Have you just starting taekwondo sparring?
Or maybe you’ve been sparring for a little while and you could use some help to boost your performance.
Here are 5 taekwondo sparring tips that will help you reach your sparring goals.
1. Start Sparring Early In Your Taekwondo Journey
Start taekwondo sparring classes as soon as your instructor says you’re ready. It might seem daunting…but as a white or yellow belt – no one expects anything of you!
And in a good martial arts school the instructor will not let anyone bully or over-power you. A good coach will put you against someone who will take care of you – very possibly a taekwondo black belt. A good teacher will then increase the pressure slowly as you show you can handle it. If you start sparring classes as a green belt and you’ve never done it before you can look a bit daft! Especially if you come up against lower grades who spar regularly!
2. Understand That Fear Is Normal – And Don’t Let It Stand In Your Way
Do top taekwondo competitors feel scared before a bout?…of course, they do!
Everyone feels fear in taekwondo sparring. It’s very intimidating to go into a ring and face someone intent on kicking and punching you. The answer is to decide that you will not let your fear beat you. Force yourself to get into the ring and do your best. In reality, it never seems to be as bad as you think it’s going to be.
And when you conquer your fear…you feel fantastic!
3. Footwork Footwork Footwork
If you remember only one sparring tip remember what Mohammed Ali said ‘float like a butterfly sting like a bee’
In sparring (like in boxing) footwork really is the key. It’s hard to believe… but in sparring what happens between your kicks is actually more important than the kicks themselves.
- Learn to slide forwards and backward keeping your weight on both feet and your body over your legs.
- Learn to switch quickly on the spot.
- Learn to step forwards and backward quickly and accurately.
- And learn to move sideways in a balanced way.
So another of our great sparring tips is… take your time, and listen hard when your instructor teaches you footwork. Practice it and pay attention to every tiny detail. It will pay off!
4. Start To Understand Your Kicking Distance
When beginners start sparring they often kick in front of the opponent- their kicks don’t reach the target. One of our top sparring tips is that you need to start to understand your kicking distance.
Start to learn where you can reach with a kick- and don’t kick until you are at the right distance to make the point score. Too close or too far out and you miss and waste effort. You have to use your footwork to get the distance just right.
You also need to look at your opponent. Are they taller or shorter than you? If they’re shorter keep them out and take advantage of your long legs. And if they’re taller than you – you need to rely on your speed and footwork. Move inside their kicking range. Score. And get out again.
5. Think About Ways To Relax Your Body
Taekwondo sparring is frantic and busy. Your brain has to cope with multiple signals and stresses and it’s easy to get overwhelmed and panic.
This is usually when mistakes happen and you lose the bout.
So one of our top taekwondo sparring tips is something you can do outside the school…take some time to think about how you can best calm your mind.
Maybe taking a deep but short breath in and then a long breath out while you shake your shoulders will work for you. Or perhaps you can smile inside and shake your legs. Practice this outside the ring. And then next time you are sparring and you feel the pressure mount…skip away from your opponent and watch them carefully while you calm yourself down. Then go re-engage in the bout with a clear head.
Visit us at HC Taekwondo if you’re interested in learning and practicing the Olympic sport Taekwondo or inquire HERE. We’re located in the Houston, Pearland, and Pasadena areas and welcome all new students to join us and have fun while getting fit!