Our 10 top taekwondo sparring tips will help you along the road to fighting success
Have you just starting taekwondo sparring?
Or maybe you've been sparring for a little while and you could use some help to boost your performance.
Our top 10 taekwondo sparring tips will help you reach your sparring goals.
1. start sparring early in your taekwondo journey
Start taekwondo sparring classes as soon as your instructor says you're ready.
It might seem daunting...
...but as a white or yellow belt - no-one expects anything of you!
And in a good martial arts school the instructor will not let anyone bully or over-power you.
A good taekwondo instructor will put you against someone who will take care of you- very possibly a taekwondo black belt.
A good teacher will then increase the pressure slowly as you show you can handle it.
If you start tkd sparring classes as a green belt and you've never done it before you can look a bit daft!
Especially if you come up against lower grades who spar regularly!
2. understand that fear is normal - and don't let it stand in your way
Do top taekwondo competitors feel scared before a bout?...
...of course they do!
Everyone feels fear in taekwondo sparring. It's very intimidating to go into a ring and face someone intent on kicking and punching you.
...is to decide that you will not let your fear beat you. Force yourself to get into the ring and do your best. In reality it never seems to be as bad as you think it's going to be.
And when you conquer your fear...
...you feel fantastic!
3. footwork footwork footwork
If you remember only one of our taekwondo sparring tips remember what Mohammed Ali said
'float like a butterfly sting like a bee'
In taekwondo sparring (like in boxing) footwork really is the key.
It's hard to believe... but in taekwondo sparring what happens between your kicks is actually more important than kicks themselves.
Learn to slide forwards and backwards keeping your weight on both feet and your body over your legs.
Learn to switch quickly on the spot.
Learn to step forwards and backwards quickly and accurately.
And learn to move sideways in a balanced way.
So another of our great taekwondo sparring tips is... take your time, listen hard when your instructor teaches you footwork. Practise it. And pay attention to every tiny detail.
It will pay off!
4. start to understand your kicking distance
When beginners start tkd sparring they often kick in front of the opponent- their kicks don't reach the target.
One of our top taekwondo sparring tips is that you need to start to understand your kicking distance.
Start to learn where you can reach with a turning kick- and don't kick until you are at the right distance to make the point score.
Too close or too far out and you miss and waste effort.
You have to use your footwork to get the distance just right.
You also need to look at your opponent. Are they taller or shorter than you? If they're shorter keep them out and take advantage of your long legs.
And if they're taller than you - you need to rely on your speed and footwork. Move inside their kicking range. Score. And get out again.
5.think about ways to relax your body
Taekwondo sparring is frantic and busy. Your brain has to cope with multiple signals and stresses and it's easy to get overwhelmed and panic.
This is usually when the mistakes happen and you lose the bout.
So one of our top taekwondo sparring tips is something you can do outside the dojang...
...take some time to think about how you can best calm your mind.
Maybe taking a deep but short breath in then a long breath out while you shake your shoulders will work for you. Or perhaps you can smile inside and shake your legs.
Practise this outside the ring.
And then next time you are sparring and you feel the pressure mount...
...skip away from your opponent and watch them carefully while you calm yourself down. Then go re-engage in the bout with a clear head.
6. train hard... fight easy
Here's one of our top taekwondo sparring tips.
To be successful in taekwondo sparring you need to be fit.
To get fighting fit you need to do combinations of lots of different exercises to get all round body fitness.
You need to do endurance distance running as well as hill sprints and interval training.
This develops your overall fitness AND your ability to cope with short bursts of intense exercise.
You also need to do strength training combined with ballistic exercises like jumping and clapping push-ups. These exercises develop strength and speed in your legs and arms.
And you need to stretch so that you are supple enough to kick high.
7.don't get angry - get even!
It's really common for beginner taekwondo students to get really angry when someone scores a point against them.
The anger is like a red mist. They rush back in to try and get even. And they get caught again!
So if you feel yourself getting angry... try to control it.
Shake it off.
Realize that everyone has points scored against them - it's part of the game.
Calm your mind.
Get your head into the present.
And work out how you're going to win the next point.
8.compete as soon as you can
And if you get a chance to compete in a taekwondo sparring competition?...
And take it as early as you can in your taekwondo journey. As long as your instructor is happy- compete as a white belt! If you lose?...
There was never any expectation you would win. You're a taekwondo white belt!
A good instructor will not put you in danger. And competing is a fantastic experience. You get to meet other taekwondo players. You get to see what other people achieve. And you get to face and come through a tough challenge.
This one of our best taekwondo sparring tips for your personal growth as a martial artist.
9.take care of your injuries
In tkd sparring you will take the inevitable knock.
It goes with the territory!
Our commonest injury is the elbow to the top of the foot. Not nice!
One of our top taekwondo sparring tips is...
...take care of your injuries.
Rest. Ice. Compress. Elevate. Let your injuries heal.
Then come back stronger!
10.keep on keeping on
And in the end the best thing you can do...
...is get to class.
Get to every sparring class you can. Get to seminars. Go on tours. Get yourself there and keep training.
Because all the time you keep training?...
...you keep getting better!