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jacobT

What makes you happy during sparring/fighting?

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Recently, my trainers have been moving our gym toward more technical sparring and away from the 'old school' beat'm up approach. As a tenured student who's been a part of the old way, the improvements have been amazing. The big guys are allowed to go easy on each other, the little guys don't have to be (as) afraid going up against the big guys, and everyone has more mental space in which to analyze their partner's style and develop answers. 

What positive experiences have your sparring partners given you lately? 

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Being careful and technical in general.

Trying out knees and clinch with a 15-20kg heavier guy even though we (unfortunately) never practise that - but how can you possibly omit that in MT?!

Finding enjoyment in a somewhat harder sparring with one guy who I did not like to spar with previously because of that (also for other reasons).

Learning that it's bad for your nose if you turn your head sideways in boxing-only sparring.

Any learning/discovering something new experience that I can integrate in my fighting in general.

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Being careful and technical in general.

 

Trying out knees and clinch with a 15-20kg heavier guy even though we (unfortunately) never practise that - but how can you possibly omit that in MT?!

 

Finding enjoyment in a somewhat harder sparring with one guy who I did not like to spar with previously because of that (also for other reasons).

 

Learning that it's bad for your nose if you turn your head sideways in boxing-only sparring.

 

Any learning/discovering something new experience that I can integrate in my fighting in general.

Gregor, my trainers don't encourage a lot of clinch, and I'm not entirely sure why. I'm with you on this: Clinch IS Muay Thai! Maybe they see it as high risk b/c it's easy to throw ugly spear knees or wrench someone's neck, but I don't think that should stop us from training it. 

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Last week I managed to land a lovely knee right into my trainer's right floating rib during a clinch. I was so pleased (so was he) because I am rubbish at clinch and usually get chucked all over the place.

What else? Oh yeah, he was being deliberately super-awkward and really using every advantage he has over me, and I managed to pop one right round his guard and catch him in the ear. I was very pleased, because he really wasn't giving me an inch, and I felt I really deserved that hit!

I was also pleased that he managed not to break my nose when I made a horrible mistake and crashed in far far faster and more untidyily than he was expecting and he had no chance to pull the punch anymore than he does anyway.

And on our last session, right at the end of sparring, I caught him with a right kick to the head - yay! Mind you, it surprised us both...

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Last week I managed to land a lovely knee right into my trainer's right floating rib during a clinch. I was so pleased (so was he) because I am rubbish at clinch and usually get chucked all over the place.

What else? Oh yeah, he was being deliberately super-awkward and really using every advantage he has over me, and I managed to pop one right round his guard and catch him in the ear. I was very pleased, because he really wasn't giving me an inch, and I felt I really deserved that hit!

I was also pleased that he managed not to break my nose when I made a horrible mistake and crashed in far far faster and more untidyily than he was expecting and he had no chance to pull the punch anymore than he does anyway.

And on our last session, right at the end of sparring, I caught him with a right kick to the head - yay! Mind you, it surprised us both...

Isn't it funny how those few strikes that we manage to land stick in our memories so clearly? It's that one in a hundred hook or clean round-house across the belly that feels so GOOD when it thumps home.

What sort of training does your trainer put you through? It sounds like he's got you doing a lot of sparring, ie, not just drills.

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jacobT: yeah, we do a LOT of sparring. In our typical 2 hour session there will be pad work and technical work; work on a move that needs improvement or a new move; then usually a bit of 'play' sparring where we'll exchange kicks and blocks or something; then it escalates up into 'proper' sparring. We generally do an hour sparring of 4 min rounds with 1 min break. We often finish up with three or five rounds of fairly hard sparring to try and create a 'fight' atmosphere.

I train one-on-one with him. It's great. :woot:

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What makes me happy during sparring is when I can feel the progress that has been made, both mentally and physically. I've been off and on practicing muay thai for three years, but the last six months has noted more progress than I recall, especially mentally. Before I had a habit of just kind of standing and waiting, but now I feel more confident pursuing my partner and moving forward, and less moving backwards. Also makes me happy when I can execute a technique that I previously struggled with (ie hooks.. I struggle getting into a person's space to actually throw an effective hook).

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A few things:

Recently, I visited a gym and did some drilling with a much younger lady. She assumed I didn't know anything and immediately began correcting me. During sparring, she stopped the round to apologize for earlier as it was soon obvious to her that I'm experienced. It was pretty fun, not gonna lie.

Yesterday was a hard sparring session (physically and mentally), but a few positives:

  • Got a really good teep in
  • Got a good side kick in
  • Landed some good head kicks
  • Got a good superman to lead leg kick 

I'm happy in sparring when I get good technical rounds and people don't try to take my head off. 

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There are moments that just flow. When techniques, whether they land or not feel like they are 'correct', or when the motion between your opponents strike and your own is fluid and not tense.

And whenever you try something new and it solves the problem you are facing that feels great.

I guess as I develop my muay these feelings will pop up less often though...

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Here’s a trick question for you: Which part of your opponent’s face is a threat to you?


No matter whether you are fighting or sparring, no matter which martial art you train in, whether you are unarmed or armed to the teeth, when you are engaging an opponent your attention should be on his or her center mass. The techniques that can hurt you will all originate from the center mass of your opponent’s body — kicks, punches, elbow and knee strikes, sweeps or throws.


My old Taekwondo instructor used to say that, in a real fight, the scariest feature of many people who are prone to attack you is their eyes. Some people just have crazy eyes — and he ran a narcotics rehabilitation program in Harlem in the late sixties, so he knew what he was talking about. The eyes are the window to the evil in their souls. Looking into the eyes of these types of people can paralyze you with fright. So don’t.


Focus on the point where the attack will originate, which coincidentally is an ideal target for your attack. Then attack while avoiding his. Then repeat, until the threat is gone.


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