Lately, sparring and I have been at odds with each other. I think the term "love-hate relationship" fits very well with my feelings on the subject at the moment. One week I'll have a very frustrating spar or spars where nothing seems to work, I turn into a human punching bag, and I can't turn off the dozens of analytical thoughts running through my brain that gets me into trouble. They go something like this,

"Okay, what's he doing? He's setting me up for something, but what? He's light on that front foot--"


"That hurt...I need to stop trying to figure out everything he's doing and just react. Okay. But now he's changed sparring styles and he's in a really narrow stance. I think he's baiting me... I need to stop facing him head on and try to cut an angle to get out of his kicking range where I'll only be beat half to death if I stay--"

*bam* *smack*

 "...Just like that."

*more sounds of student being pummeled by instructor*

Last Tuesday's class and also Thursday's class went like this. I know what I need to do, but I spend too much time thinking about it that my reaction time ends up being slow and nothing seems to work.

On the other hand, the next week's spar will be the complete opposite. Tuesday's class was a prime example of this. I sparred blue belt J.M. during his stripe test (which he did very well on and passed) and before the spar, I was told that I needed to control it or else I would be the one pummeled. The last time we sparred was during my red belt test and he definitely got the better of me. This time though, we bowed in, touched gloves, and everything went beautifully. I didn't think and didn't analyze. I went out there are reacted. I just sparred.

Afterward, my instructors asked me what changed from the last few times I sparred to this time. I wasn't exactly sure what to tell them. There wasn't a conscious thought that went through my mind of "Okay, I'm going to do _____." Maybe it was my attitude. I didn't feel intimidated or pressured. I really don't know what the difference was other than everything felt right.

The goal now is to replicate that rightness in my next spar. Hopefully tomorrow night I will get the chance to spar Mr. G and Mr. Mc. I'm going to request it specifically.

1 comment:

Perpetual Beginner said...

I know this one very well. Some days, some opponents I'm just "on", and everything works. Mostly it seems to be a matter of whether I can get my brain to turn off.

Sometimes if I'm stuck in analytical mode I can break out of it by narrowing my field of decision. For example I'll pick a single attack (like a side-thrust kick) and concentrate entirely on scoring with that one technique. It doesn't always work, but it's helpful enough that I use it as a teaching technique with students who over-analyze.

I never have learned to reproduce the really good days reliably, but over time my bad days have gotten fewer and better.