By Evan Lee 

Sparring is the most important thing you can do to improve your fighting abilities. It is the closest thing to fighting itself and can be done safely if you follow the right rules and guidelines. 

Sparring is where everything you’ve done comes to the test. It will tell you what you’ve done well in training and what you must improve on. This will inform what your future training sessions and overall training focus should look like. 

However, when you are just beginning in the sport of Muay Thai and any combat sport in general, it can be very easy to get flustered and accidentally fight a bit too hard and aggressively. This is a quick way to get injured and lose every single sparring partner you have. You don’t want to be one of those dudes. 

Luckily, we are here to save the day. Sparring done poorly is terrible for you, but sparring done properly is the best possible thing you can do to improve your fighting abilities. Let’s get into how to spar: 

DON'T SPAR LIKE THIS! Do You Make These Common Beginner Sparring Mistakes?

 The Insanely Important Importance of 'Keeping Your Cool'

Of all the ways that sparring can improve you, the mental improvements you’ll find are the most valuable, especially as a beginner. Beginners often make the mistakes that they do when sparring because they let their emotions take over and are unable to stay calm and think through what they need to do. 

The greatest fighters in the world are all incredibly calm and focused. Think about deadly strikers like Saenchai, Anderson Silva, Conor McGregor, etc. They are all laser-focused in the ring yet incredibly calm. This allows them to bring all of their training into the fight.

If they panicked, they would not do what they are trained to do. It is also because they are calm that they are able to do some of the incredible things that they do. For instance, when Carlos Condit caught Georges St-Pierre with a head kick and dropped him in their fight, GSP was able to weather the storm, regroup and come back to dominate the rest of the fight - something that young GSP was unable to do against Matt Serra, where he got clipped and let his ego take over to swing for the fences instead of weathering the storm. 

Nothing will teach you how to be calm in a fight like being in a fight, just like how nothing will teach you how to be calm swimming in the ocean like swimming in the ocean. It is difficult to do much of anything when you lose your head. 

However, this does not mean that you should treat sparring like a full-on fight. Your main focus should be making sure that you can stay calm under fire. Once you’re able to stay calm, then you are able to bring all of your incredible skills to the table and build even more incredible skills on top of that. And that’s where the real fun begins.

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