Monday, 26 January 2009

Turning away when Sparring or Fighting

When a new martial artist who is studying a striking art starts sparring, they are usually very keen and eager to fight. Within a few minutes however of there first taste of it, they soon realise that it is a lot harder than it looks and most of there basic training goes out the window and natural instincts take over.

These natural instincts are things that untrained people do when faced with strikes coming towards them, including, throwing up there hands to cover themselves, ducking or probably the most common and dangerous, turning there heads away.

Turning your head away when sparring or fighting is bad. There is no other way to describe it. Sometimes a fighter gets lucky when he turns his head and there opponent does not take advantage of the golden opportunity presented to them, but most of the time it ends in either repeated strikes which can not be defended, a choke hold of some sort or in the most luckiest of circumstances, a telling off from the coach.

Obviously practise through sparring is the only way to fight this natural instinct and remain facing your opponent when bombarded with strikes. However some tips to deal with this issue include,

Keeping your guard up always – By keeping up your guard and developing a good defence you will get used to learning to defend without having to turn away.

Learning to take a blow – Fighters turn there heads because they don’t want to get hit. Through regular sparring and by getting hit (something that happens to everyone who spars) you shall get used to it as much as possible and the fear of getting hit will disappear.

Defend by attacking – People turn there heads because they are thinking too much about defending themselves. If you stop thinking about defending and think about attacking you may be able to counter the thought of turning your head. Ways to do this include, stop hits, blocking and countering at the same time and shooting in on your opponent as they attack.

Spar against two people – As you spar against one person, have someone standing behind you and as soon as you turn away, have the second person attack you while the other one stops. This will force you to deal with constant attacks even if you turn your head or not.

A good coach – A good coach who points it out whenever you turn away and makes it known to you, will help you in realising that its bad. This will help you to think about it more during sparring and to eventually stop it.

Last but not least…..practise, practise and more practise.


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Lori O'Connell said...

Good article. I fully agree.

Colin Wee said...

"Turning your head away when sparring or fighting is bad. There is no other way to describe it."

The other way to describe it is 'expanding the target area' - a head with chin tucked in poses a smaller target area than a head that is pulling back, exposing nose, chin, neck, etc. Strikes to this sort of target create a huge impact and vibration which ends up at the neck joint - rather than having the entire body supporting and absorbing the blow.


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