When Sparring, Don’t Give Up

Jon Jones throws a reverse spinning elbow. Jon Jones throws a reverse spinning elbow.

One of the most important things you can do in martial arts class is to finish your sparring session strong. Most sparring sessions are timed. A one or two minute session is common. If you get hit in the face or take a punch to the gut and you’re hurt or winded, keep fighting. If you’re tired, out of breath, or feeling overwhelmed, keep fighting!

If you are stick sparring and just took a hard hit to the arm and can’t feel your fingers, transfer the stick to the other hand and keep fighting.

I’m not talking about serious injuries like ligament tears or bone breaks. Those need immediate medical attention. But anything short of that, try to fight through the pain and complete your session.

When animals fight in the wild – not males engaging in ritual combat, but actual life or death struggles between, say, a lion and a wildebeest, or a fox and a snake – there is no surrender.

A rapist, kidnapper, home invader or killer is a predator. There’s no way we can totally prepare for that scenario. What we can do, at least, is use sparring as an opportunity to learn to fight through pain and fear.

This single thing, if you can accomplish it, will serve you better in a real life confrontation than anything else you might learn.

Wael Abdelgawad, Founder
Hammerhead Hapkido

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