Sparring smart

I love sparring and I do not totally love pads. I like to use my pads to fix problem areas and conditioning but sparring or sparring drills are the best thing anyone can do

So how often do you spar/alive drill?

Do you ever use the Vale Tudo gloves?

I alive drill with Kickboxing/boxing 2 days a weeki and do Vale tudo drilling daily( wall drills, defense v. grappler/striker, etc)

And I think it is important to spar with those gloves. I know a lot of people disagree with that you just have to go super light on the contact and have trustworthy partners

Good post.

Pad work definitely has it's place, but it obviously can never replace good sparring/drilling.

It's important to spar with different level of gloves/padding and even without any. Of course, you need to train specifically for your goal, whether it be sport or street.

The MMA/JKD athlete needs to spar alot with the MMA gloves, but it's also good to wear the big gloves for full contact occasionally as well.

We will use all different levels of protection to accomplish different goals in our training. Even occasionally going with no pads, no protection and no mats.

Isolation sparring and goal specific sparring is a big part of our training as well. Just putting gear on and "going at it" can somtimes leave you spinning in the mud and making little to no progress.

Just sparring and wrestling, and not doing much drills etc. is the biggest reason why my development stopped as a fighter. In my club the top fighters sparred with eachother mainly, and the rest sparred with them and with each other. That and the obligatory short technique training session in the beginning.Not always even that.

Sometimes it felt pointless going to training, knowing you were just gonna get fucked up.I always felt like a "Bubba"doll for the top guys, and when sparring with the rest, it was always the same...

Btw. we never had headgear, sometimes a cagemask when we drilled to take the opponent down without strikes, and he just let loose on our heads..:)

And sometimes the instructor sparred with the topguys with just vale-tudo gloves...and mouthpiece.Luckily I was'nt one of them lol. We had quite a few injuries...good Of course, we werent jkd, just mma..

Gees, fuck that!. That sounds rough! I have had hard training sessions that were not far from all out fighting but I always had time to work on my technique

"why is it in muay thai places they only spar with big gloves"

How many "Thai places" have you been exposed to? We spar with everything from hand wraps, to bag gloves to 12-14 ouncers. The level of glove we use depends on the type of sparring we are doing. Anytime you are using a large glove you are trying to maximize the safety of your sparring or you are trying to maximize the power you can safely use.

Thai pads are used for many things. For one, shin conditioning. For another, leg/kicking power. Another, overall cardio conditioning. Thai pads, used properly allow you to spar your trainer and be able to safely fire back full power.

Beat up shins? Get used to it until you are conditioned for it. Kick Thai pads and the bottoms of heavy bags 1000's and 1000's of times. Massage to heal and eat well. If I wear shin pads when I spar my students, it's to protect my partners from when they make shin contact with me. I rarely ever get hurt and rarely ever bruise. Be diligent and your shins become very dangerous.

Right now I'm sparring 5 days a week (training for a fight). This is pretty much my routine right now:

  1. warm up, followed by a few rounds on the pads. In between rounds drilling takedowns and takedown defense.

  2. Spar a few rounds boxing, followed by rounds of kickboxing using big gloves.

  3. rounds of MMA sparring using MMA gloves.

  4. Review mistakes, drill ways to improve.

  5. Then I try to roll a few rounds while I'm tired. This is more mental training than anything else. I don't want to run out of energy if I'm pinned.

Right now, since the majority of my students are absolute beginners, I get little sparring time in with stand-up. I can get some ground in, and some impact weapons in, but I can only train hard when my more experienced crew comes in.

As for MT pad work...if your coach knows what he's doing, pad work can come VERY close to sparring. the coach is hitting you, and you're hitting him. It's a very dynamic training session. and you do it for MANY rounds.

Sifu Fong once said: "when a thai fightuh goes to the wing, he doesn't see puhson, he sees walking PAD!"

?I think thai pads a re great nad If you have the right peson holding it cna be a lot like sparring plus there is no better conditioning.

James Cook said the same thing

He does some light drilling and does like 8 rounds of pads

bsktrap, that sounds like good training. When/where is your fight? Good luck!

Jrock- I'm fighting in the arnolds MMA tourney on march 6th. It's tough to train for, I have no idea who I will be fighting and what their skill level will be. I want to be as well rounded as possible. I'm also trying to find as many people to spar with as possible, which is hard sometimes. Thanks for wishing me luck, hopefully I won't need it!


