Sparring is like a conversation between you and your partner. It’s the most intense, exciting kind of conversation you can have without using any words. And the best part is that you’ll deepen your martial arts practice and emerge a better fighter after every sparring session.
Whenever you spar, you’re improving your technique and complementing all those hours of skipping rope, running, and drills. What’s more, you’ll get a much clearer idea of timing and distance, while acquiring the necessary skills for a real fight.
Are you ready to get the most out of every sparring session? Today, Evolve Daily shares 6 Things to Keep in Mind When Sparring:
1) Always have a goal
Without a game plan, your sparring session would not be productive. This is because you wouldn’t know what you specifically want to focus on and achieve.
If you’re a beginner and aren’t sure what areas to work on, feel free to ask your instructors for advice – and then use that advice to figure out what you want to achieve. Is it to keep your hands up at all times? To get specific techniques right? Think about it before and during the session.
When it’s over, talk to your sparring partners and instructors to find out what you did well, and learn about the areas you can improve on. You can then develop a game plan based on their feedback, and ultimately work on getting better.
2) Don’t worry about winning or losing
One of the most important things to remember when you’re sparring is that there are no winners or losers in sparring. So you don’t have to go all out and try to kill your partner. The purpose of sparring is to deepen your martial arts practice and ultimately become a better fighter – not to deliver a knockout punch, or destroy your partner!
Also, it helps to leave your ego behind and not worry about how you look during sparring. Yes, this includes the times when you have to tap out or end up getting hit more than you’re hitting. In fact, those are the moments that actually help you to learn and grow the most.
3) Keep calm, relax and breathe
We understand that when you start sparring, it can be pretty nerve wrecking and overwhelming because you just don’t know how to handle the situation. Unfortunately, this might cause you to tense up. However, when you don’t relax and breathe while sparring, you’ll slow down your reaction time and this would affect your performance.
Sparring in a tense state would also cause you to move clumsily, and this would definitely hinder your strikes and defense. Once you learn to relax while sparring, you’ll notice that your movements are much more controlled and fluid.
4) Be creative, and try new combinations
When you start sparring, you should focus on getting all your basics right before progressing to more advanced techniques. However, that doesn’t mean you should keep striking with the same combination. Instead, why not mix and match your basics to form new combinations?
Apart from keeping your partner guessing, mixing it up would help you to be able to execute various combinations and think on your feet. Hence, you’ll learn to adapt to all kinds of situations and be unpredictable while sparring.
5) Don’t be afraid to spar with different people
While it might be scary to bump fists with people you’ve never sparred with before, it’s totally worth it. When you change sparring partners, you’re actually enabling yourself to respond, adapt, and react to a variety of fighting styles.
Also, you’ll learn much more from people who are at a higher level – so don’t be afraid to pair up with them. In fact, you should seize the opportunity and step out of your comfort zone. After all, facing your fears and overcoming them would help you get stronger.
6) Have fun!
All of us at Evolve Daily believe that this is the most important thing to keep in mind when you’re sparring. After all, sparring should be a fun way for you to learn how to use the techniques you learned in class and elevate your game.
At the end of the day, it’s important to always respect your sparring partner and not treat him or her as a human punching bag – because you’re all there for the same reason: to learn, grow, and become a better martial artist. So train hard, and make every sparring session count!