The Importance of Sparring

Sparring is the closest we can get to a real fighting situation and here is why it’s so important. Sparring is a daily activity at some martial art schools. At other schools sparring is a very rare activity. Some people love sparring and some people don’t. The bottom line is sparring is probably the most important training exercise there is and I'm very happy that our martial arts students from Southlake, Grapevine,Colleyville, Keller and Trophy Club participate in Taekwondo sparring sessions on daily basis.

If you want to learn to swim jump into the water. On dry land no frame of mind is ever going to help you.
— Bruce Lee

Why Is Sparring So Important

 Southlake's martial arts students sparring at testing.

Southlake's martial arts students sparring at testing.

Sparring is as real as it gets. It’s that simple. Sparring requires you to use every one of your attributes – forcing you to sharpen your skills and practice things like the controlling distance, timing, speed, agility and focus as well as cardiovascular and muscle endurance to name just a few.

Sparring is the nearest thing to a real fight, without actually fighting.

Benefits Of Sparring

Sparring will help you develop a greater understanding and application of the following skills:

  • Distance – How to control the distance between you and your partner.

  • Rhythm – How to break your opponents rhythm.

  • Timing – How to judge the timing of your opponent and know when to hit.

  • Combinations – How to land combinations while your partner moves forwards, backwards, sideways and tries to counter.

  • Footwork – How to move in, out and to the sides to strike or evade a punch.

  • Speed – You will learn how to use your speed to hit your opponent before they can block, as well as move quickly out the way of a strike.

  • Balance – You will learn to control your balance and center of gravity while in a fighting motion.

  • Reaction – You will improve your reaction times.

  • Focus – You will be forced to keep focus and concentrate on the fight without distractions. The second you switch off you will know about it!

  • Cardiovascular – Your fitness levels will have to adapt and will improve.

  • Muscular endurance – Your endurance and stamina will have to adapt and will improve.

  • Conditioning – You will learn to get hit and fake that it doesn’t hurt so you can carry on.

Why People Don’t Like Sparring

 Learning to respect your partner is a key to having a good time when sparring.

Learning to respect your partner is a key to having a good time when sparring.

People don’t like sparring because they aren’t confident with their abilities and are worried about getting hurt. This is usually because they don’t have a game plan. They don’t have the knowledge and experience to keep a solid defense game while “holding their own” and attacking their sparring partner.

Another reason why people don’t like sparring is because of their sparring partner. I have sparred some guys that hit as hard as they can, which doesn’t help either partner learn anything. On the flip side I have sparred with guys that don’t have a clue what they are doing – so I can pop off any shot I like and get through their defense.

Sparring is a training tool and if we are not learning anything then it’s a wasted exercise. If your partner is hitting too hard, you will never feel comfortable training different techniques as you will be worried about getting knocked out. If your opponent stands there clueless, then well, you might as well be hitting a punching bag.

Finding A Good Sparring Partner

Just like any other sport, a good partner can make all the difference. Find someone that you get along well with. Someone that is at the same level as you are and someone that has the same mind set as you. Talk about your sparring sessions and try to help each other become better. After all sparring is a training tool for improvement, not for your ego.

Be sure to set rules and mix up your sparring training!

 

 Sparring with friends creates long lasting relationships and really fun stories to share later.

Sparring with friends creates long lasting relationships and really fun stories to share later.

 

Article by Lamart. Reblogged from ProMMATraining.com