Sparring Progression in the Dojang

//Sparring Progression in the Dojang

Sparring Progression in the Dojang

Sparring inside the Dojang should help you learn to spar better, not make you hurt each other.

As you continue your training here at Maximum Martial Arts University, you will eventually realize that the overall focus and emphasis for training is Mastery, not some quick result that gives instant gratification.  With that being said, Sparring, whether it is based on Olympic Taekwondo, Point Sparring, Boxing, Kickboxing, or Grappling, should follow a basic equation at least 80% of the time, especially when doing hit drills or free sparring. We call this the 30/30 Rule.

30% or less- Speed;  30% or less- Power; 100%- Form, Proper Technique, Tactics (80% of the time)

These parameters should be met especially as you are working on skill building and maintenance training. Speed can and should be changed often, depending on what you are doing, but Power should remain at 30% and Technique/Form at 100%.

This allows you, your partner, and the rest of your team to drill and spar longer, avoiding injury and excessive fatigue. With lower speed and power levels you are allowed to better focus on timing, distance judgment, proper body alignment, tactical placement from footwork, rhythms, and multi-targeting. You will also be unafraid to practice and use new techniques, always expanding and building a fuller repertoire.

When the speed and power levels go too high, you will always revert back to only what you are already good at, which gives you no opportunity to build new a broader technique base. Since you need to go slower, when developing timing, distance, rhythm, alignment, and placement for new techniques, excess speed and power will not be your friends, only patience and FORM will!  Not only that, but high levels of speed and power are unsustainable for long periods of time, and tend to degrade technique from fatigue, injuries, mismatched partnering, and etc. As we have already stated previously, your goal in Mastery is Consistent Quality Repetition, not EGO!

Besting your partner in class, while sparring or doing drills really does you and your partner no good, as your goal should be to build each other up, and make your team better at beating other teams, when it counts. So, super fast and hard sparring/drilling should be avoided most of the time, so you can consistently improve. As you and your partners get more comfortable with your technique base prescribed by your instructor/coach, you can add more speed even taking it up to 90-100%, but should really work on keeping the power levels down (this does not include some types of conditioning drills). Your goal is to get to tournaments healthy and uninjured with confidence in your overall sparring ability.

Remember sparring and fighting in general are like playing speed chess. There is absolutely no way to play that game in that manner, if you have never taken the time to learn to properly play chess. So as the saying goes, ‘Slow is Smooth; Smooth is Fast.’ This especially applies to continually progressing with your sparring skills and abilities.