Fighting must be rational.
Do not be reckless, giving no thought to defense.
“Do not be a caveman”
There are many methods or schools of thought on defense. In the kickboxing structure we first introduce a method we call the “six gate defense system”. The name derives from traditional Chinese martial arts theory that divides the body up into six gates. First, the body is divided down the middle by the center line into left and right. There are then three gates corresponding to the area above the shoulders (“heaven gate”), between the shoulders and the hips (“man gate”) and the hips down (“earth gate”). The six gate defense system involves parrying (redirecting an attack) and shielding (covering up using the hardest parts of the body, the elbows, the knees and the shins). We believe this is the easiest method for beginners to learn. In addition, it introduces students to the idea of getting hit.
The basics of sparring
– Keep your hands UP
And by this I mean thumbs at eyebrows or at least top of fists at your cheek bones. This isn’t boxing. We have kicks, later we have elbows.
– Keep your chin down
Put it in your chest, and “peek a boo” through your gloves
– Keep your head up
Hips in, hips/shoulders/head in one line, head up. Put your head down you are going to be kneed in the face! Or snapped down! Or choked out!
– Stay up on your toes, light on your feet and MOVE!
– Don’t like getting punched? (no one does!)
1. Keep your distance and kick them (kick the puncher)
2. Tie them up
– Clinch with a PLAN!
In the clinch it is the person who is first with the most that wins
– Don’t like getting kicked? (no one does?)
1. block the kick
2. destroy the kick
3. punch the kicker
4. ride the kick
5. catch the kick
6. avoid the kick
– Knee when they clinch
– Don’t forget your “dirty boxing”
– Throw when they knee
– It is better to be thrown than controlled
– Learn how to fall, how to shrimp, and how to get up
Free sparring in the school is not a competition and there are no winners. There should be NO EGO in free sparring and every student must understand that they are responsible for the safety of their partners. Make free sparring all about improving skills and having fun.
At higher levels, they’ll begin to understand that a good sparring session involves times when both partners are actually cooperative, giving a student the security and opportunity to develop new moves. Light sparring will allow you to work on techniques you have not yet perfected. Constantly sparring with full force will only result in injuries, stagnation and frustration and is counterproductive.
Make sure your training partner knows the plan and the pace of your
Introduce free sparring gradually. Beginning students should engage in no more than three rounds of free sparring per class until they learn to address their fears and adrenaline response.
The first few weeks, basic boxing drills like the “four shields” will get a student accustomed to being hit. Follow up with some of the “live training” drills we’ve already discussed here.
Get comfortable with the idea of getting hit and hitting someone. The earlier you integrate this acceptance, the more progress you will make.
Remember that there are many different free sparring formats designed to develop different skills. In our program we actually use six different formats;
1. Kickboxing sparring with gloves and shin guards
2. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu sparring starting from the knees
3. Pummeling for neck control with knees strikes
4. Pummeling for body control with takedowns
5. San Da sparring (kickboxing with the throws but not ground work)
6. Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) (standing and ground)
Each format has its own advantages and disadvantages so doing all of them produces very well rounded students. Finally, realistic expectations of your performance are important. You will make mistakes.
A few guidelines for kickboxing sparring
1. Hands up
2. Chin down
3. Up on your toes
4. Do no lunge with your punches
5. After every strike or kick recover your guard
6. “Nothing for free”
7. Do not lean back to avoid strikes and kicks
8. Keep your back off the wall/ropes
9. Attack with combinations
10. Set up your kicks
11. Punch vs. kicks
12. Kick vs. punches
13. Clinch to strike
14. Clinch to throw
15. Knee vs. throws
16. Throws vs. knees