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Transitioning from hitting pads


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Good Morning Sylvie! Hope you're looking after your lady garden.

 

Anyhow... I have a question to ask, one you probably get asked a lot.

 

How do you overcome the mental freak out of hitting your sparring partner/ opponent? I have found it difficult to transition from hitting the pads onto sparring. The feeling is so strange; deep down I don't want to hit the other person.

 

Any suggestions or mantras that you can suggest?

 

Many thanks you

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Good Morning Sylvie! Hope you're looking after your lady garden.

 

Anyhow... I have a question to ask, one you probably get asked a lot.

 

How do you overcome the mental freak out of hitting your sparring partner/ opponent? I have found it difficult to transition from hitting the pads onto sparring. The feeling is so strange; deep down I don't want to hit the other person.

 

Any suggestions or mantras that you can suggest?

 

Many thanks you

Paula

Hi Paula,

I can't vouch for Sylvie's 'lady garden', but I'll try and weigh in on this one  :wink:

This is something that I've been told I have a problem with, although in fighting rather than sparring. I'm not sure if it's for lack of wanting to hit a person or rather a lack of confidence, but I've been told many times that I'm 'too nice'. It bugs me, probably because I can't quite work out if they're right or not and I get insecure about it. I do find myself apologising to people in sparring sometimes too, so maybe I do feel bad. Anyway, in training, we spar relatively light, and I think that is the best way to get around it. Obviously, in order to fight you do need to spar hard once in a while, but my trainer tells me 'spar slow, learn fast'. It allows you to practice in a safe way, so you can focus on using proper technique rather than worrying about hurting them, because even if you tag them, it won't be hard enough to hurt. It also becomes a kind of partnership where you're helping each other to learn, rather than a competition where you're trying to just  beat each other. I feel like I've rambled here, and I'm just about to head out to work now, but I'll hop back on the forum later.  :thumbsup:

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Good Morning Sylvie! Hope you're looking after your lady garden.

 

Anyhow... I have a question to ask, one you probably get asked a lot.

 

How do you overcome the mental freak out of hitting your sparring partner/ opponent? I have found it difficult to transition from hitting the pads onto sparring. The feeling is so strange; deep down I don't want to hit the other person.

 

Any suggestions or mantras that you can suggest?

 

Many thanks you

Paula

This is slowly collapsing for me, but it's certainly not 100% and I've definitely struggled with it for a long time. But the good news is that it's all mental, which means you can work on it in a variety of different circumstances, including when you're not even at the gym. From my own experience, it's a difference in bodily interpretation of space and context between the "safety" of hitting pads and the fear of escalation in hitting during sparring or even a fight. My trainer even hits me back in padwork, but it's very much controlled - whereas in sparring you can't really control your opponent and don't know what they might do, they're not "calling for strikes," etc. On the surface they seem really different, and my body thinks they're really different. 

So what I've done is go through as many small steps as I can to get more comfortable with imposing myself in sparring. The fist step was imposing myself in padwork. I stand too close to my trainer, forcing him to back up in order to call a strike. When I got more comfortable with that I would throw something he didn't ask for, but that was still "safe," like a teep or knee to his bellypad or a very controlled kick to the leg. (Now I kick his legs hard and punch his face all I want; we've developed that over time and he kicks my legs freakin' hard too!) But even with all this, it was hard to bring it into sparring. I trust my padholder, but these damn kids I spar with... well, I don't know what they'll do or how controlled they are or anything like that. Even sparring with Emma, who is close to my size and has great control, we both struggled to stay close enough after strikes instead of just bouncing back out. So neither of us was really threatening the other to cause each other to bounce out, we just both did it on our own as a defense. It took me a long time to learn and really understand that space does not equal safety.

But I think a lot of the real difference has come from getting used to the idea of hitting someone, that it's not going to cause this escalation that I then can't handle. And if it does cause escalation, I can meet it. I had to really realize that tapping at someone doesn't help either of us. Light and controlled is one thing but pulling shots and not even really hitting each other at all does nothing. Imagine if you're playing baseball with your friend and you throw the ball so lightly that she can't even swing the bat at it. You've got to throw hard enough for it to reach the bat and for your friend's efforts of swinging the bat to produce anything meaningful from her end, either. That's what going too light or being fearful does - it makes it so you can't even pitch the ball and she can't even swing the bat.

And I think that part of it is that I am okay with being hit. I used to get upset, internally, and just rag on myself for making a "mistake" that caused me to be open for that strike. And that's clearly nonsense. Nobody can go into a fight or sparring and not get hit; even Mayweather and Saenchai who seem so "untouchable" get hit. It's a hitting game. So, making peace with the fact that when I get hit 1) I'm okay; 2) that's not a mistake; 3) I can find a way to avoid it later but right now I just need to strike back... all of that acceptance allowed me to accept that I can hit someone else, because all of those things are true for them also.

I'm not sure if this is where your question is coming from, but I'm taking a guess that some of it is the same. I would go too light against people much bigger than I am, who clearly I'm not going to accidentally hurt. So my fear wasn't about hurting someone else - even if I thought it was, it wasn't really - for me. You don't have to be angry or trying to hurt someone, but you have to be okay with making them uncomfortable.

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..."And I think that part of it is that I am okay with being hit. I used to get upset, internally, and just rag on myself for making a "mistake" that caused me to be open for that strike. And that's clearly nonsense.." from Sylvie 

 

Thank you for that.  I am stuck in that self-blame nonsense when I get hit.  I want a debriefing committee and a ten page analysis with color-coded flow charts.  I'm such a jackass.  I crunched my wrist throwing a body shot that the person anticipated and turned into, hard.  I was all hangdog "its my fault" and JJ goes "What.  You were roughhousing?" (whiny mom voice),   "OMG you were ROUGHHOUSING?!!".  So fucking cheerful.  

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I remember the first time my trainer said to hit HIM and not the pads... Wow, it was quite a hard step to take and a real mental jump. Mind you, it only took a couple of tentative punches before I was merrily into it!

 

It'll be interesting though to see how I feel about hitting someone new; thus far I've only sparred with him. I will be starting going to a club in the near future, and I really don't know what to expect.

 

I don't mind being hit back, but I do find it quite challenging when he's keeping me at arms length with push kicks or whatever, and I'm having to really work hard to get past and at him.

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I used to hate sparring bigger people and so I'd be afraid of hitting them really light, as I was scared if I hit them hard by accident they'd hit me hard back and it'd escalate.

I think its normal though, when I used to get my friends to come training and we'd spar at the end I use to have to tell him "hit me, I don't mind" and his punches would always fall short of my face and I'd have to beg him to hit me. 
I think once you start to hit people and you realise it doesn't hurt them, then maybe it'll be better for you?

I'm not sure, keep sparring and practicing.

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Hello everyone!

 

Thank you Sylvie for resetting my password.

 

I appreciate the time oh have for answering questions and dealing with administration problems.

 

Thank you all to have responded. I've read through and it's really helped me.

 

I think it's really the case of getting hit and getting used to that feel.

 

I have really good coaches that are encouraging and do give the advice to sparr frequently.

 

It's not a feeling I'm used to and yes Bakpoa... I don't like hitting the big fellas... I got hit a lot on the head.. Really hurt!!! But then instead of me hitting I just practised my teeps and it worked. So I guess defo sparr with different shapes and sizes. In time... We'll see if I'm really cut out for this :)

 

Many thanks

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