Sunday, September 17, 2006

When I Spar

At our workout today, I noticed something about the way I spar. Maybe I've noticed this before, too:

If I'm sparring someone who's my equal or who's not as good as I am, I'm able to use combinations (some of my faves: fake sidekick then fast hook/roundhouse to head; axe with quick front kick follow up; roundhouse middle, high, middle). This is what Master Hughes trains us to do. "Use combinations," he'll yell. "Don't just roundhouse, roundhouse, roundhouse!"

But if I'm overmatched, as I was by Justin today, I go into defensive mode, watching for openings and just zooming in with quick roundhouses. And getting kicked.

I don't think that's nearly as effective.

Sparring's tricky. And fun. One thing that makes it fun is that each sparring match is different. You have to shift your techniques to fit the situation.

When I spar Brian, for example, my high to-the-head kicks don't work. He's too tall. (Though I did land one 2-pointer right on his forehead today!) I spend a lot of time dodging his lethal axe kicks and moving in for quick punches and kicks to the chest.

With someone like Pam, I can try out my kicks to the head--she's just a few inches taller than I am. I'm a little quicker than she is, but she has an awesome wheel kick that comes out of nowhere, so I need to be alert to that.

I think the trick is to feel confident enough sparring that you don't always have to be on the defensive. Then you can try out combinations you think will work.

You need to be confident enough so that you can think, period! Sometimes when I'm sparring I forget to think. And breathe. Gotta work on that.

Hey, any advice or encouragement would be appreciated! Especially because we found out today that the tournament is NEXT weekend, not in two weeks like we'd thought. Yikes.

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