I need to find a place with a large emphasis on sparring. There seems to be none in my area. How the F am I supposed to learn how to fight?

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These past couple years I've done some Gym hopping. I know the basic punches and kicks and I've done padwork and bagwork up the wazoo.

I guess this is where a person would normally say "I understand these things are important BUT.."

Only here there is none of that. Because I'm no closer to being confident in my ability to defend myself than when I started training. I haven't been exposed to pressure.

Every place I was in had some variation of the "you will die in sparring unless you've mastered everything first so we can't let you" mindset. Obviously that's not exactly what they tell me. It's what they mean though.

I don't care. Even if it's just shoulder tap sparring.. even if I get my butt kicked a bunch.. that'll still be better than nothing. Because at least then I'll be getting comfortable with throwing shots at a person.

At this point I'm too scared of people. Other humans to me look like impossible stone golums that can't be hurt. By comparison, I feel like getting hit once will result in my immediate death. Logically, I know that this is not true.. but I feel like it is and it gets in the way every time another person so much as gives me an annoyed look. I freeze.. so easily.

Even just defending myself a little bit would be a massive help. But all the places around me seem to want to hold me back. And know I can say this without it being "ego" or whatever because.. they're insistent on holding me back. It's a FACT lol.

lately I'm just incensed with my options. All I want more than anything is to be confident in the danger I can pose to a person if need be. I keep hearing "every gym is different" from people who have trained at places with a heavy emphasis on pressure-testing. LMAO not around here! That's for sure!
 

Dirty Dog

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So let me make sure I have this straight... You're saying that not one of the hundreds (thousands?) of schools in your area will let you spar? That seems unlikely...
 

Flying Crane

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It is possible that all the gym-hopping that you have done means you havent spent enough time in one place for them to decide that they can trust you in sparring. There needs to be trust when it comes to sparring, to know that the people you are working with have the respect and the CONTROL over their techniques to not actually injure you in sparring. You may have spent a lot of time (so far) on pad and bag work. But that does not mean you can control it well enough to not injure your sparring partners. Sparring should be conducted in a way in which people learn and grow from it without serious injury. It should not simply be a contest to see who can beat down the other. It takes time to show that you are capable of that control and have the proper mindset to safely engage in sparring. Perhaps none of the schools you have attended have decided yet that they can trust you, because you dont stick around.

In addition to this, not everyone believes that sparring is the pinnacle of martial training. Other approaches to training view sparring as less essential in developing viable defensive skills. You may see sparring as essential, or desirable, and that is ok. If so, then it makes sense for you to find a school that engages in it, because that is where you will be happiest. But just understand, not everyone views it the same way.
 
OP
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Where do you live? What styles have you tried? How long do you stick with a school before switching because they won't let you spar yet?
Waterloo NY.

-Muay thai
-Dutch Kickboxing
-Standard Kickboxing
-Boxing.

Longest I've spent at a place was a couple months (the Dutch Kickboxing place).
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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Waterloo NY.

-Muay thai
-Dutch Kickboxing
-Standard Kickboxing
-Boxing.

Longest I've spent at a place was a couple months (the Dutch Kickboxing place).
It's fairly standard for a place to wait somewhere between 3-6 months to start training you. Particularly in something that can do hard sparring like the styles that you mentioned.

I'd bet that if you hadn't spend a couple years gym hopping and stuck with the first place you liked, you'd have been sparring for a while now.

My recommendation is to just ask a coach before you start what the timeline is to start sparring, and let them know right from the get-go that that's what you're interested in. And suck up the months not sparring so you don't spend years not sparring like you've done so far.

Edit: I think some people on here have trained/live near there..not sure which ones are still active though. Hopefully one of them will come in and comment.
 
OP
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So maybe you should stay in one school longer than it takes to walk in and walk back out?
The answer to your question is "no." At least for the Dutch Kickboxing place. There was a guy there who had been training for a year and they still didn't let him spar.

Dutch Kickboxing Mcdojo. Imagine that.
 

Dirty Dog

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The answer to your question is "no." At least for the Dutch Kickboxing place. There was a guy there who had been training for a year and they still didn't let him spar.

Dutch Kickboxing Mcdojo. Imagine that.
Wow. You sure learned an amazing amount about the other students in your 5 minutes there.
Maybe if you learned more about what they're teaching and less about the other students?
 
OP
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Wow. You sure learned an amazing amount about the other students in your 5 minutes there.
Maybe if you learned more about what they're teaching and less about the other students?
What so I should just ignore red flags.. like a moron?
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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I would but I always freeze and my body rejects any attempts I make at striking the other person.
You'll probably have to work on that. Maybe one-on-one with a coach. If they see that you're unable to strike someone, they're not going to allow you to spar...why would they? Looks like general class sparring isn't what you need yet.
 
OP
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You'll probably have to work on that. Maybe one-on-one with a coach. If they see that you're unable to strike someone, they're not going to allow you to spar...why would they? Looks like general class sparring isn't what you need yet.
I've done shoulder/body-tap sparring successfully before. Granted I had no idea what I was doing, and I'm sure the guy I was doing it with saw oodles in opportunities to KO me but still. That's why I say it would be better than nothing. Because I can actually start there.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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I've done shoulder/body-tap sparring successfully before. Granted I had no idea what I was doing, and I'm sure the guy I was doing it with saw oodles in opportunities to KO me but still. That's why I say it would be better than nothing. Because I can actually start there.
Again, that's something that you have to talk with a coach about when you first go somewhere. Make sure that they know your issues, otherwise they won't know to work with you on it, and you'll end up wasting time (causing the frustration you're feeling now).

If you asked to train with me and told me about that issue, I'd start you off with slow sparring just with me where I give you opportunities to hit me, and we'd slowly ramp up the speed and power. But if you didn't, I'd train you the same way I've trained others, which doesn't really involve sparring for a couple months. And then I'd discover this issue and have to start almost from scratch on the problem (and a lot of people running larger classes don't really have time for that, and can tell you that if you talk to them in the beginning).

If you can afford it, private classes/staying after classes to work on it might be the most realistic way to go.
 
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