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Help with ego sparring / fighting

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Hi guys,

After around a year out I’ve just started at a new gym and I’m loving being back at training, however on Saturday I came across an ego fighter.

The class was just sparring, and everyone was calm and controlled, having fun, learning, helping each other, in my option exactly how it should be.

I then go to spar with one girl who just constantly hit harder and harder, so much so the rest of the class stopped to watch, the trainer made a few comments about ‘how she was going it’ and asking her ‘what’s peed you off?’ The round finished and I said there’s no need to spar like that, we are all trying to learn not trying to kill each other. We then swapped partners, and I watched her spar ‘normally’ ( calm etc ) with the others. When it was back to my turn she again went 100% full out, so I did it back, thinking maybe a hard punch to the face will make her realise she’s going to hard, every time I managed to hit her, you could see the anger on her face, and she was getting more and more annoyed and angry.

And the end of the round I put my hand out to touch gloves and she began to walk away, I put my arm out accross her so she had to see my glove and she just pushed my arm away, no touch gloves or anything.

We had about 4-5 rounds in total, and don’t get me wrong after the first round I gave as good as I got, but we were fighting not sparring!

I tried just staying calm but she continues to go harder and harder, I tried to just defend but again she gets angrier and I start taking a lot of hits, I tried to go as hard and that doesn’t help either, I’m honestly lost for what to do.

I asked the other girls what I’d done to upset her ( first time I’ve ever seen her, but she wasn’t as crazy when sparring the others ) they all said the same, it’s her ego, she can’t handle being hit and as me and her are quite well matched she doesn’t like it

Any ideas what I can do? ( the trainer didn’t seem that bothered that the last few rounds we were going all out )

Thanks everyone

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You could either refuse to spar with her again unless she agrees to behave sensibly; or use sessions with her as an excellent opportunity to have a practice fight! Speak to your trainer - after all, part of his/her job is to referee this sort of thing and step in and sort it out if necessary. And it's just plain pig-ignorant of her not to touch gloves/shake hands/hug/whatever after sparring, however put out one is; very bad manners. Thinking about it, if she's getting angry then surely the trainer ought to stop things; isn't keeping control of your feelings all part of any martial art? I know my trainer spots me starting to get annoyed (ie frustrated) even before I do and tells me to control it and focus the energy.

Take care!

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There are a few guys on my team who can behave somewhat the same (get angry during spar and consequently go quite hard) and I’m still working out how to deal with them. My coach does step in if it reaches a certain point, but I’d rather it not even get heated at all since we’re sparring often.


I try to keep calm and avoid them if I can, but of course one of the more emotional guys is my size so I have to go with him fairly often. I spoke with my coach about it once and he did talk with that guy. Over time he’s gotten a little better at controlling himself, but it’s still an issue that comes up.


I think you should let your coach know how you feel. They may have let it go on to see how you handled the pressure (unintentional smoker?), but that kind of thing will lead to unneccessary injuries in training. There’s no need to go hard like that all the time, and there’s reason to believe this will be an ongoing issue with her.

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You said that you are new to this gym, correct? Is she one of the only females there or maybe the most experienced one?


Unless you were going hard and not realizing it, maybe she is a bit threatened by you. Sometimes women who aren't used to training with other women will act like they are trying to oust you from their territory. (Men do this to others too, it just so happens that you are also a woman.) Maybe she is afraid of losing her position as top dog, or afraid of having to share the attention that being one of few women in a gym brings with it. Hopefully, she'll settle down after a while. Are you two about the same size?

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Kaitlin makes a good point. It took me years to work my way into the core team at the gym and be recognized as a legit member ... something I’m sure many women probably relate to in a fight gym. She may have reacted as she did to keep her position in the pack (knowingly or not). Good luck working this out.

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Today marks my 3 week anniversary there, and there is now with me 5 girls in the gym, the girl ( in my opinion ) is the best girl there, so maybe she was trying to put me in my place?

I haven’t seen her since but don’t know how to handle the next sparring session with her, I’m half tempted to use it as ‘fight experience’ and see how it goes for a few weeks

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thank you for sharing your experiences and struggles.

I had simular experience. Girl asked me to take it easy when we started sparring. Then she hit me as hard as she could. Hit her back in the face and she asked for a break. But she wasnt fighting me, shes fighting herself.

This thing has got nothing to do with you, its her own struggle. She will knock herself out like that,mentally most. Just keep your mind and focus on yourself and what you want to learn and achieve. It will work itself out. I have to tell myself that over and over ;) its the challenge of martial arts and life itself.

Keep it up!

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I would consider what's driving their behavior. Some partners I've had are clearly just not sure how hard they should hit me given the size disparity, but some are clearly ego-driven. They want to make themselves feel/look good.


There's a girl like that at my gym too. She considers herself having fought "pro" because she's fought in Thailand and was paid for it. One sparring class, I spent 2 rounds just evading her strikes, and she was hitting at normal strength. 3rd round I started throwing some strikes and she immediately started swinging wild. It's clearly ego driven. I was wearing a head gear and still got a headache. (She's maybe 15 - 20 lbs heavier than me, which is not much to me for training purposes.) I called her out saying "remember light to the head", which is a saying our gym uses. But I never train with her anymore, sparring or drills or anything at all. I don't need bad energy in my life and I don't want to risk getting injured for no good reason. There's a teaching from my time doing Jiu Jitsu: if you injure your partner during training, it's indicative of your skills, not theirs. They are hurt because you can control your shit.


We put together ladies sparring events at our gym. Maybe a year or so after the above event, she came and sparred in fight mode even with the beginners. She looked eager to prove herself as a top dog. Unfortunately, it changed the dynamic of the ladies sparring events which had been pretty positive and productive up until that point. This girl and some of the other girls started sparring without much restraints at all, throwing spinning back fists and head kicks at each other without control. They were rowdy and sloppy. Unfortunately, this all lead to my friend/ trainer partner getting concussed. She's been out of training for 10 months now :(


I don't think she does that with the guys at our gym. Maybe she doesn't feel the need to compete. But she's also not big enough/skilled enough to beat them up (although I heard that she did lose her cool in clinching and elbow someone, which was not allowed).


When my coach wanted me to spar with her during my fight camp, I explain all of this. And he said that it's ok that I don't train with her.


Maybe I'm particular careful because I'm the smallest one on the team (even the kids are a good 20-30 lbs bigger than me). Regardless of size, if you're going at sparring pace and your partner is going at fight pace, you are likely the one getting hurt. The way I see it is, if I'm injured by a partner with bad character, I can't fight/train. And it's risking a lot with not much to gain.

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