First Real Contact Sparring Session

Last night was the first official sparring session to prepare for MPower’s Fight Night.  It was full contact, full go, no restrictions.  We first warmed up, which in itself was a good workout for me at this point in my conditioning, then began the sparring.  The ladies got in the ring first, three at a time.  Fighter 1 and Fighter 2 went for 30 seconds then Fighter 2 and 3, then 3 and 1.  They did that for two cycles for two minutes total of action each.  The rest of us stayed loose and/or observed.

After they were done it was the guy’s turn.  There were five guys total so two went then three of us got in the ring.  Each mini-round was 45 seconds, which doesn’t sound like much unless you haven’t’ done it.  Of the guys in my group, I was the only one that did not participate in the last Fight Night.  Additionally, it had been YEARS since I had done anything like this and even then it wasn’t as well ran.  We just swung and brawled, etc.

What happened to me has been done by countless people before me.

When it was my turn any training at all went right out the door.  I attempted to jab, which should be a huge part of my plan, but somehow nothing seemed to go right.  The guy I sparred first was shorter with less reach, yet I couldn’t get anything on him yet he landed jabs on me.  I know there is stepping, movement, etc. but I would think it would have gone slightly better.  My expectations of my first spar were low, and I succeded in coming in under them.  I think he did a good job and represented himself well.  I suspect I didn’t give him the work he was looking for though.  I’ll have to better for my partners in the future.

The second guy I sparred with was far more polished, and I knew that going in.  He is very nice and helps me whenever we are in a class together.  He did the last Fight Night and I think he has done more of these types of fights in the past.  He held back on me most of the time.  I’m not sure if I landed ANYTHING on him, but it was a good experience trying.  He rung my bell once and my mouthguard almost left my mouth.  My jaw is feeling that today.

Overall it was very disappointing.  I know it’s a common thing for people sparring but it left me wondering if they were going to be able to pair me with someone similar to me.  Sure, I should improve each week, and since everybody else has done it and I have not, the gap should close a bit, but how much?  I don’t mind getting hit but I’d like to box and just not get punched around.  The other fighter wants a good match, and the facility doesn’t want lopsided pairings.

So …. a few things I know I need to improve, in no particular order:

  1. Conditioning – I was tired after the warmup.  I know this and it’s because my conditioning is so far behind.  Of course, when the sparring started I wasted energy all over, held my breath, etc. and that made the situation worse, but even before that, I was a bit fatigued.
  2. Movement – I don’t think I moved anywhere without a very conscious effort.  Not when I was on offense, not when I was on defense.
  3. Defense – Sort of under the category of movement, but specifically I didn’t slip, duck or anything else.  THIS will be my most difficult thing to improve upon.  It’s foreign to me.  I have defense and movement but it’s not BOXING defense and movement.  I have to unlearn and relearn.
  4. Jab jab jab jab jab – And more.  Jab and move.  Move and jab.  Wash, rinse, repeat.
  5. Counter – Got to work on that.  If the sparring partner knows that no counter is coming, then they can tee off a bit more.  No jab, no counter, I’m a heavy bag.

In conclusion, I need work.  I have to get used to the chaos of the ring and do a better job in all aspects of boxing.

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