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So how many of you actually dread sparring (clinch or otherwise) with your coach? As a coach I dont really see it so much unless I post a meme or joke about it, then the truth comes out lol. I always looked at myself as merely a gate keeper, not the top of the food chain, so cant really understand the fear of dealing with me. For me, if they can handle me then thats merely the first step. All my top guys can deal with me no problem. How do you guys feel about it? Scary coaches? Or is it fun sparring with them? Let me know

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It's funny you mention it. I get to experience both ends. At my school, I'm like you, I may be the teacher but I don't consider myself the top of the mountain, I'm there to impart knowledge nothing else, however I know some students feel awry about sparring with me. But when I go to my home gym, where I learned the art and am still learning the art, I like sparring the young fighters as (1) I'm nearly twice their age and I find their energy contagious, (2) The fighters are the best to spar with as they can really help you out. Our Kru is nearly 70 and has been involved with Muay Thai since the early 80's and is a wealth of knowledge. 

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5 hours ago, Jeremy Stewart said:

It's funny you mention it. I get to experience both ends. At my school, I'm like you, I may be the teacher but I don't consider myself the top of the mountain, I'm there to impart knowledge nothing else, however I know some students feel awry about sparring with me. But when I go to my home gym, where I learned the art and am still learning the art, I like sparring the young fighters as (1) I'm nearly twice their age and I find their energy contagious, (2) The fighters are the best to spar with as they can really help you out. Our Kru is nearly 70 and has been involved with Muay Thai since the early 80's and is a wealth of knowledge. 

Nice! My coach isnt much older than me but could still whup me lol but I really dont mind. Ive been told that its a lose lose to spar the coach either because you lose to them or you do well but then feel bad. I hold my own with my coach but really dont feel bad when I get whupped. I always learn from it. One of the aspects I love about combat sports is how the ego eventually takes a back seat to other aspects after years of getting dominated by others and not quitting. I feel like its one of the healthiest things one takes away from combat sports. 

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I love sparring with my coach. It's my favorite. But I think that a lot of folks who have apprehensions about it do so because they fear having to "perform" with the coach far more than they do with another student at the gym. Like, wanting to please your coach at the same time as wanting to respect them and not be a dick is pretty complicated. Kru Nu is significantly bigger than I am, but he's got a bad knee and I worry about hurting him, even though I totally shouldn't. So, I don't kick him the same way I would kick a teammate, which just means I'm thinking way more about that than I am with someone else. But then, the reason I love sparring with Kru Nu more than anyone else is that I don't think I "should" win with him, whereas with a teammate it's way more competitive. Plus, he's got way more control than anyone else I spar, so the trust adds to the fun. Karuhat, too. I could spar him all day, every day.

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17 hours ago, Coach James Poidog said:

Nice! My coach isnt much older than me but could still whup me lol but I really dont mind. Ive been told that its a lose lose to spar the coach either because you lose to them or you do well but then feel bad. I hold my own with my coach but really dont feel bad when I get whupped. I always learn from it. One of the aspects I love about combat sports is how the ego eventually takes a back seat to other aspects after years of getting dominated by others and not quitting. I feel like its one of the healthiest things one takes away from combat sports. 

I agree the ego takes a back seat. Combat sports can teach you a lot of things. I am nearly 50 and started with Karate when I was 15. I had always been fit up until I was nearly 40 when I suffered a severe back injury, which has left my left leg somewhat compromised, I also suffered two heart attacks in quick succession.  My point to that is, if I hadn't trained in Karate and Muay Thai, I don't think I would have come out the other end with confidence.  You get used to training through adversity and this I believe helped me over come probably the most life changing event in my life (my back injury). Also, with regards to training (post back surgery), the best advice I've ever received was, you can still train, you just gotta do it differently.

