You’ve been training for a while, started learning your basic techniques and how to put a combo together, done some drilling and now it’s time to test your skills in real time. Get the big gloves out, its sparring time:
Regardless of what else you do in sparring you need to keep your guard tight. The first instruction the ref gives a fighter is ‘protect yourself at all times’ and it’s the same for sparring. Glue your gloves to your forehead and keep them tight.
Watch Your Opponent
While you’ve got your guard up watch your opponent, there’s different opinions about where you should be looking and you’ll find the one that works for you, but you need to keep your eyes on them. Look for openings to throw your attacks and incoming strikes you can counter. This is helped when you get used to not flinching – we wrote a guide to this the other day.
One of the keys to sparring is to try and stay relaxed; you’ll use up less energy, your strikes will be sharper and you’ll enjoy sparring a hell of a lot more if you take a few calming breaths and stay chilled.
Try Out Techniques
The whole point of sparring is to test out your skills and what you’ve learned in class. Trying different techniques will let you figure out what works for you, what’s effective and what you struggle with, all of which can factor into your normal training and lead to improvement.
It’s not a fight
This is the MOST important one on this list. You’re sparring, not fighting for a world title. That’s your team mate, not your opponent. You’re trying to hit them, and we all know that we aren’t playing tiddlywinks, but if you’re trying to hurt the person you’re sparring with then you’re the asshole.
We hope these tips are helpful to you when you start sparring, once you get used to it it’s one of the most effective forms of training. Have we missed anything off? Did you find anything really helpful? Let us know in the comments