Sparring 101: When, Why, and How to Take a Hit
The first thing you need to know when it comes to sparring is what is a spar?
A sparrng is any fight between two or more people. It’s not just a game. You’re not going to go out there and beat up your friend if they don’t want to play. There are rules though!
When you get into a sparring session, you’re basically training for a fight. So let’s say someone wants to learn how to take a punch. That means they’ve got some experience with fighting. They may have been in one before or even fought someone before and won.
Or maybe they just like getting into fights because it gets them off their butt! Whatever the reason, they’re ready to start learning how to spar others.
What does it mean to take a punch?
Well, it could mean anything from simply blocking an attack to landing a blow yourself. Some people will choose to block the opponent’s punches while others will land their own. Other times, both fighters may throw strikes at each other but only one will actually hit their target.
In order for you to learn how to spar others, you’ll need some basic equipment such as gloves and headgear (if applicable). You’ll also need to know how to put on these safety gears so you don’t hurt yourself. Here’s a great video that shows you how to properly do it:
You also need to find someone who is willing to spar with you. You may have a few friends or family members who will agree to be your sparring partner or you may need to travel to a local boxing gym in order to find someone. You may even end up meeting a fellow boxer online who wants to spar with you. If you’re lucky enough to find someone, make sure you agree on some basic rules:
How many rounds will you be sparring for?
(Most people choose 3 or 4 rounds)
Will you be wearing headgear and gloves?
(For safety reasons, you always should)
Who will throw the first punch?
(Decide this before you start)
After you’ve got the rules down, you’re ready to get started!
When it comes to sparring, you need to make sure your form is correct. Doing it wrong could lead to serious injury so it’s important that you have a basic understanding of the basics of boxing. Here are some helpful tips:
Make sure your stance is in the right position at all times. You don’t want to be falling all over the place if you get hit!
Make sure to throw punches in combination. For example, throw a jab, then an upper cut, then a hook. This is much more effective than throwing them randomly and will teach you the true essence of boxing.
Try to avoid getting hit as much as possible but at the same time make sure to throw your own punches. This forces you to pay attention and increases your chance of winning the spar.
For more advanced boxers, you can start throwing different types of punches such as the uppercut and the hook. You can also throw these punches in combination for greater effect.
Avoid using too much muscle when throwing or blocking your opponent’s punches. Using your muscles incorrectly will tire you out very fast so try to find a happy medium when throwing your punches.
Here is a video that shows some great beginner and advanced boxing techniques:
No Sparring Partners?
Since you’re not throwing real punches, you won’t tire yourself out as easily and you can do it for a much longer time than regular sparring.
In addition to shadowboxing, you can always practice your jabs, hooks, and uppercuts against a punching bag. Here is a helpful video on how to use a punching bag:
Whether you’re sparring with someone or shadowboxing, it’s important to remember that these are just guidelines. You don’t want to just stick to this guide without thinking because that will force your brain to develop bad habits that you’ll have to break later on. Try to think about what you’re doing, why you’re throwing a cross instead of a jab, for example.
What is it about the situation that is causing you to throw that punch? Is your opponent close enough that a cross is more effective than a jab? Is he backing up so you can’t reach him with a hook? Does he look tired so you think a jab will catch him off guard?
All of these factors and more need to be taken into account.
Only through sparring/fighting will you improve your boxing skills. The more you do it, the better you’ll get at it and the more you’ll enjoy it. Who knows, maybe you could turn pro some day!
If you still need help, here are some videos for beginning boxers and older boxers if you’re more of an intermediate: Beginner boxers video, Intermediate Boxers video
Good luck on the ring!
Sources & references used in this article:
Method and apparatus for recording hits while sparring by L Vollmar – US Patent App. 10/708,358, 2004 – Google Patents
Fighting Fit: Boxing Workouts, Techniques and Sparring by ALD Werner – 2010 – books.google.com
Sport sparring concept in taekwon-do-The Christmas tree diagram by J Wąsik, W Pieter – Physical Activity Review, 2013 – psjd.icm.edu.pl
Hitting the wall: Nike and international labor practices by DL Spar, J Burns – 2000 – files.transtutors.com
Taekwondo kyorugi: Olympic style sparring by L Dorfman – 2009 – Skyhorse Publishing Inc.
‘Do you hit girls?’Some striking moments in the career of a male martial artist by SH Kim, KH Chung, KM Lee – 1999 – books.google.com