Once you are done with the beginner level and ready to spar this is the time you should know about some tips. First, to improve yourself as a Muay Thai practitioner sparing is important. To make your sparring sessions better and make you a better Muay Thai practitioner here are some important things you should follow. With time and experience, you will improve, be more focused, bring more power to your strikes, and adapt. Sparring is more like a hit, trial, and repeat process to improve so give it some time.
As a beginner the first goal is to become comfortable with it, then don’t flinch, then improve your attack and defense. Once you are done with the first two you can progress towards winning. Today is all about learning how to win. So, without further ado let’s begin with our tips and tricks.
Only give as much as you receive
Obviously, you should not be playing paddy cake with someone who is going all out. But neither you should be the bad one hitting harder. Sparring escalates into brawls when one delivers a harder hit and the other one tries to return the favor.
You can either give a free shot, maybe the opponent didn’t realize the strike was hard. If they realize it, they will stop. Or you can ask them to lower the intensity they don’t realize. But you should not be doing this more often. Or you can hit as hard as them going an eye for an eye. Sometimes it is important to defend yourself and hold your ground but an eye for an eye can make the world blind.
Play safe against dangerous opponents
Fighting fire with fire can sometimes hurt you badly. Thus, it is better to play safe when fighting someone dangerous. Even if you want to or plan to return the favor of a hard hit don’t let your guard down or let the other get a free hit. Taking this on your ego will definitely put you in danger or even worse.
In such situations, you should not swing for the fences instead keep a tight and tough guard up and keep on playing safe. Going all out against a douchebag or dangerous opponent won’t make you feel powerful or improve your skills. It just gets dangerously close to you. Instead of doing that I recommend improving your guard and defense.
Relax, breathe in and out
Sparring can get you anxious and get your heart rate elevated, don’t worry it is natural. So, you have to focus on keeping yourself calm. Doing so will help you keep your head in the game and make the right decisions. Following this you can manage to perform better and get out of the ring without getting hurt badly; even against a dangerous opponent. It can be difficult at the beginning or when facing someone better than you or a douchebag. When you start feeling it, try to be relaxed and breathe.
Get out of your comfort zone
Always sparring with someone less trained with you or the same person will not enhance your skills. It will provide you temporary comfort and make you feel powerful. But in the long term, that thing will destroy you. Getting out of your comfort zone is where you grow. So, sparring against better opponents is a great way to learn and become better.
Take advantage of the surroundings
You should also learn to take advantage of the surroundings you are fighting in. Which in most cases will be the ring? Don’t stop after cornering or backing up the opponent instead control the situation and decide how it ends. But remember not to let the guard down.
The different gym has different sparring cultures. It is better to see a match or two before your sparring session. It will give you the general idea of how things go around there. You can even politely deny sparring if you are new to the gym. One more thing, trainers and gyms who let beginners and newcomers spar on the first day aren’t good ones.
Don’t avoid sparring it is important like any other training. Remember these tips and be brave but not foolish.