With the growing popularity of Muay Thai or kickboxing these days, there’s a huge influx in the number of people who want to train in this particular martial art. And, as with any other form of combat sport, sparring is one of the key elements that one will use to improve his or her skills and/or technique.
Quite sadly, many beginners don’t know how to spar correctly and not all instructors have the time to teach them all the tips at one time.
If you’re a beginner and don’t know what the hell you’re doing when you’re sparring, then you’re in luck.
Listed below are 7 essential sparring tips for those who are still new to Muay Thai.
- Don’t overdo it. Ever wonder why instructors tell you to go half speed when sparring? Well, half speed is a term that means to slow down and not give your 100%. Remember, your aim is to improve your skill or technique, not to know the other guy around. If your sparring partner is trying to do that, talk to him or her or if you can’t, ask to spar with someone else.
- Improve your timing. Sparring as a beginner will help you get a good feel about what a real match is like. So, don’t try to punch or kick just for the sake of doing so. Try to look for openings and more importantly, improve your timing when you see one.
- Plan ahead. It may not necessarily be an intricate plan, but at least, it’s a plan. A good example of one is to set a goal of what you want to improve on during your first few sparring sessions. Sure, you won’t be throwing a low kick after every jab in real fights, but at least your body will get used to such combinations and it’ll be easier to execute it when the real thing comes
- Use combos. Speaking of combos, don’t be afraid to use them when sparring. Remember, you’re in kick boxing, so mix it up. A jab-jab-jab straight could be turned to a jab-jab-hook-low kick or something similar.
- Along with not going 100%, sparring teaches you how to relax even during a fight. Sure, it’s not a real fight, but your body will still think that it is. And, the more you relax as you spar, the more likely you’ll be relaxed in a real fight as well.
- No headshots. Many people think that because you’re wearing headgear, headshots aren’t going to do any damage. But, that isn’t the case. In fact, the truth is quite the opposite. So, when sparring, try to talk to your partner to focus on improving timing, range and defensive reactivity, instead of well, trying to go for head shots.
- Have fun. There are no winners or losers here, so try not to take things too seriously and let go of your ego. Remember, you’re supposed to enjoy your sparring sessions.
Sparring is the closest thing you can get into a real fight in Muay Thai and this is why you’ll want to do it as often as you can. But, make sure that you keep in mind the tips above to improve your chances of becoming a better fighter.