Sparring for the first few times will be just as equally terrifying as it is exhilarating! It is completely normal to be nervous but if you follow these tips it will ensure that you remain safe and still enjoy yourself.
Just remember – it is not a fight:
It is very common for people who are just beginning to spar to get caught up in the mentality that it is a competition between their sparring partner and themselves. In reality- it is not. Sparring is not the same as a fight, no one is being scored and there will be no winner. Sparring is not about who can hit the hardest or who can knock someone out. This mindset will only cause harm to not only your partner but also to yourself.
When you first begin to spar it will be difficult to learn how to control your power. When you hit the pads you’re accustomed to exerting all of you power and strength with each strike you deliver, when you are sparring it is essential you do not do this. Sparring is more about learning how to use the strikes you have learned on a real moving target in a controlled and monitored environment. Remember to reign in your force when you are sparring someone and focus more on how to use technique to outsmart your partner.
If your partner is hurting you- you need to tell them! It is essential that you communicate with your peers to ensure your safety. Not only will you be helping yourself, but your partner may not even realise they are hitting you too hard as learning to control power will take time. If you have an injury you must also let your partner know so they can avoid hitting that area.
Essentially, sparring is about learning to fundamentally employ techniques on a person that you have learned in class. Sparring is the perfect opportunity to put your knowledge into play and focus on further perfecting your technique. It is also perfectly acceptable to ask your sparring partner to practise a new concept on them- as long as they agree!
Also remember it is okay if you are not comfortable in taking part in sparring, it is essential that you are perfectly content with stepping into that situation. Your kru will understand that it may seem daunting and that it will take time for people to be comfortable in participating in sparring.