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2 hours ago, Sylvie von Duuglas-Ittu said:

I love sparring with my coach. It's my favorite. But I think that a lot of folks who have apprehensions about it do so because they fear having to "perform" with the coach far more than they do with another student at the gym. Like, wanting to please your coach at the same time as wanting to respect them and not be a dick is pretty complicated. Kru Nu is significantly bigger than I am, but he's got a bad knee and I worry about hurting him, even though I totally shouldn't. So, I don't kick him the same way I would kick a teammate, which just means I'm thinking way more about that than I am with someone else. But then, the reason I love sparring with Kru Nu more than anyone else is that I don't think I "should" win with him, whereas with a teammate it's way more competitive. Plus, he's got way more control than anyone else I spar, so the trust adds to the fun. Karuhat, too. I could spar him all day, every day.

I love clinching with Kru, as he maybe nearly 70 but he's so subtle and relaxed when he turns and trips you.

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9 hours ago, Sylvie von Duuglas-Ittu said:

I love sparring with my coach. It's my favorite. But I think that a lot of folks who have apprehensions about it do so because they fear having to "perform" with the coach far more than they do with another student at the gym. Like, wanting to please your coach at the same time as wanting to respect them and not be a dick is pretty complicated. Kru Nu is significantly bigger than I am, but he's got a bad knee and I worry about hurting him, even though I totally shouldn't. So, I don't kick him the same way I would kick a teammate, which just means I'm thinking way more about that than I am with someone else. But then, the reason I love sparring with Kru Nu more than anyone else is that I don't think I "should" win with him, whereas with a teammate it's way more competitive. Plus, he's got way more control than anyone else I spar, so the trust adds to the fun. Karuhat, too. I could spar him all day, every day.

I think you hit the nail on the head with this. Well said. 

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I love sparring with my coach the best, and consider it an honor.  There is an eerie feeling of course when someone is so far ahead of you (I am a basic student and Muay Thai nerd). But that eerie feeling is magic.  I just love that there are levels, forever.

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The main coach with whom I've been sparring most of the time is also a close friend now so I don't feel anxious about performance. Well actually, I've never really felt anxious about performance with him at all - luckily. He's smaller and lighter than I am which takes away some of the fear - he can still be really overwhelming if he wants to. He controls himself super well. He's great fun to spar with. Unfortunately for him, our sparring often gets an abrupt end because I hit him in the crotch by mistake. And he often forgets his protection. Tough luck. Hahaha.

All the other coaches I've had in France have all been bigger and heavier than me and didn't control themselves so well. I don't mind the pain, but it makes me very scared and very tense nonetheless when I'm sparring a giant coach with heavy legs and punches.

While I'm basically a punchingball when I sparr my French coaches, one thing I got going for me (the only thing really) is that they usually tire before me. One of them once told me, after only ten minutes of clinching: "ok enough, that's plenty of clinch". Wait, what? 🤔

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8 hours ago, Kero Tide said:

 

All the other coaches I've had in France have all been bigger and heavier than me and didn't control themselves so well. I don't mind the pain, but it makes me very scared and very tense nonetheless when I'm sparring a giant coach with heavy legs and punches.

 

And this aspect, as a coach, is one thats a primary focus for me. At no time do I want the people I teach to feel overwhelmed by me. Yes, I dont mind a small healthy amount of fear of me, but thats more self preservation 1) cause Im now old and dont want to incur more damage but also 2) it might lead to being bad for business. I want them leaving class feeling empowered. Very rarely have I felt it necessary to give them the fear of God and usually its because I feel they have the bully in them towards other students I feel responsible for "curing" before they hurt someone else. For most, I just want them to have fun and feel free to explore things they are working on. 

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8 hours ago, Kero Tide said:

 

While I'm basically a punchingball when I sparr my French coaches, one thing I got going for me (the only thing really) is that they usually tire before me. One of them once told me, after only ten minutes of clinching: "ok enough, that's plenty of clinch". Wait, what? 🤔

Lol I think this is directly tied to how hard they go on you too. That lack of gas can be a coach's kryptonite. It can make some coach's egos fragile and prone to over compensation. Not talking smack about your coaches btw, just thinking about myself and possible failings for me if I were in that position. 

