3 Step Sparring

Sambo Matsoki

Three step sparring is designed for the beginner to learn distance, focus and movement using basic techniques. Correct technique and movement are much more important than speed and power (certainly at a junior level). This is the first time junior students will have faced a ‘real’ opponent, so controlling the power/speed of attacks and blocks in accordance with their experience is important.

3 step sparring is quite formal – all movements should be ‘pattern like’. Nothing should be rushed. Correct stances, knee spring, attacking and blocking movements are paramount.

There are 6 pre-arranged attacks, defenses and counter attacks. For each, the attacker moves forwards 3 times, attacking on alternate sides. The defender moves backwards 3 times, blocking on alternating sides. The defender then performs the counter attack, always with a kihap.

All attacks start with a measure by the attacker. Proper measuring is very important and will always be assessed in gradings. Without proper measuring, 3 step sparring becomes ineffective. For this reason the measure should never be rushed.

After the measure, the attacker always steps back into parallel ready stance, then back into left walking stance, low section outer forearm block. Care should be taken in not moving the front (left) foot backwards at this point, as this will affect the measurement.

The defender always starts in parallel ready stance.

Note: Before attack 1 only, after the measure and return to parallel ready stance, both students bow to each other, then return to ready stance. The attacker then steps back into left walking stance low outer forearm block, ready to begin.

The attacker ‘kihaps’ when ready to attack; the defender ‘kihaps’ when ready to defend.

It is essential that the attack is on target. There is sometimes a tendency to attack wide to avoid the block, however this defeats the object of the exercise.

Important: Ensure the distance from your opponent is always correct; this is established with the initial measure. Check foot positions during attacks when practicing.