While repetition will help ensure that your technique is on point, the same techniques are wasted if never put into a real-world scenario. Sparring is a unique method of training and can help your students understand and familiarize themselves with the nuances of combat. Through sparring, students can gain invaluable experience and react in a tournament or in self-defense as if second nature.
Here are some of the benefits of sparring at your martial arts school.
Apply Your Techniques in Real-World Situations
Students can practice punches, kicks, and combinations and even perfect them; however, without applying them in real-world scenarios, it can be hard to know whether these techniques are truly practical in the face of danger. Sparring provides this opportunity, but removes the aspect of danger, allowing students to practice within a controlled environment. It is the closest thing to a fight in a competition or with an attacker – giving your students a more genuine sense of how they should respond in a fight.
Helping with Impact Control
Getting hit can be jarring but sparring helps students learn how to bounce back. With the supervision of a teacher, sparring can quickly help your students deal with being hit and learn how to literally roll with the punches. This physical toughness translates to psychological toughness as well, especially since sparring exists in a safe space. Any confrontations outside of sparring will seem less harrowing and practicing assists with recovery from disappointment or failure.
A Healthy Form of Anger Management
Unchecked anger and aggression can be harmful for one’s psychology. Sparring teaches students how to healthily turn on and off their aggression and, more importantly, how to hold it back when required. In learning how to control their aggression, they become more in charge of their emotions. This self-awareness can help discourage violence, especially in children and young adults, and can potentially help them stay out of trouble.
Sharpens Your Techniques
Repetition can improve form, but sparring can sharpen one’s techniques even further. After all, punching or kicking air with proper technique is going to be different than doing the same with a moving target. Students will also learn how to simultaneously defend themselves from incoming attacks, helping to improve their timing and reflexes as well.
Improves Footwork and Fitness
Footwork may be overlooked during repetition training, since there is no need to practice it without the context of fighting an opponent. With sparring, a student is forced to use proper footwork and react in accordance to the movements of their opponents. One wrong step and it could cost your student the fight. Students will quickly learn the importance of proper footwork while remaining defensive.
Another important application for sparring is the overall fitness level of your students. Active sparring works many muscle groups and can be an excellent cardio workout for warm-up. Consider utilizing more sparring in class as a substitute for more traditional gym activities that you’d see at a regular fitness center.