> Library

Sparring with Newbies
Learn even when you're much better than your partner.

 More of this Feature

• Part 1: Introduction
• Part 2: Eyes Wide Shut
• Part 3: Play-by-Play
• Part 4: Go Topless
• Part 5: One Dimension
• Part 6: One Attack
• Part 7: Learn by Teaching

When your partner in a sparring round is new to your style, or perhaps new to the martial arts in general, can you still develop your own skills? Or must you resign yourself to leading the newbie through their paces, without any development of your own?

We've had a lot of beginners join us in our regular workout lately. Most of the regulars have practiced our "anything goes" style for many years, and so we're used to beating each other up.

But with the newbies, we can't go as hard as we'd do with one of the regulars. Many folks would see this situation as great for the newbie, crummy for the experienced student. How does the experienced student get anything out of such a round? Simple--by giving up some of your advantages.

Limit Yourself to Learn

A while back I wrote about limiting yourself to learn more. By sparring without my glasses on, I had to rely upon more senses than just sight, and develop more advanced skills than the ones I had used previously.

This was with one of my regular sparring partners, someone with equal or better abilities than mine. Giving myself a handicap made me stretch and develop.

Ideas for Sparring with Newbies

This same theme can be used when sparring with someone whose skills are not as developed (or not developed at all) than yours. Here's some ideas that we'll discuss in detail in the next few pages:

Next page > Eyes wide shut > Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Previous Articles


All content copyright © 1999-2016 James Hom