Monday, July 30, 2012

Sparring Styles

So, I've been talking to my boyfriend a lot lately about different fighting styles.  Which has gotten me to think about my strategy when I spar.  Now, I'm not trying to imply that I have some expert strategy, in fact, I don't even have much of a strategy to speak of.  I do, however, have a couple of tricks and moves that I favor because they work for me.  So, here's my general strategy:

  1. Control: I value keeping myself calm and controlled over anything else.  The thought of losing control, or causing pain where it is not necessary is a concept that really bothers me.  So it is very important to me to stay calm so that I don't get flustered.  This also helps me avoid mistakes.  In general, I try to mirror the intensity of whomever I am sparring.  This makes sure that I don't allow myself to be easily beaten, but I avoid being too intense and possibly hurting someone.  Part of this comes from the fact that I learned to spar in class with people of varying ages and skill levels.  Because of my smaller size I generally ended up partnered with the 10 or 12 year olds.  This meant that in some cases I needed to make sure that I had good control so that I wouldn't hurt someone.  Now granted, some of them were extremely skilled and did not require me to hold back at all, I'm just generalizing.  So, I keep controlled and calm which makes sparring a lot easier for me.
  2. Using your opponents force against them: My Sensei from my Issynryu class was also a black belt in Tai Chi, which means that he often emphasized using your opponents momentum against them.  The cool thing about this strategy is that you don't need a lot of strength, you simply re-direct their force and use it against them.  This is something that I am still working on, but it is something that I always try to incorporate. 
  3. Kicks: Anyone who has sparred me before generally prepares to be nailed with a lot of kicks.  It's something that I really rely on.  I started doing this after my first belt test.  After I finished the test one of the other students mentioned "You have long legs and you're pretty fast, you should use more kicks."  After that I tried incorporating them more and it worked very well.  I can kick pretty fast and my kicks are a lot stronger than my strikes so it just makes sense for me to use them a lot.  
  4. Block then strike: When I first started to spar I had a very hard time incorporating attacks into my sparring.  I would block all day, but I had a really hard time forcing myself to attack.  So, the Sensei's who worked with me told me that every time I blocked I had to strike immediately afterwards.  This broke me of the hesitation to strike and taught me to flow quickly between defense and offense.  I still have a hard time with outright attacks, but now I can generally settle into a pattern of blocking and striking that is fairly successful.  
  5. Circling: My instinct, probably from watching people fight on tv was to circle my opponent.  Luckily this turned out to be how I was taught to spar.  I generally try to keep up a fairly steady circling motion so that I am never a direct target.  
  6. Lefty fighting: So, I have not completely perfected this yet, but being as I am ambidextrous I figure that I can surprise my opponent and make things difficult for them by fighting left-handed.  If I take a left-handed stance it forces my opponent to do the same making them fight with their non-dominant side.
So, that's pretty much it.  My fighting style, or at least the closest thing I have to one.


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