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▶  More from Modern Combat Modern Agonistics
'Practice Slow, Learn Quick’
Combination Sparring
This type of light sparring puts into practice an old fencing adage, the point of which is to work techniques—even with an opponent—at half speed or less, in order to study every aspect of your motion and his motion.
Sparring Notes:
1. If you grab his stick, let it go.
2. When you slash unprotected parts practice the stroke as a blade cut—which gets you pressure stroke practice and saves him some bruising.
3. Make this competitive, in spots, but limit your speed.
4. Never speed up to defend, but commit to defending at his speed or slower. If he hits you, rather than smash his wrist trying to play catch up, ask him to hit you again, and again, and again, until you learn to read it and develop the ability to stop or deflect the stroke with a slow hand—which means superior position.
5. Attempt to score with a slow hand. The Holy Grail in this kind of sparring is to score while moving slower than him.
6. Be careful stiff-arming the face cage, so as not to rub the skin off of his nose or jam his neck.
7. Use heavy sticks to work your grip.
8. Use heavy gloves to save your hands and get used to the sound of stick to glove so that you know when your glove has been hit.
9. Think in terms of integrated moving and hitting. Try not to be in the same place after you score that you were in before you scored.
10. Do not orbit around the outside of the ring, but subdivide the space with your lines of motion, seeking an improved angle, not trying to maintain a neutral angle, which is the common natural impulse in the combat space.
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