Sparring Etiquette

Just for the sake of clarity and safety, this guide is what we expect at Extreme Kickboxing Scarborough when sparring.


Sparring lessons are not an opportunity to go all out to hurt or beat up your opponent. They should be used as a chance to practice technique with moderate to high intensity but without too much power.


Think about it, if you want to practice a certain technique that means getting in close with a chance of being hit, you are less likely to try that technique if someone is trying to hit you hard.


Remember you are here to learn and the only time for hard or full contact sparring is in a competition.


Before sparring, always ask you partner and agree how hard you both want to spar. If you know you have the advantage (you may be bigger or more experienced), do not use it to your advantage. Push your partner but not too hard. They need to have the confidence to spar again with you again knowing they won’t get hurt or beat up.


It’s important to keep both yourself and your partner safe when sparring.


Here are the points that will make you a good sparring partner:


1) First and foremost - Don’t’ beat up people just because you can, people less experienced or smaller than you because it’s easy. This just makes you a bully and it won’t be tolerated. There always ways to challenge yourself in sparring without beating somebody up just because they aren’t up to your skill level. Recognise their skill level, judge how hard you should be going to push your partner but keeping them safe at the same time.

2) On the other side of the coin, if you are the lower level fighter, don’t feel like you can throw all your shots hard just because you are sparring someone who is supposed to be better than you. You are still practicing your techniques and it doesn’t give you the automatic right to try and take your opponents head off.

Remember, if you push too hard with an advanced fighter, there’s a good chance they will come back at you with some hard techniques of their own.

3) Do not front kick or elbow to the face. There isn’t much padding on the bottom of your feet and certainly none on your elbow so a well aimed strike to the face is both disrespectful to your partner and can easily break their nose. By all means, throw the techniques but pull it back or stop just before it lands.

4) Pull shots - if you are striking you partner who may have shelled up and you get them to lower their guard down at one side exposing the side of their head, don’t hit them hard just because you can, strike them but pull the power from the punch or kick at the last moment.

5) Inconsistent power. Often you will find some people who will spar lightly and then all of a sudden bang! Out of the blue comes a very hard punch or kick and then they spar lightly again before springing another hard blow. Always spar at a moderate to high intensity but without sudden high-power moves. Remember, you are not trying to knock your partner out, you are working with them in an effort for you both to practice your techniques.

If you are lucky, power shots will win you a match but with more skilled fighter, they’ll see it coming and get out of the way and probably counter your shot so you’ll only win with your techniques and by out smarting your opponents with good combinations and footwork.

6) Do not attack the knees. Never kick the knee joint while sparring as opposed to the thigh which is a legitimate target, the knee is not. If you hurt someone’s thigh, they hobble a way and a day or two later they are fine but kicking the knee joint can lead to serious injury.

7) Never punch people on the nose. If there is one thing that’s going to escalate sparring intensity its being hit on the nose. Sometimes in an exchange you might catch the nose and that’s fine in that situation but never attempt to purposely hit your sparring partner on the nose. That’s just behaving like a jerk and it can lead to nose bleeds and a broken nose and that not what this club is about. There is no reason not to aim for the forehead or (more lightly) on the jaw instead.

Well that’s everything so just remember, train hard but above all, keep yourself and your sparring partner safe and have fun sparring.

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