SPARRING THRILL

23/11/2023
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Martial arts training has many different aspects, and different methods of delivering the traditional teachings that are passed down from master to student. Of these aspects, one of the most popular amongst KB members is sparring, which is fighting in a controlled manner. Sparring entails kicking, punching and blocking work with a partner, whilst wearing protective equipment.

Someone who has never attended a KB class may think that a taste for sparring means an inclination for fighting with aggression. In fact, it’s the opposite – KB members are nurturing and caring towards one another, and the last thought in their minds is to hurt their peers.

“Sparring pulls together everything we learn in class! You always know your 

partner is taking care of you, and you them, and everyone is having fun too,” said Ruth.

Ryan said: “It’s great for really applying the lesson plan and helping to understand the concepts that we’re drilling in class – brings an extra dimension to training, in a safe and controlled way.”

“Safe and controlled” are the key words here. KB Fitness is a semi-contact school, which means that all contact is light and controlled. We focus on teaching cleanliness and accuracy of technique, rather than heavy force.

Part of our members’ training is learning their range. This means that with practice, each student is aware of how far they need to be positioned from their target in order to land the techniques correctly. For example, landing a jab so that the fist connects lightly and with a straight arm, rather than the punch being ‘buried’ into the target or landing with a bent arm and pushing through.

Chief Instructor Kelly (KB) guides her students to practise martial arts with grace, style and speed.

“I spar for a lot of different reasons – it’s great for applying the lesson plans and shows why we do the techniques and blocks the way we do. I like the strategy of it and seeing how to score points against each other in the points fighting. I like the friendly and supportive nature of the sparring at KB and that it’s light contact. You build a great rapport with your sparring buddies. I like the friendly competition of the tournaments and, above all, I like sparring because it’s fun!” said Neil, who’s been in the school for 11 years.

As everyone has different styles of fighting, and different preferences when sparring, Neil made an interesting point when he spoke about strategy. In addition to learning the lesson plan in a more practical way when sparring, KB members also learn from one another, enriching the experience even more.

Kelly FN said: “Sparring increases our fitness and our reaction time. We become faster and sharper. I love working with different partners and learning from them. Also learning that everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, and learning to understand this about myself, too, especially as a shorter person. I love that at KB sparring is as safe as it can be, and everyone takes care of one another.”

Ryan, Neil, Ruth and Kelly FN have been training at KB Fitness for a number of years so are well experienced in sparring. Hafiza and Yasmin, who have much more recently started their KB journeys, also wanted to share a few words:

“From the taster lesson I had been interested and excited to spar as sparring allows me to see where I’m actually hitting and I’m so much happier when I get a kick or a punch right on a person, than just in the air. It’s much more satisfying to land a technique accurately where it’s intended. I do feel safe when I’m sparring, especially with the higher grades because they give me space to land a punch and a kick which boosts my confidence. Since I’ve started sparring, it’s easier to visualise where my punches are supposed to go so I feel like I am able to pick them up quicker,” said Hafiza.

“I started sparring quite early on in my KB journey. It was really great to work on translating what we learn in lessons into practice and into fighting. The thing that makes me so comfortable is that in the months that I have been sparring, I have never once felt unsafe or that I am in an uncomfortable position. I am so grateful that the higher grades make a point of keeping us safe and not using it as an opportunity to fight at their level, but more to teach and show and challenge us, or point out something we could adjust or try, to make our own sparring more effective. Sparring has revealed for me a level of fitness and use of my body that I didn’t realise I could access. It’s a challenge, it’s tiring and it needs you to dig deep, but the feeling you get from it is indescribable – it’s addictive!” said Yasmin.

“Addictive” is a good way to describe it, when it relates to always wanting to learn more, challenge yourself and feel utter satisfaction from noting your own success, your own progress.

There’s no denying that applying techniques onto a partner is very different from landing them onto a pad or doing them in the air. It requires concentration and faster reactions, a natural progress of martial arts training, that brings benefits to day-to-day life.

While there are many reasons for enjoying sparring, there’s one thing all our members agree on: it’s very fun.

As Chief Instructor Kelly (KB) pointed out, “It’s the most exhilarating aspect of our training.”

Are you at all curious about martial arts training and sparring? Book your first KB Kickboxing London class today.

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