Sparring: Crucial for self-defence!
Sparring is essential to learning how to defend your self. You can read all kinds of books on cooking, but with no experience in a kitchen, you won’t become a good chef.
When it comes to sparring you need to strike the right balance between personal safety and realistic fighting.
How to balance these two conflicting interests will depend on multiple factors.
1: The skill level of you and your opponent (both physically and mentally, the opponent may be able to control the techniques perfectly, but if getting hit causes the opponent to lose self control that won’t matter).
2: The environment and equipment. Is the ground slippery, soft or hard? Are you using a form of gloves, mouthpieces, cups, or anything else that will increase your protection?
3: The purpose behind the sparring. I believe in sparring lightly and sparring full contact, it all depends. Sometimes you won’t the stress level to be low, so you can notice bad habits and avoid them or try out new things. Other times it’s good to be stressed and perhaps take some hits to know how you react under pressure. If you’re sparring to do well in point fights it’s entirely different from how you would approach for instance an MMA fight. If you’re sparring to do well in MMA there are similarities but also big differences to how you need to train for self defence.
It’s always good to spar different opponents, as everyone is different and something can be learned from anyone you face. Seek out opponents of different body types, fighting styles, skill levels and sparring strategies.
Yesterday, I got the chance to spar against a Jeet Kune Do guy (the guy in blue), have a look and draw some inspiration.