Sparring is like playing a game of chess except you and your opponent/partner are the chess pieces and the dojang mats is your chess board. In chess you basically use different pieces which all have different moves that they are allowed to do to take out your opponent’s pieces through the use of strategy. You try to stay a few moves ahead of your opponent and try to predict what they will do when you this a certain move so you can counter them and take their piece of the board.
Sparring is the same way. You use the mats as a big game board where you move in various directions trying to set up various strikes on your partner/opponent. You execute certain moves to invoke a desired reaction so you can utilize your desired techniques that you are trying to set up. Of course your partner/opponent is also trying to do the same thing. So many moves get cancelled out so you move onto the next strategy or combination to try and score points.
It’s all just one big game of trying to out score your partner/opponent. How can you out think them. How can you get done what you want to get done. How can you entrap the other person so you have them right where you want them. Learning to make them move they way you want them to move so you can easily set them up for an attack or counter attack. Being able to think ahead three or four moves and predict various outcomes based on what the other person does. Getting into the flow state where you are merely allowing the techniques to do all the work and you are merely a passenger on an awesome right. Your mind and body acting as if they don’t need you present because they just doing everything right.
Of course, just like chest, sparring takes a lot of practice. You simply just have to do it and allow the process of learning to take place. You can apply extra study. You can really focus on what is really happening. You can ask a lot of questions and do a lot of reading on the topic. This all aids in learning a little faster but the best experience to get better is just getting out there and doing it.
There will be times when you feel you won and other times where you feel you lost. The one true thing is that you never really lose if you keep trying. If you keep focusing on getting better each time. Losing is not really losing. It’s another way for you to learn. And when you learn, you win!
Master Jonathan Field