Yesterday I had my first 'advanced' standup class with the head coach. Fitness and drills were a breeze (although I had one partner who didn't know the meaning of striking 'drill' and decided to hit my face instead of my gloves used as pads everytime) but sparring for the first proper time intrigued me. Sparring was a majority of the actual class I might add. Overall, considering I was against larger and considerably more experienced strikers, I don't think I did too bad, although I had some glaring flaws. Good things I did: - I swat a front kick out and followed with a spinning back kick which landed - Overall my leg kick game was working quite well - I took advantage of cramming my partner with body shot flurries and disengaging kicks - I weaved some big hooks and followed with side kicks. - I kept good distance - I escaped kick catches effectively with minimal damage Bad Things I did: - I used angles poorly, I was always open to straight shots and once I got jabbed all the way down to eating a hook. - I didn't take good advantage of the distance I had - My guard was too relaxed and body kicks were encouraged against me - My combo defense was poor: I didn't completely shell nor did I long guard, and I ate a fat overhand right - I didn't use enough head movement and stood too tall for the attacks coming against me - I had too much of a must Thai strategy to sparring, too slow and too still for the combos and volume I was up against - I had a hard time hitting anybody's face - I fought like a tall person, not the opposite Things I know I can fix - - I have to fight like a short person : I was doing very well when I was the up-close aggressor, and somehow I shelled perfectly in clinch range while I was suffering and middle distance. - in turn, I need to utilise a peek-a-boo in-and-out strategy - I need to commit to either a proper long guard or shelling up and dodging - I have to not be afraid of causing some pain to my partner: this caused me to only go 50℅ speed on my leg kicks which I need to get over. I'm more of a softie than you think. - I have to put in 100℅ effort. I don't even know why I wasn't operating at 100℅ speed when I could. Other than the critical flaws I have properly identified, I believe I have a solid game and a great bit of athleticism. The introduction of sparring has changed my training to be more dynamic and lucid, and what's not taking several punches to the face?