In Some Ways, Point Fighting is More Difficult than Full Contact Fighting.
Before anyone gets their gi bottoms in a bunch, first let me define what I think point fighting is. A good point fight is when two martial artist agree to the rules and face each other in an honest match. Some may fight with a "dogged "spirit and others might use finesse or "chess like" tactics. Either way, striking techniques are thrown with full power but do not fully penetrate into the opponent--resulting in little or no harm done to either participant.
How is this possible?
First, "throwing" a strike with full power only to pull it back inches (or less!) before making contact is an extremely difficult thing to do. (this is if rules say no contact, in some cases medium or heavier contact is enforced). Also, it would seem pulling a strike goes against what she or he does in a contact art.
In a good point fighting match participants are snapping back their strikes at a high rate of speed either right before or just after contact is made. Regardless of the level of contact, this takes practice and professionalism. Arguably, when rules are strictly enforced, point-style of fighting can be more difficult than full contact fighting.
What are some of the benefits of point fighting?
Some martial artist may think point fighting creates a "bad" habit of pulling strikes and not hitting your opponent. I disagree. When artists practice point fighting they are honing and calibrating their strikes and combinations. The ability to deliver strikes precisely and deliver them first is vital for self defense. Also, striking full power and snapping back from the target trains the karateka to be relaxed throughout the fight. This as an important component in self defense because a relaxed body can deliver devastating penetrating power.
Point fighting is also a excellent way for martial artists to train in free fighting without risk of injury. Many fighters complain of injury in the dojo or gym because sparring partners are fighting without control. Sparring partners may " go all out" and injure their fighting partners or may be too slow and lumbering which is also not good for each other's training. Point fighting gives the feeling of a rigorous match without all the fight ending injuries.
So in summary, point fighting has its place in an Okinawan Karate Dojo. One just needs to put the point fight in context to begin to see how the training calibrates and relaxes mind and body.
Thanks for reading.
Sensei Jon Oshita