The purpose of sparring is to promote the use of sparring as a vehicle of learning.
Some of the advantages of sparring is that if your goal in the martial arts is that of the combat aspect, sparring is the first step to take to see how much you actually have developed in your body mechanics and what you need to work on.
There is no "cheating" in how you actually perform. This is where you can actually find out the truth if your "stuff’ actually "works". The disadvantage is obvious; there is a chance of someone getting hurt.
Let me be the first to say, SPARRING CAN BE DANGEROUS! Especially if you are training with people who like to go that bit heavier. Not everybody should take this step in his or her martial arts training. First off, I would like to say that it is not a wise decision to just walk out there using little or no pads for protection.
There are certain steps that can be progressively taken to better prepare you for Freestyle fighting. First, watch a couple of fights and decide is this something that you would like to pursue. If it isn't DON'T DO IT.
If you don’t believe that your skills are adequate, find someone that has them, preferably someone that has done this type of fighting or training if that is what your goal is. Remember that the magic words are, "IT DEPENDS ON WHERE YOU WANT TO TAKE IT". Anyway assuming that you have the skills, or are learning them, and feel ready to take the next step, here are some ideas for you to work on.
Before you start, order some good quality sparring gear, the dipped foam variety or proper boxing type gloves, set some basic rules, like when one guy says stop, you stop. Decided and discuss how much contact is involved.
Now start working on the drills you have been practicing in the air and in your classes, go at it for about two minutes. The tricky part here is that you have to be realistic and have a realistic partner. Realistic meaning that both participants are visualising that this is a real fight and in realising this you are both not taking risks and doing unrealistic things. Assuming of course you are preparing yourself for street freestyle.
After you have done this a few times start by working individual drills with a single move, and progress into multiple moves in your work out.
For example you can isolate a right punch and add in angle # l. One guy can feed nothing but the first punch and first angle, eventually progressing to the same angle as a follow through or as a retracting jab. Eventually you add feints. After you have got a pretty good feel for this combination try moving to kicking drills only. Work the same progression.
Next try the same combinations using fakes, follow-through, jabs, and some footwork. You can work through all the angles this way if your picking up fast and have the time to work on this. Each step should probably take some time, depending on what you’re looking for. Everyone is different.
If you like, you can even take the same course of action using kick punch combinations. Work on these types of drills as long as you feel you need to. At no time should you step out on the mat if you don’t feel comfortable in your skills to protect yourself. There is no lying here, guaranteed to be only the truth as it stands for you.
You will know when you did something wrong when you feel it. And you may curse everyone that told you that this or that are guaranteed to work, but have never taught you how to do it, while factors like power, speed, fear, adrenaline, feints, etc, etc, are coming into play. Anyway back to the point. You may want to continue at this level for some time. For progression, look at your strong and weak points, and work on them. Learn something new each time you step on the mat, and refine the movement you already have, remember it takes many hours of repetition training to learn anything new.
Is a weak point your defensive skills?
Is a weak point your offensive skills?
Are your kicks accurate?
Are your punch’s accurate?
Do your kicks have enough power?
Do your punch’s have enough power?
Are your punch’s weak?
Are your kick’s weak?
Are your elbows to high exposing your ribs?
Are your elbows to low exposing your head?
Have you got hit on your left hand or elbow yet?
Have you got hit on your right hand or elbow yet?
How about your rear leg?
How about your front leg?
Are you open to being swept?
Are you open to being grabbed?
It should also be about this time that you are figuring out just how much the human body can take in punishment in certain areas. You should be considering this as you start to work on your attacks and what you want to accomplish.
You always want to fight with someone better than you, stronger and faster than you, so that you have someone constantly pushing you to develop the necessary skills to fight with. Remember that throughout all of this it is still nice to go back to the BASICS so that you can "try " new things out and not get hurt doing so.
The main thing is that you reach your goals, and become realistic about what you are doing and the reason for doing it.
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