Welcome back to our continued look at why sparring is an essential part of training in martial arts. In our previous post, we examined the physical and mental benefits of sparring as part of your training as well as the essential gear you need to have before you begin to spar. While there is no doubt that sparring with various partners helps improve your offensive and defensive postures with opponents, some practitioners will dismiss and overlook sparring as an essential part of their training. Often the resistance to sparring comes from inexperienced students or those who lack confidence in their training or technique. If you want to the best experience for martial arts classes in Raleigh, NC, call Gracie.
When it comes time to pick a sparring partner, choose someone who is close to your skill level. There will always be those opponents who feel they have to hit as hard as they possibly can, even against well matched opponents. The practice of striking as hard as possible serves no real purpose in sparring. When matched with an opponent well below their skill level, those who hit too hard negate any positive benefits that the sparring session could bring to the more inexperienced practitioner. Choosing to spar with someone who is close to your skill range and respects the practice of sparring will lead you into intense and spirited sessions where you will be tested both mentally and physically. These types of sessions are most beneficial to both parties to their training and progress as martial artists.
One of the biggest benefits of sparring is the discovery of your awareness of self and movement. Developing a greater understanding of your timing, striking distance, and speed puts you at an advantage over those who have never participated in sparring matches or those who don’t spar regularly. Once you have a good understanding of your reflexes, you will be able to improvise your defensive and offensive strategies as long as you remain aware of the scenarios around you. Building this confidence in yourself and your abilities will help you make instinctive decisions during combat.
In addition to personal awareness, you will gain experience moving with an opponent and avoiding their blows. Hitting a moving target is much more difficult than hitting a heavy bag. Getting in real world practice with a sparring partner can help you judge how to move in response to your opponent’s movements and perfect your reach and power. The speed of your reflexes with a combative opponent will be vastly different than those reflexes with a heavy bag. Learning how to break your opponent’s rhythm and disrupt their focus with your movements will also improve your timing and delivery of your strikes and blows.
Once you have found a good sparring partner, ask a trusted friend or coach to tape your sparring matches. Use these videos as feedback for your technique and a way to watch the fight unfold objectively. Understanding that martial arts are as much a mental sport as they are a physical sport is imperative for success both on and off the mats. If you’re ready to take your training to the next level, let Gracie Raleigh help you get there. Our experienced staff is ready to work with you to improve you focus, fitness, and technique.
Affordable Martial Arts Classes in Raleigh for 2018
Gracie Raleigh offers martial arts classes in Raleigh for the entire family and parents are never locked into a contract for their child’s classes. Call or come by the gym today and see why more people choose Gracie Raleigh for their training than any other martial arts school in the area.