It is an accepted fact—if you free spar, you will get hit. It is how you react to the hit that is most important. How you react depends on how you view getting hit. There four reactions you may take: fear, anger, gratitude, and disregard.
Fear and anger are detrimental to good sparring. When students first start sparring, they always fear getting hit or hitting someone. The fear of getting hit makes novice fighters tentative in their actions, which leads to getting hit. They are afraid to get in and "mix it up." With experience, the fear usually subsides or disappears.
Anger has no place in sparring. It detracts from clear thinking and usually leads to more hits, from both sides. An accidental hit is just that, an accident. It is as much your fault as it is the opponent's fault since you did not properly block the attack. If the attack was because of the opponent's anger or lack of control, do not get angry since you are then no better than the opponent. Let the instructor or referee handle the situation. If you feel anger, channel it into making powerful blocks and perfectly focused attacks that show the opponent the error of his or her ways.
Gratitude and disregard are the best reactions to have when hit. Use a hit as a learning experience and do not let it happen again. Actually, you might even thank your opponent for showing you where your weaknesses are located. As a seasoned fighter, you will learn to ignore a hit and disregard it as a minor occurrence that is merely the "cost of doing business."
- Next >>