Sparring... 50%?

Bolo, how much of your sparring time do think should be done at half speed?

Our sparring has always been full speed, but the other night we went half speed. We worked on not using power and just flowing. I thought it was very helpful and fun. Got a chance to really work on positions and could stop and go over something that was giving me trouble.

I know you need to have a good mixture of both, but I was curious as to how much you would recommend of each.


What do you mean by "full speed"? If you mean like 100% competition style intensity, I think that should only be done on rare occasions and right before competitions. If you train like that all the time, the chance for injury is very high and you learn very little.

When you roll regular, I suggest rolling at about 80% intensity. One in a great while go 100% and once in a while drop it to about 50%.

Well, I wouldn't say we go 100% competition intensity. Probably more like 80%, like you said. We have fun with it, but it does get a little intense sometimes as with anything competitive.

So you suggest only going at about 50% occasionally? While keeping the majority at around 80%?

I liked the 50% because I got to work out of positions and just flow without a lot of resistance. Of course, that's also one of the drawbacks, too.

Thanks Bolo!

I can tell you that very few people know how to roll at 80% consistantly. Most people roll 80% until they are close to getting a submission, they are close in getting caught in a submission, or they are close to getting put in a bad position. When one of the three things happens, it suddenly turns into 100%.

Rather than referring to intensity, I prefer to tell my students to refrain from explosivements. The reason I say that is that having good technique is not just able flowing to other techniques. Good technique can also allow you to crush through resistance. This gives you the illusion of strength and power without really using a lot of it.

That makes sense, Bolo. That's exactly what happens in our sparring. Everything goes good until someone is about to be submitted or in a bad position, then come the explosive movements.

I try my best to resist this, but it sure is hard to keep from it. I'm getting better, I think. I would rather tap and view it as a learning experience than to rely on strength and explosiveness to get me out. I figure it will help me more in the long-run.

What do you think of videotaping sparring sessions? I do that occasionally and I get to see things that I may have missed in the midst of sparring.

I think taping it is an excellent idea. The only time I have seen myself was in my only MMA fight, and I saw myself making heaps of mistakes and now I think about what not to do when I roll.

Golfers, swimmers, and I'm sure many elite athletes tape their techniques and analyse them to improve their game.