Sparring tips



Greetings all,

Just wanted to get some sparring tips.. Had a sparring class tonight.. I was so exausted after like 2 min.. I can't understand why i can go 10 min in a kicking session.. but as soon as we start sparring.. im toast after 2-3 mins.. any suggestions..

any would be appreciated...

Thanks in advance!
simple - sparring is harder than kicking. You heart rate is elevated, you are making a LOT of unnecessary motions (everyone does), norepinephrine is pumping blood to your extremities, using up your oxygen, and building up lactics.

There is only one way to get better at this, is more conditioning (running/bike riding/skipping - personally, i recommend riding and skipping - running is a punishment for marriage in some countries) and more sparring.



P.S. Windsor is a great town - spent some time there last year, and i have some wrestling buddies there.
Conditioning matters! Try to shadow-box (martial arts style) for as long as you can until you can do it as long as you need to in class. Do it on non-class days for a while.

You might also ask in the Tae Kwon Do forum if it's that type of sparring, or in the Muay Thai forum if it's harder!

Thanks to all for giving me some tips.... I'm still recently new at the art.. but.. I do indee apprectiate the advice. I will have to start beating up my cats more often to get some practice at home.(kidding)
Conditioning is a big thing. Besides developing a cardiovascular base with shadowboxing, running, rope skipping, etc. You may also try interval-type workouts to mix it up and increase the intensity. Here's one example of a workout I did last week:
1. Ran around block (about half a mile) at medium pace.
2. When I got into my house, I did 20 squats, then ran around block again, I cycled through these exercises:
a. Push-ups for 30 seconds
b. Straight blast for 30 seconds
c. Bicycle crunch for 30 seconds
3. I maybe took a couple seconds to take a quick drink, but then got back out to run. I did that for about 25 minutes. Usually, I can run longer, but throwing in the calisthenics really wore me down.

Also, for sparring, as you get better you will be more efficient. Your moves will be more purposeful and you won't expend too much wasted energy.

Have fun!

i always find that if i think of sparring as more of a game and a test of skill then i have more fun then i don't notice tiredness.

Try to concentrate on outwitting your opponent and relaxed movements in attacks.

think Bruce Lee's fluidity and his use of broken rhythm.

When I spar or fight I like to use my kicks outside and punches
inside. When I'm inside I try to make my punches short and strong
so I can make my opponent back off. If my opponent starts to back off I make them pay with a roundhouse off the back leg, then
a roundhouse with the front. But it depends on how the fight, you
have to adopt yourself as the fight change.

Thank You


Thanks for the advice... it's always apreciated!! :asian:
Relax. Relax your muscles when you fight. If you are tense your heart will have to work harder supplying blood to your muscles. Don't dance around much. It is unnessecary movement that takes energy. Remember your breathing, try and control it. You should be able to lower your heart rate within 30 seconds if you regularly practice your breathing exercises. And have fun. Don't take it so seriously. If you are to serious then you will have a tendancy to stiffen up. Remember, sparring is not about winning or loosing. Its about working on your personal skills and abilities. I tell my students that they are not fighting against each other but against themselves. If you are loose and relaxed, even in a rel fight you will see more openings and opportunities.
Thanks for the advice H@pkid0ist....

I have gotten better and yes i do have fun with it when I spar...
With more time.. im sure it will become easier and easier..

Thanks again...
if you are new to sparring you probably have alot of tension that will go away with practice, also for me kicking isn't nearly as tirring as punching, so I like to use kicks as much as posable (I don't know what rules you guys have in effect when sparring), I like to use kicks in with the punching combinations and if I start getting worn down I like to stay outside and keep distance with longer kicks. Also if grappling is legal in your sparring some times when you get tired it's easyer to just throw the person down if they are trying to box you.
Ya.. we use mostly kicks... we do some punching..but then again this is in just regular class.. i have yet gotten the nerve to go to the sparring class on Sat.. where we put on all the gear!! Yikes..
I agree with the Hapkido guy...........RELAX.
Most of my students end up getting out of breath the first few times they spar because they choke themselves out mentally first.

Fact 1: In sparring you are going to get hit. Nobody is so good they don't ever get hit. So don't worry about it, it is going to happen and if your are tense it hurts worse. Plus, tense muscles deplete oxygen more quickly.
Fact 2: Full Contact sparring is exhausting. Going at full speed and power is tough. I can go all week doing "tippy-tap" sparring but 10 minutes of full contact sparring is a BITE.
Fact 3: When you are tense you can't react as quickly or as well as when you are relaxed.

