To be effective at sparring, a competitor need proper technical skills, flexibility, strength, endurance, experience at fighting all types and sizes of opponents, and a fighting strategy. If you are to win a tournament, you must fight a number of times, so energy conservation is important. A plan will keep your energy use under control so you will not "burn out" before the competition ends. With proper training, a competitor will instinctively react to an opponent's actions with the correct response. To be a winner, a competitor must keep analyzing the opponent during a match and reacting accordingly, but the fighter must also have a fighting plan before stepping into the ring. The plan should include:
- Watch potential opponents fight and assess their fighting styles, favorite techniques, level of physical conditioning, susceptibility to feints, reactions to certain movements, etc. Take notes for future competitions.
- Watch officials in your ring and in general and assess their judging style, their favorite location in the ring, what techniques they seem to favor, etc. Take notes for future competitions.
- Know the rules for the current competition. Technical structure and variations according to the competition rules. Create unique offensive combinations designed to score points while avoiding penalties and not being scored upon.
- Know you current physical status and plan accordingly. If you are not feeling well, you may need to slow the action and fight defensive, or you may feel great and want to press the opponent continually. Know you endurance level and plan your fighting strategy to so you will have energy throughout the competition.
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