Monday, November 26, 2007

Q/A What Boxing Sparring Should Be About.

Here's a question that was asked to me about sparring. I wanted to repost it here because sparring is SO misunderstood by many trainers and even fighters today.

Read on for my take on the evolution of a fighter.

Rob. I have been boxing now for about 2 months and when I started I thoght i knew a little about boxing from watching fights. Well i found ou that I didn't know shit especially when I sparred for the first time. I learned more that day then all the other days on the floor. My question is about sparring. I have sparred with my trainer twice and with another ametuer fighter once. The gym I train at is very serious and competitive and the guys who spar are fighters and even when they say they'l go light its still pretty hard for me. I dont want be a fighter now that I know all the blood sweat and tears that go along with it but I want to learn to box. I have tremendous respect for those that step in the ring.My trainer left the gym and he was good to spar with but now I don't know what to do. I know to get better you need to get in there and take a few ass woopings, get used to getting hit learn from mistakes and then eventually you will give out some ass woopings. The thing is I'm older and I dont know if I want to deal with all that. Any advice?

Hey Paul,Thanks for writing in with this good question. Hold on, this is going to be a long reply...

My thoughts.. To get better you need to be taught how to fight first.. It's not about taking ass whoopings..especially if your a beginner at ANY age.

Be careful on what gym you train at. Because that's some stupid shit that allot of moronic trainers do, and allow their fighters to do.. Throw their fighters to the wolves, or allow their good fighters to take advantage of an underdeveloped fighter.

Many fighters fail to hold back though too, so it's not always the trainers fault.. it's the fighters ego wanting to light you up and look good.

To go in and spar against experienced fighters you have to show you are ready for that. Believe me, I have seen this my whole fighting life and of course now coaching.

Dude. You need to be taught the fundamentals of how to fight, offensive, and defensively, ( how to block, roll, weave, parry, slip etc) with another fighter, and show proficiency THEN you spar.

Paul, I believe beginners, (and this is really fucking common sense) should be weaned off of pre sparring, light sparring, and built into more intense sparring.

I question, Are some of these trainers building fighters, or prematurely ruing them? Hell, you say you thought you knew a little about boxing watching fights.

Where do you think many of these trainers come from? From a bar stool watching fights at the local bar, or just a casual fan, to bang now working fighters corners.

To say this isn't true is BULLSHIT as I have been to many coaching clinics in NY,and Fl, and just observing at fight shows/tourneys over the years to see what's coming in as coaches to say this.

Paul, if you want to do this, Pain is part of it..So is self doubt.. Stick with it because you can become almost super human in dealing/overcoming pain, weakness, self-doubt and fears,

Stick with it, and you will learn allot about your self, and grow like never before.

This IS the biggest benefit of the training alone.Forever changed for the better! I know what it's like Paul to get in there and have your ass handed to you in sparring do to more experience. Shit do I.

Many trainers just focus on teaching their fighters to throw punches, and less on defense,and all around skill.. and push their fighters to spar to quickly cause they like watching it, or think it's just necessary.

This is why I think former fighters, ( who can teach, and communicate) make the best trainers. They know what it's like to be in the ring and have gone through the same shit you have, and will coach/train you through it better.

I feel they have a better eye for what your feeling. They intuitively know how to match you in sparring, and handle sparring sessions.

As for me, I can see immediately what my fighter is thinking in sparring. If I feel they are over matched, I will give a signal to the opposing fighter( without my fighter seeing me do this)to tone it down.

In ending of this long post,Find a good teacher Paul. A trainer who really understands boxing AND knows how to DEVELOP fighters and looks out for THEM.

That's the best advice I can give. Remember, once your taught the proper skills, and can display them. Tough sparring is good( No gym wars though)+required, Look at it as your report card. That's where you really get graded on your progress.

Yes you do learn allot in sparring, (more about yourself) different styles, looks, how to fight/fight back. Not the over all skill.

What you didn't do well in sparring, you then fix with more training and drills etc..and go back to getting graded again. This is part of the evolution of a fighter Paul, if you want to fight, this is what to expect and look for. If your trainer left, find another that can do this for you.

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