No matter how long you train to get into shape, work on combinations with a heavy bag or hone those combinations with Muay Thai pads, at some time, if you want to use what you’ve learned, you have to spar. I know a lot of my students in Long Island, NY are initially intimidated when they go into the ring and that’s why I’ve put together some Muay Thai sparring techniques that can help anyone for their first real chance to test their skills.
Relax and put your fear aside.
One good relaxation technique is deep breathing. Staying calm and use your breathing to help slow your heart and get more in focus with yourself and what you’ll o next. Take in everything about your opponent as you do. Deep breathing will help you slow down everything around you. Always face your opponent and don’t take your eyes off him or her. If you focus on your partner’s chest, rather than trying to look him or her in the eyes, you’ll get clues from the muscle movement about the move he or she’s about to make.
Don’t try to get fancy, but stick to the basics.
Whether you’re on the attack or defending yourself, keep it as simple as possible. You’ve probably practiced all the basics until you know them by heart and started learning a few more complicated ones. Keep the complicated ones at home for your first few sparring sessions. Sticking to the basics means you can act without trying to remember the next move. You’ll have more power with these tools. Always remember, there’s a reason they’re basics and why they’re taught first.
Don’t worry about getting hit.
One of the biggest problems faced by people new to sparring is they try to avoid being hit at all costs. That doesn’t mean you should let your guard down and forget to deflect, block or evade a punch. What it does mean that don’t it affect your offensive tactics that could help you come out victorious. Worrying about getting hit can take its toll and stop you in your tracks. You’ll get hit sometime, no matter how hard you try not to, so learning how to handle it early is good.
- Use your time wisely. If you’re sparring mirrors the real fights, there are three minutes in each round and five rounds. Don’t burn up all your energy in the first round only to fade at the end.
- Remember that sparring is all about practicing and making your skills better, not about winning.
- After you’ve had a few experiences sparring, look for partners with totally different styles and strategies. The more experience you have against different styles, the more you’ll be able to learn new ways to handle them.
- Make sure you have all the right equipment before you start sparring.