3 Major Benefits & Misconceptions of Sparring

3 Major Benefits & Misconceptions of SparringIMG_0222

Sparring is one of the most enjoyable aspects of martial arts training.

This article covers the 3 major benefits of sparring and clears up several misconceptions about sparring, including; who should spar and how hard you should spar.

Firstly, let’s look at exactly what sparring is.

At Masters Academy Plymouth we define sparring as “application of technique in a controlled manner”. Notice how I don’t use the word fighting. That’s because sparring and fighting are very different things.

Sparring is just a tool to develop your martial arts skills.

How hard should you spar?


This will depend on the goal of the students you are teaching. It will also depend on the individual students level of comfort.

For the most recreational martial arts students sparring should be light and playful. Light sparring will allow to to develop your skills without the fear of injury.

Side Note: after the recent UFC Welterwight title fight between Jonny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler (two of the hardest hitting fighters in the UFC) it’s was revealed neither fighter sparred hard I perpetration for that fight. In fact Lawler hadn’t sparred in nearly 5 years!

Read the report at http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1994748-johny-hendricks-vs-robbie-lawler-how-safe-sparring-may-change-contact-sports

Occasionally hard sparring can be a useful tool to pressure test your skills or for fighters.

However this should be occasional and at least 4 weeks away from a fight for competitors.

So who would benefit from sparring?


My answer is everyone, providing it’s done correctly and the participants have a basic level of skill.

There are three major benefits you can get from sparring. Two of these you can only develop through sparring.

1) Conditioning – Sparring is great for your fitness.

Although there are many other ways to develop your sports specific fitness. I’ve never found anything as good as sparring.

The nice part of sparring is you can’t stop when you want, only at the end of a round or you’ll get caught.IMG_0433

This will force you out of your comfort zone an have a big impact on your fitness levels.

2) Range – this is the distance away from your opponent to effectively get a technique to work.

Sparring is the only way you will develop an effective understanding of range.

A good understanding of range will keep you safe and allow you to attack at will.

3) Timing – techniques shouldn’t be thrown at random hoping they’ll work. As well as a correct distance (range) there is also a correct time to use a technique.

If you use a technique at the wrong time it will lead you to being countered or may not work.

Effective timing can only be developed through many hours of sparring.

These are just 3 of the benefits of sparring. You will also develop your coordination, balance, flexibility, confidence, focus, and much more.

This Saturday 17th May 2014 we are holding a sparring seminar. It starts at 1:30pm and will finish around 3:00pm.

On it you’ll learn the basics of how to spar safely, sparring strategies, and how to make the most of every sparring session.

If you want to learn more about martial arts training in Plymouth call 01752 262233 or fill out the form on this page.