"Sifu Fong once said: "when a thai fightuh goes to the wing, he doesn't see puhson, he sees walking PAD!""

LOL! That sounds like something Sifu Francis would say.

Still comes down to conditioning. Although, you may want to practice kicking a little higher to the body to avoid the elbow if possible. Your partner is also running a bad risk of getting hurt. I've seen alot of people who didn't cover properly and took a shin to the elbow. The tendons and ligiments take a pretty hard shot, swell up and make the arm inoperable. They then have problems driving, opening doors, etc., much less throw a punch.

"Wouldnt a shin to the elbow hurt the shin more than the elbow though?"

It all depends on what makes contact with what. This is very common. Either you just learn to "suck it up", get better conditioned, or avoid kicking to an area where you are likely to catch an elbow.

"the elbow seems pretty strong and hard to damage."

It is strong, but it is still a joint. Some of the arts that we practice, such as kali and silat, make a point to spear you with the elbow when you kick. However, you still run the risk, albeit a smaller risk, of hurting the elbow. I've seen elbows swell up twice the normal size due to catching a shin on the elbow. Took him out of training for a month.

Elbow to shin $UCKS for the guy receiving the elbow.

that being said, you can STILL get injured in the elbow if the shin hits you correctly.

Any type of contact while defending risks some sort of injury or other. Which is why savateurs emphasize evasive footwork (deplacement, esquive, etc.) to simply reposition yourself, and launch a counter.

We are training for "Self-Defense" and do MMA as SPP, so keep that in mind...

I have always used a (Progressive part) whole-part-Whole Method.

Basically after our Top Secret Warm-Up, we Drill & Spar. There are a few Formats and each Athlete will change it up from Day to Day depending on what needs to be addressed.

A typical Cycle:

Review drill of Previous Prescription Drill (from last workout)-Spar-New Prescription Drill.

So, in Sparring, the Athlete gets Feedback on what needs to be strengthened, fixed, or addressed, creates or uses an existant Drill to address the "Issue", just ONE. On the NEXT Workout he will warm-up with the very SAME Drill he did after Sparring in the previous Workout to keep it fresh.

Typically, the Workout will have 3 Cycles of these....Free Movement, Clinch, Groundfighting, followed by one 5+ minute round of MMA.




1) Review from Monday: Getting Crossed when Jabbing
#2) Free-Movement Sparring (Intensity up to Partner)
#3) Create/Use Drill to Address new "Problem": Had trouble landing leg Kick.

Go to Clinch...repeat, go to Ground, rinse...repeat.

Finish w/ 5+ Minute Round of MMA.

Some days to switch it up, an Athlete may do a few Drills of one Range, Spar that one Range then finish w/ the 10-15 Minutes of MMA to REALLY focus on one aspect.

Other Days, it's no Drills, just 3 Segments of Isolated Sparring in the 3 Ranges and Finish w/ MMA to focus on "Competition/Toughness". Some Days JUST Drilling, some Days JUST MMA. Depends, on what that particular Athlete feels needs to be worked on.

After that we finish w/ our "Street/Off-Road/Self-Defense", then Cooldown.

No matter what it is pretty much Sparring from beginning to end. Everyone mixes and matches the Gear and Intensity as needed, so there is no excuse IMO to not have sparring in every Workout.

"Do you ever use the Vale Tudo gloves? "

Pretty much all the Time, because everything is "mixed" and it's near impossible to grab, submit, & wrestle with Pillows on your hands. When the Guys want to bang or isolate FM, in particular Striking, they will either put on some good Headgear or THEN use the Pillows, but after you go fingerless it's hard to go back to Pillows.

We do NOT isolate Striking from Grappling from Wrestling in the 3:00 BJJ Class, 4:00 Kickboxing Class and 5:00 Wrestling Class Format. In fact, It has been Years since I "purely" Sub Wrestled or Boxed.

In Free-Movement there is always the threat of a Shot, Tackle, getting your Kick caught. In the Clinch there is ALWAYS Fibbing, on the Ground there is always G&P. So the fingerless are almost a necessity.

The only exceptions are with spastic Newbies. If someone is anxious or nervous and has zero control, they get the Pillows.

Some thoughts...

'bout time you showed up, Aus!! Where ya been?

I've been in my "Bird of Prey".