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How To Overcome Your Fear of Sparring

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How To Overcome Your Fear of Sparring

Attend the right gym

The first step is making sure you’re in the right place. A good Martial Arts gym should have clearly defined rules and guidelines when it comes to sparring with an experienced instructor overseeing the sessions.

The right gym will also have humble and helpful sparring partners. Senior students should not be dominating the beginners in the class to feed their egos. Instead, they should be trying to improve their abilities to create more and better sparring partners in the future.

Have the right equipment

Ultimately, students have to accept that sparring is training to inflict damage in a live situation. However, with the correct equipment, the chance of actually being hurt in sparring is massively decreased. Make sure you have good quality gear and never skip out of wearing it even once.

Start at the right pace

The first sparring session is often the most nerve-wracking one for both kids and adults. Remember that you and your partner shouldn’t go above 20% - 30% at this point. Focus on executing the combinations you have learnt in class on the pads or punching bags but with reduced power.

Have the right mindset

Sparring is not about winning and losing. Everyone is there to grow as martial artists and to gauge their abilities in a controlled situation. Spar to be better than you were before, rather than trying to be better than your team mates.

Achieve the right goals

If you are aiming to compete soon, you have the right to spar harder with higher-level team mates in order to prepare yourself. However, if your goal is learning self-defence, you don’t need to be doing hard rounds every time you pad up, as this could end up being counterproductive to your learning!

To break it down further, a great short-term goal coming into a round might be to avoid getting hit with the jab more than 5 times this round, which gives the students a small victory when starting off.


Don’t forget that your instructor is here to help! When in doubt, seek advice. Your instructor has the experience and qualifications to ensure your success in sparring!

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