When it comes to what helps you get better at Muay Thai, sparring is often considered to be at the top of the list. Though the idea of sparring can be intimidating for some, for many students, it is one of the most fun and exciting aspects of Muay Thai. And it’s not hard to see why – sparring is an opportunity to put what they’ve learnt to the test while helping them to discover their weaknesses.
Today, Evolve Daily gives your 5 Tips To Take Your Muay Thai Sparring To The Next Level. Whether you’re new to Muay Thai, or an experienced student of the art, these tips will definitely help you!
Unless you’re a seasoned fighter, chances are, you’ll find yourself feeling really tense and nervous during sparring. Learning to relax is the most important thing you need during sparring but it is also often the most difficult, especially if you’re just starting out. Being relaxed will allow you to defend comfortably, strike efficiently, and be less fatigued.
Tip: Focus on breathing and make sure you aren’t tensing up your muscles. Keep your strikes nice and loose. With that said, remember never to go 100% in sparring. Beginner or not, you should always control your strength to make sure you that you’re improving your techniques instead of developing bad habits.
2) Work on your defense
Perhaps the most underrated aspect of Muay Thai is its defense. The art of Muay Thai has become so popular for its offense that even its most fervent practitioners forget the value of its defense. This goes for students during sparring as well.
Sometimes, students focus so much on how to attack that they completely disregard the importance of how to defend effectively. Having good defense will you give you confidence in sparring and also make your opponent think twice about his or her offense.
Tip: Footwork, keeping your hands up, blocking, and most importantly, staying relaxed; these are all things that will help you improve your defense. So take a couple of rounds in sparring class to focus on them instead of worrying about whether you’re scoring with strikes.
3) Drop your ego
No one likes a sparring partner with a big ego who doesn’t know how to take a hit. Don’t be that person! Learn to drop that ego and don’t let your emotions get the better of you. The faster you accept the fact that you’re going to get hit and lose a couple a rounds in sparring, the faster you’ll grow and develop in Muay Thai. So don’t worry about “looking bad”, just learn and have fun!
Tip: When you get hit or outsmarted by your sparring partner, don’t get worried or worked up about it. Focus on your defense and try different strategies. If none of them work, come back the next time and try again! With this attitude you’ll only get better and better each time. You can also approach your instructors for advice.
4) Focus on timing
Timing is everything in Muay Thai. However, it’s not easy to achieve good timing in your strikes if you aren’t relaxed and patient. Having good timing will ensure that you are scoring with every strike you throw and at the same time, keep you safe from attacks.
Tip: Observe and study the movements of your sparring partner. This will allow you to see when and where it’s best to throw a strike, combination or particular technique. Also, be patient and don’t strike if you’re not confident of it landing.
5) Watch fights!
As a great man once said: “Imitation is not just the sincerest form of flattery – it’s the sincerest form of learning”. Watching fights of your favorite Muay Thai instructors or fighters can go a long way in helping you get better in your own game. It gives you an idea of how the techniques you learn in class are applied at the highest levels competition. It can also give you ideas of new techniques and tricks to train for in sparring!
Tip: Get on YouTube and search for fights of your favorite instructors or fighters. Study and analyze the way the fighters move, defend, and execute techniques. Try them slowly during training and sparring and if you need help with understanding the technique, just ask your instructors!
Don’t forget, sparring is a two-way street, so make sure you cooperate with your partner so that both of you are learning and improving. Most importantly, train hard, attend class regularly, practice your techniques whenever you can, and have fun!