Well last time I picked on Jiu Jitsu noobs, today let me pick on those of you that do striking. This list might be more important then the last list because I’ve noticed that tempers flare faster during striking then grappling, mostly because there is something irritating about being punched in the nose. A martial arts school is a community and you will progress faster as part of that community with the teaching of your coach and the assistance of your training partners. Nothing slows training like ticking off that community. Here’s some tips to make sure you get the most out of your training.
5. Don’t talk while you spar.
First off, if you get hit with your mouth open, its easier to lose a tooth or dislocate your jaw. Second, if your partner is a nice guy, he’ll keep stopping every time you start talking and after a while that gets annoying. You can talk before and after, during just confuses things.
4. Spar like everyone else is sparring, house rules apply
If people are going at it fairly hard, go ahead and spar hard, if they are all taking it easy, just chill. Don’t try to change the game. I’m awful at soccer, but when I am brow beat to play, I don’t pick up the ball with my hands, or tackle people. If I am a BJJ black belt, I’m might feel like taking everyone down and submitting them, but in a boxing class, that is frowned upon. If I’m a boxer, don’t get annoyed that people might take you down in an MMA class.
3. Don’t teach other people
In martial arts, we are always either learning or teaching something or another. But when you are new to a school or club, you don’t have a rapport with these people. Even with best intentions, you’ll come across as saying you’re better then them. Maybe you are, but they aren’t going to accept it until you prove it. That’s better left to a demonstration over time, not to informal coaching during a water break.
2. Don’t overcome nervousness with power.
To some of you pros, there’s nothing stressful about sparring. To new guys, it can be overwhelming. That leads some people to try to suppress their nerves with swinging for the fences on every strike thrown. Best case scenario, you offend everyone by hurting your partner and your partners become opponents for the next month. Worst case, your partner knocks you out. It happens, and it isn’t fun nor is it healthy for you.
1. Don’t get angry.
I say this is #1 because the main difference between sparring and fighting is emotional control. Anger is infectious. You get mad, your partner gets mad, and the whole evening falls apart. People get hurt, feelings get hurt, and the whole thing disintegrates into you unfriending people on Facebook. But really, its hard to keep emotions from bubbling up when you are exhausted and hurt, but if you want to keep training, you need to keep it together. Let your partner have the win, say you need a break and get some water. Bite down on your mouth piece and swallow whatever you planned on saying. This is part of training too.