Battle Chess

All the brave tryouts and the selected 'West Of Exeter' team
for the 40th Anniversary SW TKD competition

Things to note about sparring:

Sparring is not fighting because there are rules: but it can seem like a fight, especially with strikes to the face. It is hard to be struck in the face and not find it overly confrontational. Anyone who has experienced confrontation and particularly violent confrontation may experience a resurgence of negative emotions. A good instructor knows this and will support their students in learning through this barrier. The primary opponent in martial arts training is your own self: your doubts and fears. If you want to get those under control, learning to spar can be excellent therapy. I have seen students progress from quivering wreck to fierce competitor. It does happen! Trust the faith that your instructor has in you. 

There is more to sparring than the bravery. There is the deployment of good techniques. A clever fighter sees the fight as a series of techniques and is looking for patterns that may show up a weakness in the opponents guard: like a physical version of chess. Assertiveness can trounce aggression.

Another point to sparring is that it can beat your ego up. It is tough to lose when you’ve trained hard. The less you focus on that though, the more you will learn. Analyse the bout, be brutally honest with yourself. Sometimes the referee might be wrong because they are human (they are) but what positive thing can you learn from blaming others? In life, not all will be fair. Consider what the definition of a loser is: someone who stood up in the ring or someone who wanted to but was afraid of losing? With the right attitude there is no losing, only win or learn. That way you can out into the world without any trophies at all and be a strong and wonderful person. That, to me, is the better outcome.

Christmas Blindfold Bop pictured here:
sparring related and nurturing  :-) 


Cherdo said…
I love everything about this post and I totally agree. We can't expect kids to figure some of this out by themselves...a little guidance will go along way. I think that if a parent read this post to their child, it would be wonderful.
Lisa Southard said…
Nervous adults need this advice too- it's pretty much a summation of my sparring pep talk and I've plastered this post all over our Tae Kwon-Do Facebook pages to reinforce it. A good martial art is training for life, is a way of life, the fight is not the focus :-)

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