Why we spar:
Before you begin sparring, you need to know what it should and should not be used for. It should be used as a tool to help a martial artist better his/her skills and build confidence in the techniques they have learned. It should not be used as a means to prove how tough you are. If you enter sparring with the wrong mindset, it will result in either you or your partners eventually getting injured and you definitely will not learn how to better your skills.
What to expect:
Understandably, novices who are sparring will feel a heightened level of anxiety at the thought of being hit and or looking awkward. Getting hit is an adjustment that most people need time to get used to. You can expect the members here to start you off with light contact and build you up to harder contact. If you find that you are getting hit harder that you would like, take a serious look at how hard you are hitting because your more experienced partners are probably mirroring your level of contact! The experienced members all love to help new practitioners but are not expected to be punching bags that don’t hit back.
Novices are encouraged to avoid sparring with other new people for the first time or two so they can get the anxiety they have under control. It takes time to build trust with somebody and know what level of contact they are okay with. Generally, it is a good idea to ask the instructors who it is okay to spar with until you know everybody.
Nobody can read your mind so make sure to tell them how you are feeling. There is no shame in asking for lighter contact. When people get quiet during sparring it often shows that they feel either afraid or they are becoming angry. If somebody lands a good shot that you don’t mind, it’s always a good idea to tell them, “Nice one!” or “Good shot.” You are letting them know that you are okay with the level of contact by giving them those constant little verbal cues. Anytime you begin to feel emotional during sparring you should stop before it gets out of control. Simply tell your partner that you think you need a break and they will understand.
Overall, sparring is geared to be fun and safe for all members who wish to give it a try regardless of their skill level. There are people who wish to test their skills and we encourage them to, however, that level of intensity should be reserved for competition. Sparring is the tool to prepare you for that test, not the vehicle for it. While certain members enjoy some stiff contact, you absolutely must observe who those people are and respect the other’s limits. Most of us have jobs to return to after training and do not need black eyes and cracked ribs to return with.
The purpose of this blog
This blog is intended as a place to discuss ideas relevant to both both martial arts and life in general. Our school doesn't exist with the sole purpose of making great fighters but also of helping its members develop themselves into great people. The entries are about sharing ideas. I will not spend much time editing grammatical errors so please try not to let it drive you crazy when you come across them!