As far as tips go.......if you are doing full contact to the head...............COVER.

Protect you chin area as much as possible. When you punch come back to your chin area afterwards.

I do disagree with the part about not taking it seriously.
You should take your martial training seriously. Remember you are studying something that may protect you some day..............otherwise I might suggest Tae-Bo or Square dancing.
A ton of good advice in there...

Take it (the training, what you are focusing on, your technique, etc) seriously, but dont take it (the sparing. If you get hit, its not the end of the world) seriously. :)

And I have to agree, do cover the head good. I've had a concusion..they aint fun.

I'm not saying don't take your training seriously. I'm saying don't take your sparring seriously. Yes do your best and concentrate. But sparring is not a win our loose issue. Its about learning yourself and how you work. Its not a real fight. Later when you advance to the point where it is all full contact and full speed then you take it a little more seriously. But even in a real fight I dont take thing so seriously. I stay relaxed and foucused and let my training work it majik. In sparring I tell my students that they are not trying to beat the other person. They are fighting with them selves. They are trying to overcome bad habbits and bad reflex reations. Until they start getting the hang of being able to flow through one move to another, applying what is propper and staying open to the ability to transition as needed. Then there is to much that they have to deal with to worry about taking their sparring matches seriously. Pluss every time I see people get serious in a match, someone seriously gets hurt. Its not about winning its about learning. As for real fights. They may be serious, but I am not. Stay relaxed and you will be able to flow better.
As everyone I know says, I'm obsesed. My training is probebly the only thing in life I take serious.:shrug:
hey there...

RyuShiKan, Just wanted to say that I do take my defense training very seriously.. but i also have lots of fun with it as well.. and when it comes to sparring.. i like to take the fun approach.. this is because.. i do not have the desire to enter tournaments.. im not in this for the "sport", When i comes to defending myself.. i do not wish to "spar" with my attacker.. i would rather get away.. with little or no damage!!! SO that's why i try to have fun and don't take my sparring inabilities that serious.. or i don't worry about how good my sparring is... for me that would take away the Fun in the MA.

Thats all I wanted to say..

AND THANKS sooooooooo much for all the advice.. it is paying off!!!! :asian:



I see you're looking for sport TKD tips so...

Be like Bruce Lee or Muhammed Ali, use footwork. If you can use footwork, you wouldn't need to block as even if you block successfully, the judges might think it was a point. Footwork allows you to dodge all his attacks, and set up your own and get in the right position. If you litterally run circles around that guy, the guy will tire himself out with all his missed kicks and then you can throw your kicks.

Learn to be more agile, and don't just use footwork in a straight line. Go forward, back, back and to the right, back and to the left, front and to the right, front and to the left, sidestep, and throw a lot of variations. Also learn to kick while you're moving in every direction. I was able to throw a back kick while going forward and right in a few minutes and so will you.


This goes for real fighting or any type of sparring. Unfortunately, I haven't seen anyone feint except in a boxing match in Western McDojos although I have seen quite a bit in good schools. Feinting opens up everything. Just throw a jab at his face and guess where his hands go. Open target. ;)

Thanks for the tips.. i will try to put more footwork into it.. especilally focusing on going in different directions rather than just back and forth..

again many thanks to all who have helped me out!! :asian:
it sounded like you were tiring yourself out just by moving. there's no need to move around like a super ball when sparring, that's wasted energy. relax and don't let your muscles tense when you spar. don't try to use raw power in your techniques, remember, speed+technique = power. if you're using raw power against someone, that will wear out your muscles extremely quickly and you will tire yourself out after the first two minute round. usually, when we spar at the dojo, we do our warm ups(15-20 mins), then we spar for the reamaining forty mins of class, usually 1-2 minute rounds then we rotate the lines and spar someone else, so you don't wanna waste all your energy by bouncing around on the first person.
I've got to agree with Chronuss here. We have guys that do boxing and come to the college karate class thinking that they can bounce and use their fast foot work for the entire hour to hour and a half. By the time they get through the first two or three people they're no longer bouncing, out of breathe, and are worn out. I always have fun with these guys cause I won't chase them. Why should I waste my energy? I let them come to me and let them do all the bouncing they want and after we're done and they ask how in the world we all do it, we tell them stop forking so much energy into bouncing when a simple step to the left or right of the person's kick or punch is just as effective. You've created the distance between them and you, and you can still counter it with something else. :asian:

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