The sparring (the simulation of a real fighting during a training) is a topic many people and many school of thought talk about. For this reason, I decided to write a post on my blog about it, explaining how I deal with it during my trainings.
In the MMA world there are many trends: some fighters use the sparring, others don’t use it at all; many throw their strikes with all their strength, while others try to balance it; few others usually tend to use all the protections, many others use only the groin guard and the mouth guard, like in a real competition; some do a complete sparring, meanwhile others usually divide it into steps (only standing, only on floor etc.)
Everyone of this method has its valid reasons, then I’m going to tell you my own idea about it. What differs from athlete to athlete regards the hits, as sparring (or “rolling”), without any big risk, is done by all the fighters.
Firstly, I do believe that sparring plays an important role in the training, as it is the way you put into practice the techniques you’ve learnt, in order to value their efficacy and modify them according to your own fighting style. So that I consider it essential during a training.
In order to avoid any useless and fool dangers and to preserve my ability to absorb the strikes, I always use all the protections during my sparring of striking: head guard, mouth guard, boxing gloves, groin guard and shin guards.
As regard as sparring including shots, at the Kings MMA we have 3 differente types: Boxe (only fists), Muay Thai (fists, kicks, knees and elbows, taking control of those last ones, that can provoke damages easily) and MMA. In the sparring of MMA, we use the protections used in competition (gloves, mouth guard and groin guard), although we don’t usually hit strongly with fists.
Then there are what we call ‘conditioned sparring’ , that are sparring like the others, but the fighter begins in a certain position (such as with the shoulders against the cage).
A sparring of medium intensity is, then, a daily part of every training, although there’s a day (or rarely 2) when the sparring becomes heavy, with extremely strong hits. Especially in this case, we always use protections with highly lined gloves (16oz). However, it is a training anyway, for this reason we tend to avoid the most dangerous hits such as hitting the face with the knees, elbows, front kicks to the knees, etc.
To sum up, then, I do sparring of medium intensity every day and of maximum intensity only once or rarely twice a week, wearing all the protection.
The tendency to always do it at maximum and without protections (head guard firstly), to let the body get used to the real hits during a real fight is, on my point of view, counter-productive and by the way it might affect your performances in a fight.
We’re are nearly there. Only 15 days before the 30th December. On that day, I’ll show you how can be useful all the sparring I do during a training. Carlos Jr. is warned!