the effort to compete. Generally though, those who do not compete are the best at the time, at Regional and National level. Unfortunately those practitioners who are well known as being amongst the best are often unable to compete for-whatever reasons, which detracts from any feeling of achievement

Q: What sort of training programme do you set yourself before an upcoming tournament? A: My preparation for upcoming tournaments would, I think, be considered a comparatively lazy one. I find that my preparation for Regional tournaments has no deviation from my normal weekly training routine, however for National tournaments I like to participate fully in the intense extra training programmes, not only for fitness but also for the real team-building involved.

Q: Do you change your diet in anyway to prepare for a tournament? A: No, I personally don't take per-tournament preparation to this point, but acknowledge it's importance to our more serious practitioners.

Q: What do you think makes a good sparrer? A: Good sparring comes from less theory, more practical.... that is to say that experience and time spent actually sparring, makes a good sparrer. A good sparrer needs to have a range of well rehearsed offensive and defensive attacks, reflexes, experience, the necessary level of fitness, confidence and the drive to win.

Q: Do you prefer sparring to any other activity practised in TKD? A Without a doubt. It develops fitness, provides us with the most realistic self-defense exercise in our regular training schedules and incorporates all of the Tenets that we train by. In watching certain sparring bouts a student can easily translate actions into actual use of the Tenets.

Q: Would you describe yourself as a defensive or as an offensive sparrer? A: A defensive sparrer. I think I have a wider range of defensive attacks ( counterattacks ) than offensive ones, use them more often with more confidence, and score with them much more often with offensive ones.

Q: What would you say is your greatest defensive and offensive skill? A: I think the amount of experience I have had in ITFNZ tournaments has shown me a wide range of sparring styles, and I find now that the sparring styles I come across become more predictable the more time I spend competing. A hugely different sparring style would be difficult to combat but-I don't think I come across that very much in current training. Knowing what your opponent is going to do, or attacking in such a way that you know how your opponent is going to respond can be very efficient ( e.g. counterattacks ), and this is a skill that I am continuously.

Q: Name the person(s) you think helped you develop the style or ability in sparring you now have. A: I think ultimately the person who developed the style or ability in sparring I have now, although it might not have been in a direct way, would be my Instructor. Training under someone of his capabilities has given me the motivation to keep pushing myself, not for recognition but for personal achievement. I couldn't describe myself as being the most religious of trainers, nor could I say I put in the most effort at club, but in some ways slacking off in effort can let down not only myself but to an extent, my Instructor. These reasons to keep up a reasonable level of effort in my training have indirectly contributed to my sparring ability today.

Q: Do you think it is good to copy another person's style of fighting? A: There is nothing wrong with copying another person's sparring style as long as you are not trying to copy it completely. It is very unlikely that another person's sparring style could be totally adopted and used successfully for a great length of time, there is too much variation between what different students are able to do well, and one technique that works brilliantly for one student may not be able to be used as well by another regardless of how much training is put in. I think it is good to copy another person's style of sparring in order to take from their style what you think is working for you and can be built on, and add these techniques to your own range of free-sparring techniques.

Q: Do you have any special exercise or warm-up you do before entering the ring for a fight? A: My pre-match warm-up consist of general warming up of the body prior to light stretching, and more general warming up followed by harder stretching. After that I try to keep moving to be warm when entering the ring, at the same time thinking about what I want to achieve to ensure I am in the correct frame of mind.

Q: Do you prefer full contact or touch contact sparring? A: Definitely full contact sparring. Touch Contact Sparring has a huge place in Taekwon-Do and rightly so considered the variety of skills that it encompasses and demands, but the realism and physical demands of Full Contact Sparring are, as far as I am concerned, a much more desirable style. There is very little Full Contact Sparring in the ITFNZ and I feel that this is not ideal.. But a student in the ITFNZ can not complain about this. There are clubs in our organisation that have incorporated a heavier style of Contact Sparring into their regular training syllabus and most of us have easy access to these clubs. For the real thing, there are occasional multi-style tournaments that will allow a student - to practice not only Full Contact Sparring against practitioners from other Martial Arts (for real practicality), and our students may attend these if they receive the appropriate approval from our organisation. I would like to see Full Contact Sparring make up 50% of the Sparring at club level for interested students.

Q: How do you overcome an opponent that you consider to be better than yourself? A: Spirit and Perseverance count for a lot in a situation such as this. A competitor would need to be very focused and fight an intelligent fight, trying to identify their opponent's strengths and weaknesses early on. It would also be very more important than normal to base your bout around the few techniques that you do very well, sticking to them and mixing them up in such a way as not to become predictable. An important thing to remember in a tournament situation is that the person in the ring with you is not your only opponent, you are also competing against yourself. Perform below your best and you only have let yourself down, but to the peak of your capabilities can only bring satisfaction, even in defeat.

Q: Who would you consider to be the best male and female Sparrer, from past and present members, in the country, and why? A: Male: Mr Steve Pellow (4th dan and Head Instructor of Papakura and Manurewa Infinity Clubs) as a Full Contact Sparrer. Mr Pellow's speed and power, and above all the technique that gives him this, make him an awesome Full Contact Sparrer, and one that I would not like to oppose in a Full Contact ring!

