Martial Arts Sparring: Basics You Need To Know

Martial Arts Sparring

Martial Arts Sparring

If you want to be a great  martial artist, martial arts sparring should become part of your daily practice. If you want to know more about sparring and its importance  keep reading.

When it comes to Martial Arts, sparring is fundamental. To turn you into a versatile and strong fighter… You should hit heavy bags, free standing bags, thai pads, punching dummies, hand mitts, practice katas or pumses till you fall apart… but without the practice of sparring you won´t get the skills necessary  for a real fight. Sparring will give you timing and distance sence. It will get you in top physical and mental condition. Don´t deceive yourself, if your goal is to be a great martial artist, you have to include sparring in your training routine, period.

There are four main things that you should know about sparring to progress fast.

Time to star sparring…? Remember… your main goal is to learn, not to beat the shit out of your opponent. If you keep this in mind it will be easier for you to stay calm an relaxed, it´s also very important to choose the right sparring partner and equipment. Combine all this together and you will learn faster than the average Joe.

In martial arts, sparring is training, is practice, is a way to  improve your ability as a fighter. Keep in mind that your objective is to learn, not to outperform your opponent. This may sound counter intuitive. But it is very important that you remember this and  get rid of any ego issue that you may have. Why? because if  your objective is to outperform your sparring partner you will tense up and your movements won´t be as smooth as they should. You wont try new techniques and you will only work on the things that you feel comfortable at. Therefore relax and concentrate on learning.

Martial Arts Sparring – The Right Way

Approach sparring with learning in mind, without caring about what others may think. If you do, you will be relaxed and willing to try new things. Work on your defense, your offense, your weaker points, your timing, your distance… see where I am going. Get out of your comfort zone. With time and diligent practice, this approach will turn you into a more versatile more skillful martial artist.

Keep calm and relaxed! As we said earlier… this is just a learning experience. A simulation of the real thing, but not the real thing, OK? 
Just like an airplane pilot who has to spend countless hours on a fly simulator before he can fly an airplane. So will you grasshopper! The more your spar the better fighter you´ll become. No secret here. But if you are unable to keep calm and relaxed during the simulation… how are you going to keep your composure and use all your resources during the real fight?

A trick that will help you accomplish this task is to repeat mentally the word “relax” while you are sparring. It sounds stupid, but it works! Other thing that will help you to be relaxed,  especially if you are a beginner, is to choose the right partner. Basically you can divide the population found in the gyms into two categories.

First we have those that like to beat the shit out of everybody and second you have those that just want to be the best that they can be. The are more types… but those two types are the ones that take the practice more serious, and usually the more skillful. If you are a beginner avoid the first type like the plague, they will do you no good.

Choose the second type, you will recognize them because they love to practice and they like to teach, so when you spar with them, they let you work and do your thing, they won take advantage of your lack of skills…
This is very important if you are a beginner… you will get rid of your main concert: to get hurt… that way you can concentrate on developing your skill.

Pretty soon you will feel more comfortable and gain more confidence. Once you have a certain skill level, you should spar with as many different  types of martial artist as you can. Tall, shorts, fast, strong… any kind! The more diverse people you spar the better you will become…
If you want to become really good… approach sparring as a learning experience. I  can´t stress this enough! Work at your weaker points and develop you stronger ones.

How to Avoid Injuries While Sparring.

One last thing but not for that less important. Choose the right equipment. Not much have to be said about this. But as important as it is, I still see people sparring without the appropriate equipment. 
Think about it, without the right equipment you can injure yourself or your partner. And nothing will stop your progress faster than an injury.

Always make sure that your equipment is top quality and stays in prime condition. When you are about to get your martial arts sparring training equipment make sure that it is of great quality, and feels comfortable. Don´t get your equipment because it´s cheap, it usually deteriorates very fast and at you´ll end up expending more money than necessary. If you need it, look for advise.

Now that you understand the importance of  approaching sparring as a learning experience. The importance of keeping calm and relaxed. Know how  choose the right partner according to your skill level and use adequate martial arts training equipment . You´ll see sparring in a whole new light.  Now go to the gym, train hard and pretty soon, with the practice of sparring in your choosen martial arts style, you will develop the skills to fight any oponent.

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