Protect themselves when injured. If a student free-spars, he or she will get hit. If a student is involved in a self-defense situation, he or she will get hit. The result of the hit may be something as minor as a bruise, bump, or black eye, or it may be something more serious. To continue to defend and attack, students must learn to fight through the pain. Although one must continue to defend him or herself in a self-defense situation no matter how serious the injury, this does not mean one must continue sparring with a serious injury. Injuries, and the pain associated with them, cause the human body to instinctively shut down. Students not prepared for the mental and physical shock of an injury, will be unprepared to defend themselves when injured. Free-sparring teaches students not to be distracted by physical contact and minor pain.
Withstand blows and respond calmly. When students first start free-sparring and the get hit, the first reaction is usually anger and the urge to retaliate. Students gradually learn to overcome this flash of anger, absorb the blow with dignity, and counterattack calmly and correctly without emotion.
Think clearly under duress. The first time one faces someone who wants to hurt him or her, even in a competitive match, the tendency is to suddenly forget his or her training and resort to hopelessly fending off an ever-increasing rain of blows. To overcome this instinctive reaction, one must learn to face his or her, not panic, and react as required.