Sparring: The Art of Fighting Without Fighting

We’re back with Argie, Green-White belt, theatre artist, and woman on the move, to talk about her experience with Xen-Do Martial Arts.

Argie originally came to Xen-Do in her on-going hunt for a fitness activity that had, as she put it, nothing to do with her work. She wanted something different, an activity that would give her the opportunity to burn off some stress, get her blood pumping, and give her a sense of accomplishment. Seven months of steady training saw her ascend to the Red-White belt, which opened up a new facet of Martial Arts training for Argie: sparring.

“I’m thinking of the big guy I sparred with last time, a Blue Belt,” She laughs. “He asked me where I’m from. I was like, I’m from Greece! What about you, where are you from? And he said, if you punch me really hard, I’ll tell you!”

“It was because I was too scared to punch him,” She admits casually, sipping her coffee. “So I don’t think he expected it when I did go for him, really hard, and his gum shield flew off! He was like, okay, okay, I’ll tell you, I’ll tell you!”

Art of Fighting Without Fighting

When she first joined Xen-Do, Argie was curious about sparring but didn’t know how to begin. Small in stature and a pacifist by nature, the sparring sessions looked far above and beyond her initial training goals. Would she be a nuisance? Would the Black Belts take her seriously?

But Argie has story after story of all the ways her classmates have encouraged her: the Blue Belt who dared her to hit harder, the Black Belt who asked when she was coming back to class and made her stick to it, the first Red Belt who spotted Argie’s Red-White belt and asked when she was going to start sparring.

“Correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s all part of getting the Black Belt, isn’t it? If you want to progress, you have to teach, pass on what you know. So I know when I work with higher belts in class that they’re genuinely interested in helping.”

Though she still struggles at times with nerves, she has grown to love the sessions. And as she becomes one of the high-grade students she once found intimidating, she finds herself passing on encouragement in turn.

“I believe in it. It’s helped me. So if I can help someone do something that’s helped me, I feel really good about that!”

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