Things to consider when sparring

Sparring really is the only way to truly see where you’re at whatever the discipline. However it’s not something you should ever do too much of, due to the intensity and increased risk of injury and head trauma. So how can you maximise the sparring you do?

1. Have a goal and objective.

Yes, sparring is the chance to try all your skills, but go into the session with 1 main objective you want to accomplish. Sparring isn’t full blast, but its more than whatever live drill you’re doing in classes, so its a realistic way to try new skills. We call these +1’s, 1 objective to achieve.

2. Relax and stay composed.

Everything isn’t always going to go your way in a fight and when it’s not you need to know how to stay in the fight, by learning how to stay relaxed and composed and not panic. This is very hard to do at any other time in your training schedule. Being tense and stressed is exhausting, it takes up your energy and you’ll end up gassing out early, despite a good cardio base. For me personally this is the most fascinating part of combat sports and is the biggest mental hurdle, what happens when it get tough, do you quit or do you learn for it? You truly learn who you are under fire which can be a very humbling experience. So practice it!

3. Video your rounds.

Being in the fight its hard to self analyse your own technique, when things aren’t going your way it’s often easy to see what’s going wrong, not always, but this is especially if you’re having a good day, no-one landing shot, no-one out grappling you, however don’t get complacent. Theres always room for improvement. Often its until you see yourself back you see/realise the areas to improve on, even though your coach is calling it. Its a great way for self awareness and development.

4. Enjoy the process.

Preparing for any fight or tournament can be very stressful, especially if you’re having a bad day at the office, so be sure to enjoy the process. We’ve said it many times focus on the process and have fun. The team around you is key for this, they are your team mates and friends. You should remain respectful throughout, everyone is there to learn, grow and develop and pick you up if you’re down.

Finally it’s not always about winning and losing on the mats and in the gym, it’s about learning.

1 reply
  1. Rich Newman
    Rich Newman says:

    Good blog…Coming from a Muay Thai perspective.
    New guys should not be free sparring but doing active realistic drills instead. As stated it’s ‘a process’ straight into the fire normally leads to injury to yourself or partner as movements can be erratic as the brain tells the body it’s ‘Under attack’..which when it comes down to it that’s what is happening. You have to learn slowly. Build confidence, build timing. As Mike Tyson said ‘Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face!’, So true.
    In Muay Thai we have the ‘Thai poker face’ Which I won’t go into here but basically means, ‘Acknowledge, accept, carry on’, and enjoy it. If you don’t enjoy it don’t do it but your not really doing Muay Thai and don’t really know where your at if you don’t spar.


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