How do you spar someone who is faster than you?

Ivan

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I was at my local kickboxing gym and I feel that I have made some improvement in terms of being more aggressive in sparring. However, one of the instructors that I spar with is considerably faster than me - given that my main tactics when it comes to sparring are to outbox and rely on punishing jabs and just counter-punching in general, I find it very troublesome when my opponent's jabs are too fast for me to react to and sometimes even perceive. Furthermore, he also has a reach advantage over me so I have to close the distance. Unfortunately, this is quite tricky when I can't rely on my classic bait and punish tactics.

One thing that I noticed during my last round with him was that he relied very heavily on his lead hand. I started to notice that he was throwing a very similar combo each time, and so I started to land some shots by predicting his techniques. The first few times I failed, but once I started to focus on looking for a specific punch (his really wide lead hook) I managed to roll under it and almost land a good shot.

Rolling under the lead hook was a small victory for me because I have a very nasty habit of swaying or leaning back to dodge shots. Although this usually works, it's not good when I have to close the distance because it causes me to reset to the original distance. I have been told many times that I need to focus on closing the distance.
One of the things that I have been focusing on is cross-step straight punches, which allow me to close the distance quickly, but this does not always work. I feel that I need to focus on drilling my rolls as I almost never use them but I think they would be very helpful. Am I correct in this analysis? What drills can I do to focus on rolling under my opponent's punches? Any advice would be helpful. Thank you.

Also @Kung Fu Wang I have been applying your advice to jam my opponent's rear hands with their leads by circling to their lead hand, using lateral movement and pivots. I think it may have helped! It works best with pivots from experience. I was sparring last week, and due to a change in my mindset and aggression (due to another sparring session which I will make a post about) I was circling around my opponents constantly which made it very hard for them to get on the offensive and throw shots. Thanks for the advice.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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I was circling around my opponents constantly which made it very hard for them to get on the offensive and throw shots. Thanks for the advice.
Old saying said, "You may not find opportunity to attack. As long as you keep moving, soon or later you will find that opportunity." The footwork may require some energy out of you, but the reward is good.

The moment that your back foot line up with your opponent's both feet, you can attack right at that moment.
 
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wab25

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Timing beats speed.
I started to notice that he was throwing a very similar combo each time, and so I started to land some shots by predicting his techniques.
Notice his movements as well. You need to predict where he will be, and time your shot so that he arrives at the same position as your fist... at the right time. You can use your bait and punish tactics, provided you time the punishment part right. Learn how he takes your bait, then show the bait again, and start the punishment sooner.

I find it very troublesome when my opponent's jabs are too fast for me to react to
So, stop reacting to him. Give him something to react to. Even if you just side step, he has to turn... start your attack before he turns. Use a double jab or triple jab. Your jabs don't have to land, to get him to react. If you are moving, and jabbing (double and triple) and then moving again... you should be able get him to start reacting to you. Then time his reactions.

Fast guys are hard. Especially if they can hurt you. I used to be a fast guy, and enjoyed that. Then time caught up with me, and I am no longer a fast guy. I feel your pain. For me, I need to learn what they do, make them react to me and time them... while hoping for the best.
 

JowGaWolf

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given that my main tactics when it comes to sparring are to outbox and rely on punishing jabs and just counter-punching in general, I find it very troublesome when my opponent's jabs are too fast for me to react to and sometimes even perceive.
Welcome to reality. There's only one answer to this. "User your head." This is when fighting becomes like a game of chess. I'll give you a hint. Timing beats speed. Trust the old guys when they say that.

Even when someone is faster than you, you can always time a punch. If they are too fast to time the first punch then time the second punch.
Furthermore, he also has a reach advantage over me so I have to close the distance. Unfortunately, this is quite tricky when I can't rely on my classic bait and punish tactics.
Learn new ways to draw people in. "User your head." For example, learn to punch off center. This means your body is off the center line but your punch isn't.

Learn how to break your opponent's rhythm. Hit them as they are preparing to hit you. Best case scenario is that you'll hit them. Worse case scenario is that they will reset and will won't get a chance to throw the punch that they were preparing to hit you with.
I started to notice that he was throwing a very similar combo each time, and so I started to land some shots by predicting his techniques.
Do more of this. A lot more. For example, learn how to know when someone is about to hit you. You don't have to know what punch is coming. The only thing you need to be able to do is, to hit them when they look like they are about to hit you. It will break their rhythm and you'll get hit less because they will punch less.

Reacting is always slower than acting. Anyone who says differently is either wrong or intentionally feeding you nonsense.
1643848020421.png

Poppycock. I beg to differ. You are sir, are a stain on society, and your 100% correct. lol.

