One of our most common questions from beginners at our gym is, “How do I improve my sparring?” In this post, we’ll talk about tips on how to spar better.
5 Tips to Improve Sparring
Breathe, Keep Breathing & Relax – It’s easy to get flustered when a fury of combinations is coming at your face for the first time. We understand you can also get tired quite easily when throwing punches. This is usually the case of not breathing properly, tensing up and just not believing in your Muay Thai. Have fun and play! Don’t think of sparring.
Proper Conditioning – Simply put, condition yourself! If you’re not coming to class regularly, you’re already setting yourself up for failure. Looking to turn it up a notch, start running 3-5km every day. Your body will thank you for it once you start sparring.
Shadow Boxing & Film Study – How often do you shadow box? Do you practice combinations outside of class? The more you practice combinations from class and bring it home, you will build your muscle memory. Oh and don’t forget defense!
How do you defend a low kick? Defend a hook? Do you counter after you defend? Even more importantly, are you watching Muay Thai fights? Studying how the pros do it can help reinforce your techniques in sparring and how to apply weapons to certain scenarios.
Focus on Learning, Not Winning – There’s no winning in sparring. You can win a round but that shouldn’t be the focus when you’re a beginner. Think about throwing every weapon and seeing how they land. Learn how to throw an easy combination and see what happens. If you throw a jab, what will your partner do? If you throw a double jab, followed by a kick, how will they react? Visualize what you want to practice before sparring.
Chin Down, Eyes Up – Beginners tend to keep their head completely up, exposing their chin. Keep your chin down – your forehead can take a nice pillow smack. Not everyone has an iron chin and nor should you test it. Many of us have day time jobs, stay focused and be safe when you spar.
Bringing It Back
Our focus at Etobicoke Martial Arts is to ensure everyone can learn and be safe. We encourage self study and constant conditioning outside of the class to fully reap the benefits of improvement in martial arts. Apart from what you see above, what other tips do you remind yourself and can share with others? Are you a veteran of sparring? If so, if you had to start sparring from scratch, what would you have done differently? If you can teach yourself good habits, and share it amongst your teammates, you will all benefit.