How much time sparring?

Questions for those who teach and train combatives & self defense:

1. How much time does everyone spend sparring or rolling?

2. What's the minimum amount of time you feel is neccesary?

3. How much is too much?

This is non situational, touch gloves and go, competitive type sparring.


Good question but your definition of 'sparring' limits it to 'sport model' (meaning both parties have consent and awareness and approach it 'on balance').

Personally I 'fight' competitively, sparring is part of training. Because I'm a pro MMA fighter I get in the ring at least twice a week to keep sharp, but even then my goal is to replicate the MMA experience and work on problem areas in my game. I find 'trying to win' very limiting to my progress. I just try to 'learn'.

I also do Ballistic Microfights both for sport and for street. The alive 'isolation' work helps me to focus specifically on areas I feel need to be sharpened. These drills are always done 'off balance' and with me at a disadvantage. They are exhausting but are the best and fastest method toward improvement IMO. Often when 'sparring' you often default to what you do best. In the BMF model you are forced to focus specifically on solving the 'problem'.

I don't think there's such thing as 'too much' or 'too little' time spent here. As long as you spend your time training 'alive' you'll see progress.

I hope that helps.


PS: If you want a general example of what I'm talking about you might want to pick up Advanced SPEAR Applications for MMA. It was a 2hr training session Tony put together to help me get ready for my first MMA fight. The formulas fit with whatever you do, even if your tactics differ.

Exactly my intention of limiting it to sport sparring Phil. How much sport sparring is too much vs too little. I should have been more specific.

I also use the BMF and replication process with role playing for street specific training and competition but I wondered how much "sport sparring" most people did even those that spend more time for street defense or mma. How much time is spent competetive sparring?


Since you are already familiar with the BMF process, you can have your coach help you evalute your performance in sparring and then isolate the areas you need to work on. (Tony's Isolation Principle)

The amount of time you spend just sparring will be determined by what you are trying to accomplish.

You can really do quite well with very little sparring, but it really depends on you.

I used to train Amateur Boxers back in the 80's and I have to tell you I learned a ton from Tony's video "Intergrating Martial Arts and Boxing".

It's a formula tape with lots of isolation type drills and some really great ideas for training.

Hope that helps.

Good luck!


Fletch, your quesiton is pretty straight forward, the internet is
a horrible place to have a team, beucase of
time constraints and the literalness of how 'we' all decode
what we read will answer differently.

Of course the more specific the question the more direct the
answer - in theory :-)

Having said that, remember we answer through our filter and
the PDR Coach filter is always goal oriented. Some thoughts:

1. How much time does everyone spend sparring or rolling?

a. Relative to the student's experience, ability and goals.
Someone who cannot focus on fundamentals will develop
atrocious habits if they spar with fear and not form (technique
& goals).

b. Sparring people who are intimidated by you may be fun :-)
but serves no purpose for real confidence unless you
understand isolation & adversity drills and use your stature to
refine tactics that would be too risky if you were busy
protecting yourself.

2. What's the minimum amount of time you feel is neccesary?

a. I had Phil prepare and win the UCC title WITHOUT
conventional it depends on how you train. You
can spar without it making a damn difference in your
confidence or skill (that's getting back to isolation drills and

b. Even if you do 3 light rounds, always create a plan/goal/
objective for the workout (i.e. conditioning or slipping or
timing etc) this way you can debreif and make mental notes
and adjstments for your skill training sessions.

3. How much is too much?

A. Novice or Omnipotent Grandmaster, how much is too
much is determined by how you feel post session -
migraines, slurred speech , memory loss are signs of too
much :-)


PS missed you in Jupiter today!

Thanks guys. This was not so much for myself but more for my instructor development plan that I am implementing for my agency training cadre. I just wanted to get some ideas to discuss.


I really wish I could have made it too. I had to work late and we have the in-laws coming in town for the holidays. I did send my number one guy Roger over to keep you company though. I told him to make sure he picked your brain about Emotional Climate training as that will be one of our more interesting drills this next year in our training.

Sorry I missed you.

Happy Holidays.