Mr Mark Rounthwaite (4th Dan) as a Light Contact Sparrer. As I'm sure most of our practitioners know, Mr Rounthwaite's speed in reverse technique, and the magnificent control he has in delivering some spectacular attacks make his bouts amazing to watch, with a level of skill we can only aspire to. Female I have unfortunately not had the privilege of seeing many of the top-class women's bouts from years past, and so have left this section.


Name: Chris Fitzgerald

Age: 26

Rank: 2nd Dan

Club: Tauranga

Instructor(s): James (Jumbi) Rimmer

Year you started training: February 1988

Q: When did you realise you had a talent for sparring? A: A talent for it, well I wouldn't call it a talent, more of a liking. I have always enjoyed sparring at tournament and club level, more so as a junior coming up in the ranks. The realisation may have come when I was able to chase Jumbi around the class during sparring.

Q: Do you prefer to train alone, or with a training partner? A: With a training partner, as I am a bit of a slack bugger and need to be helped er pushed along.

Q: What was the first tournament you entered? A: The Auckland Regionals as a green belt, but didn't do very well 1

Q: Please list some or all of your tournament successes? A: 3rd Red Heavyweight sparring Auckland Regional Tournament 1990, 1st Auckland Regional Tournament Team Patterns 1990 2nd N.Z Karate Association Champs open weight 1991 1st Red, Black tip H/Weight sparring Auckland Regionals 1991 1st Red, Black tip H/Weight sparring N.Z Nationals 1991 1st N.Z Sport Karate Nth Island Champs Under 85kg 1992 1st Black belt H/Weight sparring Auckland Regionals 1992 3rd Destruction Auckland Regionals 1992 1st Full Contact Tournament 1993 1st 2nd Dan Open Weight sparring N.Z Nationals 1995. Q: At the time of your success did you consider the people in the tournament to be the best at the time? A:-No, Not all the time, especially when I had been a black belt for a year or so and as a 2nd dans because I knew of a few people I considered better than myself that hadn't entered for one reason or another.

Q: What sort of training programme do you set for yourself before an upcoming tournament? A: Constant club training and getting together other times with members for tournament sparring practice, plus I find practising patterns is good for fitness.

Q: Do you find it hard to motivate yourself to train, if so how do you overcome this? A: Yes I do, But I enjoy helping the lower grades practice for tournaments so it gives me the motivation to train with them.

Q: Would you describe yourself as a defensive or as an offensive sparrer? A: Offensive, I find it hard to adequately defend myself, I would rather take a few shots and try and out score my opponent by using more techniques.

Q: What would you say is your greatest defensive and offensive skills? A: Defensive - I try to block whatever the technique and counter attack with a jab, punch followed by a front kick. Offensive - Fake a pick shaped kick and do a turning kick off the front leg.

Q: Name the person(s) you most think helped you develop the style or ability in sparring you now have? A: I have borrowed a lot of techniques from other people, but sparring at club with James Rimmer my instructor, Jon Sawden, Neil Livingstone and Chris Churchward would of helped most.

Q: Do you think it is good to copy another person's style of fighting? A: Copy move for move, no, because their style of sparring may not be practical for any number of reasons. But I do think it is OK to borrow or use techniques from other people that you like and think may help you, I personally have used a lot of other peoples techniques.

Q: Do you prefer full contact or touch contact sparring? A: I'd say touch, I don't mind slightly heavy contact as long as my opponent is of the understanding that if they want it that way I will oblige. I have tried full contact but I'd have to admit I find the thought of hurting someone not that appealing. The reason I entered a full contact fight was just to see if what I had learnt really worked, the outcome, yes it does.

Q: How do you overcome an opponent that you consider to be better than yourself? A: Confidence in yourself and a never say die attitude. Try not to let your opponent break your game plan, also try not to be to predictable.

Q: Do you change your diet in anyway to prepare for a tournament? A: No, I'm not up with all the health and fitness things, but then I haven't really had a good reason to, I enter tournaments just for fun.

Q: What do you think makes a good sparrer? A: Someone who has good vision, is able to read their opponent. Someone who is equally good on defense as well as offence, plus speed and timing is also important.

Q: Do you prefer sparring to any other activity practised in TKD? A: Yes, I would say sparring is the most enjoyable part of TKD for me, but I'm finding know that I'm paying more attention to my patterns to try and become better at them.

Q: Do you have any special exercise or warm-up you do before entering the ring for a fight? A: Not really, I just try and relax and stay loose, by shaking my arms and legs, also to warm up my muscles so as not to pull anything once I'm in the ring.

Q: Who would you consider to be the best male and female sparrer, from past and present members, in the country, and why? A: Male: David Sauvage would be the one who most stands out in my mind, his speed and timing is amazing, he fights the same no matter who his opponent is. Female: Colleen Sheldon is the one I would pick, her aggressive straight forward approach is good to see, it's a pity through injury she can no longer spar in tournaments.

In Conclusion

From what you have read, you will find most participants think along the same lines; as in methods of training and in sharing of information. Even by watching members of your own club you learn new things.

Just remember though, you don't have to tournament to be the best, just taking part and enjoying yourself is the most important thing, winning a medal is a bonus.




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