Martial Arts - Sparring
In the martial arts, sparring is a very useful training technique, helping students become better with their techniques and what they have learned.
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Sparring is something that all martial arts use. There are numerous other fighting sports, such as boxing and wrestling that also use sparring. It is a very useful training technique, helping students improve their technique, and broaden their skills with what they have learned.
Practice with other people allows students to learn their arts better, and become more adept at performing the techniques even more quickly and efficiently than with solo practice.
If you are a student learning and practicing martial arts formally in a dojo (place of learning) with a sensei (instructor), you will find sparring to be not only beneficial to training, but be an exciting experience as well. Also, the instructor will be available to watch, guide, and correct students, while making sure that no one gets hurt. In the proper training environment, students normally use full body gear, including headgear, to ensure safety, and protect from injury, during practice.
With time, and depending on your personal skill level, and the particular martial art you are studying, you may eventually end up sparring without protective gear at all. Very skilled martial arts students often spar without protective equipment. This often depends on their teacher believing they are skilled enough for sparring, and, that their technique is good enough that they can go a few rounds with other skilled students without making any contact at all.
Martial arts such as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, that focus on grappling, probably make the most use of sparring, as it is needed to learn how to properly execute the techniques. Martial arts that focus mainly on grappling use joint locks and submission techniques, which will need to be practiced quite a bit before they can be used effectively during a competition, or even as real-world self defense in street fighting or other close quaters combat.
During sparring, students go back and forth, competing with each other and testing each other. The length of the individual "rounds" may vary, although most last several minutes. Sparring students will also get help and insight from their instructors so they will know how they are doing and if they need to change anything.
At the same time, instructors have the opportunity to see just how well you are progressing in training and what areas need more practice.
Surprisingly, sparring can actually be done alone. If you are sparring solo, you'll use equipment such as punching bags, tackling dummies, or other forms of equipment that will help you develop your martial arts technique. My grandkids' tae kwon do instructor has a BOB, or body opponent bag, for their practice. As mentioned above, many foam or rubber dummies are often used with grappling techniques or punching on the ground, representing the opponent that you are trying to whip into submission.
Martial arts instructors agree that sparring is an excellent way to practice the skills you have learned, either against martial arts equipment or other students.
Your fellow students are fun to spar against, especially if they are at a higher level of training or skill than you are. You can thus use the sparring sessions even more to your advantage, learning what others do and how they react to your movements and techniques. The more often you spar, and, refine and practice your moves - the more you will achieve in your training, speed, and the execution of the martial arts skills and techniques you have been studying.
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