Taekwondo sparring is an integral part of taekwondo training. It can be a fun, exciting, and challenging way to put into practice what you have learned.
Taekwondo sparring is an integral part of taekwondo training. There is a very definitive role that sparring plays:
- it gives you the opportunity to practice your taekwondo techniques against an opponent in a dynamic, free-flowing environment.
- for the more experienced exponent, taekwondo sparring also allows you to hone and refine your fighting strategy.
There are many variations of taekwondo sparring such as non-contact, semi-contact, and full-contact sparring. These different degrees of contact allow for different experience levels, and importantly also allows for the training taekwondo exponent to choose the level of contact that they are comfortable with. In all, the principles are the same and will in some way relate to most belt levels - That is, practicing general punching and kicking techniques, practicing competition specific fighting techniques, and working on basic and advanced taekwondo sparring strategy.
More specifically, this taekwondo sparring strategy might include:
- distancing and footwork
- movement and "ring craft"
- counter attacking movement and technique
- combination techniques, both forward moving and backward moving
- controlling the fighting space and your opponent
- learning to "read" or anticipate an opponents movement, defense, and attack
Other benefits to taekwondo sparring
- improves your reaction and reflexes.
- gives you a degree of confidence when "facing off" against an opponent - in fact many people inexperienced in a martial arts environment report a breakdown of fear patterns.
- quickly identifies strengths and weakness you may have in relation to your taekwondo sparring - for example does being taller/shorter/heavier/lighter/faster/older/stronger/more flexible/younger/slower...have any advantage/disadvantage to your sparring strategy, and how you use, or allow for these things.
- improves your fitness and cardiovascular ability.
Styles of Taekwondo Sparring
All taekwondo sparring is performed with safety and level of experience and training in mind, either by restricting the level of contact (non-contact or controlled, light contact), by adhering to very specific competition rules, and by using related taekwondo safety equipment.
Some taekwondo sparring is performed in a general taekwondo class environment, with all belt levels participating, as a part of their basic taekwondo training. Other taekwondo sparring might be performed in a sport specific class, where the participants are training in sport taekwondo or Olympic taekwondo sparring. Usually these classes are for the more advanced taekwondo exponents.
Taekwondo sparring can be a fun, exciting, and challenging way to put into practice what you have learned. If you are apprehensive about this part of your taekwondo training, trust your taekwondo instructor to not put you in a situation that you are not ready for...relax, learn, and use the sparring opportunity to become a better martial artist. The benefits are truly great.