Learn the Art of Winning Point Sparring Matches
Ok, you just stepped into the ring. The first focus should be on protecting your target areas. Remember, the best offense is a good defense. While this may seem like common sense, many fighters make the mistake of dropping their guard in the heat of a sparring match. This can leave vital target areas open creating an easy win for your opponent.

Next, keep moving. It is always hard to hit a moving target. This will also help reduce your chances of taking a barrage of attacks head-on. Instead, try circling your opponent and look for opportunities to strike.

Always focus on utilizing your best techniques. Now is not the time to showboat your skills. Your focus should be on making quick clean strikes. If your greatest technique is a reverse punch or roundhouse kick, use it to make your scoring point.

While fighting, try to remain unpredictable. As the match goes on, a good opponent will adapt to your fighting style and begin to better understand your weaknesses. For this reason, it is important to keep them guessing. During one round, try to fight passively forcing the opponent to come to you. Then in the following round, surprise them with a burst of fast charges and strikes. You can also do this by switching your fighting style between throwing mostly punches to kicking repeatedly.

One of the most common mistakes that point fighters make is forgetting to be aware of the judges. It is up to the judges to determine what strikes count as a valid point. If the judges are unable to see the punch that you threw to your opponent's ribcage, you may not get the point. Make sure that you position yourself so that the judges can clearly see your opponent's target areas. While it is nearly impossible to situate yourself so that all of the judges can see, try to make sure that a majority of them are able to easily spot good strikes.

It is impossible to win every sparring match. There is always someone out there that is bigger, better, or faster. Don't get discouraged if you lose. Just get back in there and try your best. All aspects of the martial arts including competitive sparring are apart of a learning process. The most important lesson is to learn from your mistakes. In the end, this will make you a very formidable opponent in any sparring match.
Sparring Drills for Training
Quick Terminology

Jam: Defender ďJamsĒ the motion of the attacker by moving in at the same time and attacking an open target.

Counter: Defender steps back and throws one or more strikes IMMEDIATELY after a wave of attack is over.
Kicks vs. Kicks
Both sides can only kick. This is important in developing range and proficiency in kicking. It is the fastest way to dominate and score points in point sparring. Most WTF Tae Kwon Do tournaments focus on scoring kicks. So if you are planning to spar at at this type of tournament, only do kicks for almost every drill.

Kicks vs. Hand Strikes
One side can only kick while the other side can only use hand strikes

Hand Strikes vs. Hand Strikes
This is a drill that will help quickness with your feet and your hand strikes. You will need to move in, out, and around in a smooth, speedy manner.

Social Point Sparring
Everyone spars everyone else in the room for 2 minutes each. While sparring your partner you try to go by point sparring rules. Stop and reset after you both agree a point has been scored. If you both donít agree keep going.

Free Sparring
Spar everyone in the room for 2 minutes at a time. Make sure you stay in control and if one partner is overwhelming the other partner back up and reset. Everyone needs to learn.

Point Sparring
Classic Point Sparring with a center judge and two corner judges. 1 point awarded for hand strikes and kicks to the body. 2 points awarded for head kicks

Full Contact Sparring
Not everyone loves full contact sparring. However, some people this is all they want to do. Make sure you wear the proper gear. I recommend some sort of face mask or cage on your headgear and a chest protector. Believe me, people will hit you hard.

King/Queen of the Room
Everyone in your sparring class spreads out around the entire room. When the instructor says go everyone runs around spars everyone. Chaos Ensues. If a point is scored on you, then you sit down on the side. Last Person standing is King or Queen.
* Points to the back do not count. You must score to the sides of the head, front of the head, or body.

Spin Kicks vs. Spin Kicks
Both sides can only Spin kick. Seriously Fun. Itís sometimes risky to use a spin kick because if you miss you are very open. However, if you practice you can be awesome. Kicks are awesome because knock-outs are allowed and spin kicks are very powerful. * This drill is probably for more advanced students. Or students who have previous sparring experience from a different style.

Circle Drill
Both partners can only move in a circular motion as much as possible. Too many times I see how easy people get in a rut of moving forward and backwards in a straight line. This drill helps you ease into moving in all directions smoothly.

Across the Line Drill
Put down two pieces of tape on the ground where each partner starts. Then you go one point at a time. Designate one side as the attacker and one side as the responder. The attacker must try and jump across the line fast enough to score on the responder. The responder must be fast enough to jam or jump back and counter. There is only one jump of movement then you reset each time. Switching back and forth who is the attacker and responder.

Combo Drill
Combinational striking is one of the most important point sparring concepts. In the Combo Drill each side is only allowed to use combos. You can only attack or counter with 3 strikes or more. Using combos increases your likelihood of scoring a point when you commit to an attack or defense.
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