Fast good but many young fighters rely on it not for timing but for reaction speed. They want the punch to come so they can show off how fast and quick they are. Older guys will time that speed and start. Their start their movement on the opponents first punch so that the strike will be there before the second. It's one reason why I'm fine with getting hit with a punch or a kick as long as the damage isn't great. Young people may beat me with the first move, but if I "get wind" of that second move, then it's good as gold. lol

Disrupt his timing.
Definitely this. Even if Ivan doesn't have a shot for a solid hit, he should be "throwing wrenches in that clock." Once someone picks up your timing it can be a nightmare to get them off of you. I would even go as far as developing 2 timing patterns of my own. That way when the opponent catches onto one pattern, then he could switch to the other or switch back and forth between the 2.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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Disrupt his timing.
To be more detail - don't give your opponent enough space. Try to interrupt your opponent's punch during the initial stage (near your opponent's head, and not near your own head). This is why the long guard is superior than the short guard.
 

JowGaWolf

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ry to interrupt your opponent's punch during the initial stage (near your opponent's head, and not near your own head).
That's why I say punch the your opponent when he looks like he's ready to hit you. It doesn't matter which punch he's throwing because his punch hasn't left yet.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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That's why I say punch the your opponent when he looks like he's ready to hit you. It doesn't matter which punch he's throwing because his punch hasn't left yet.
Most of the time, people may play the following game:

- You punch me, I step back.
- I punch you, you step back.

When your opponent punches, you punch back (or you attack first), you then run him down. That's the best fighting strategy. The moment that you can create an opportunity and run your opponent down, the moment that your fighting skill has moved up to the next level.

You can only develop this strategy in continuous sparring. You can't develop it in point sparring.
 

drop bear

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Yeah. You can't see punches Coming at speed. A lot of avoiding punches has to do with intelligent pre empting the shot. So. Your footwork takes care of some of it. Your guard takes care of some of it and hopefully you can deal with the rest.

And pull counters. And parry counter jab.
 
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Ivan

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Welcome to reality. There's only one answer to this. "User your head." This is when fighting becomes like a game of chess. I'll give you a hint. Timing beats speed. Trust the old guys when they say that.

Even when someone is faster than you, you can always time a punch. If they are too fast to time the first punch then time the second punch.

Learn new ways to draw people in. "User your head." For example, learn to punch off center. This means your body is off the center line but your punch isn't.

Learn how to break your opponent's rhythm. Hit them as they are preparing to hit you. Best case scenario is that you'll hit them. Worse case scenario is that they will reset and will won't get a chance to throw the punch that they were preparing to hit you with.

Do more of this. A lot more. For example, learn how to know when someone is about to hit you. You don't have to know what punch is coming. The only thing you need to be able to do is, to hit them when they look like they are about to hit you. It will break their rhythm and you'll get hit less because they will punch less.


View attachment 28033
Poppycock. I beg to differ. You are sir, are a stain on society, and your 100% correct. lol.

Fast good but many young fighters rely on it not for timing but for reaction speed. They want the punch to come so they can show off how fast and quick they are. Older guys will time that speed and start. Their start their movement on the opponents first punch so that the strike will be there before the second. It's one reason why I'm fine with getting hit with a punch or a kick as long as the damage isn't great. Young people may beat me with the first move, but if I "get wind" of that second move, then it's good as gold. lol


Definitely this. Even if Ivan doesn't have a shot for a solid hit, he should be "throwing wrenches in that clock." Once someone picks up your timing it can be a nightmare to get them off of you. I would even go as far as developing 2 timing patterns of my own. That way when the opponent catches onto one pattern, then he could switch to the other or switch back and forth between the 2.
This is interesting. I feel that I am finally reaching a new level.
 

Wing Woo Gar

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Move and be unpredictable. Own the space. Keep him off balance. Disrupt his timing.
I really like owning the space. Circling and moving in and out on oblique angles works well for me. Putting my foot in the space the opponent intends to occupy seems to help by causing them to react. Of course Im not straight boxing so Im looking for the sweep or stomp there unless they yield the space.
 

JowGaWolf

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Of course Im not straight boxing so Im looking for the sweep or stomp there unless they yield the space.
Downside of boxing footwork. A lot of how we use footwork would be illegal in boxing. Because we would use footwork more like an attack than just movement.
 
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Ivan

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I actually use this counter, and it's one of my weaknesses. Although I apply it often and I do it really well, it has become a bit of a crutch, and it's instinctive to the point where it stops me from being able to close the distance to an opponent as I keep pulling backward.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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I really like owning the space. Circling and moving in and out on oblique angles works well for me. Putting my foot in the space the opponent intends to occupy seems to help by causing them to react. Of course Im not straight boxing so Im looking for the sweep or stomp there unless they yield the space.
CMA calls this "enter horse" that you step in between your opponent's legs.

ru_ma_1.jpg
 

Sifu Ken of 8 Tigers

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Matching movements is better than being faster, but if you can't keep up, you are probably using too much energy.

Smaller, economical movements will overcome someone faster than yourself.

And reducing isokinetic tension will make you both faster and more versatile on-the-spot, meaning much faster than you are otherwise.
 

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