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22 minutes ago, Coach James Poidog said:

And this aspect, as a coach, is one thats a primary focus for me. At no time do I want the people I teach to feel overwhelmed by me. Yes, I dont mind a small healthy amount of fear of me, but thats more self preservation 1) cause Im now old and dont want to incur more damage but also 2) it might lead to being bad for business. I want them leaving class feeling empowered. Very rarely have I felt it necessary to give them the fear of God and usually its because I feel they have the bully in them towards other students I feel responsible for "curing" before they hurt someone else. For most, I just want them to have fun and feel free to explore things they are working on. 

Oh, I should've worded myself a bit different. These kind of coaches makes me scared but i was saying it as a matter of fact. Like saying that ice-cream is really really cold, but I'm still enjoying it a lot. It's not something that bothers me in retrospect. I like sparring with scary, hulk-like coaches too sometimes. I like having to battle with my own instinctive urge to flee away from danger. I find it fun in its own way. And I know I need all kinds of sparring situations/challenges to progress. But they do seem oblivious of how exactly heavy they are and the amount of damage they can do by just "brushing" someone's leg. It's definitely not to everyone's liking and I'm not sure how well they adapt their behavior to fit each student's need.

 

29 minutes ago, Coach James Poidog said:

It can make some coach's egos fragile and prone to over compensation.

You don't say hahaha.

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2 hours ago, Kero Tide said:

Oh, I should've worded myself a bit different. These kind of coaches makes me scared but i was saying it as a matter of fact. Like saying that ice-cream is really really cold, but I'm still enjoying it a lot. It's not something that bothers me in retrospect. I like sparring with scary, hulk-like coaches too sometimes. I like having to battle with my own instinctive urge to flee away from danger. I find it fun in its own way. And I know I need all kinds of sparring situations/challenges to progress. But they do seem oblivious of how exactly heavy they are and the amount of damage they can do by just "brushing" someone's leg. It's definitely not to everyone's liking and I'm not sure how well they adapt their behavior to fit each student's need.

There is definitely a place for it, as I said Ive had to use it and have also been on the recieving end with good learning coming from it. Just for me, 90% of the time, I cant be that guy because experience has taught me (as far as business goes) its more negative than positive in the states (specifically California lol). Ive even gotten to the point where I will only spar with specific people. If for some reason I need a hammer, Ill enlist one of my monster competitors and give them the green light. Thankfully thats rare. Most seem to get the concept of give what you want to receive and usually thats friendly competition not anger management lol. 

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I still have the bruises from sparring with a coach last Friday!

It was a two-hour sparring session (obviously most people don’t go and spar for two hours, rather if you attend during those two hours then you can spar) and most people do so in the first hour (the gym closes after this 2hr session. A lot of people don't stay until closing time), however I can’t usually make it until the second-hour, which meant I (little sparring experience, 72kg) ended up doing one round with a guy who’d been there a while (98kg, looked a bit tired but wanted some more practice). We had a good round but had to stop as his leg cramped up...which left me and the coach in the gym.

Eight rounds later I was soaked in sweat, bruises growing, and grinning from ear to ear. Great fun and very worthwhile: while the coach didn’t verbally point out weaknesses (he’s Japanese, I’m English, we’re in Japan and he didn’t seem to know how much Japanese I speak), over eight rounds I had them pointed out to me the hard way 😁

This week I attended some non-sparring sessions, talked with those coaches about the weaknesses I’d identified* and we worked on those via pads. It’s going to take a lot more practice, of course, to get rid of the bad habits which kept seeing me hit, but I wouldn’t have had them pointed out to me had I not been sparring with the coach.

So, I thoroughly appreciate being able to spar with coaches.

 

* After me throwing a right body kick, he would return it with a right low kick. I wasn’t fast enough resetting and getting my left shin up fast enough, and thus got a very bruised left thigh. Got to work on resetting and checking faster.

The other was getting hit with his left hook after I did a right body kick. So this week I worked with my (other) coach on not swinging the right arm down when I kicked, but rather swinging it kind of across their face, to block any punches (I remember Sylvie having a video on this. The coach of the Thai national team taught this if I remember correctly...?).

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