Sparring is a very important part of martial arts. It is the only time when you as a fighter get to show how good you are and how well you can actually fight. But sparring should always be an enjoyable experience, if you go into the ring with a negative attitude then you will get kicked all over the place and sparring wont be fun, it will be terrifying. So first you must approach it in the right attitude, trust your sparring partner they should not be hitting you so that it hurts and if they do then tell them. Novice sparrers have a tendency to hit hard but when sparring a high rank they soon learn to control there attacks or they get hit back.

A rule that applies to every skill level in sparring is KEEP YOUR HANDS UP. This is the major downfall of many new sparrers. They drop their hands and expose the head. Now this is a lovely target for a turning kick or hook kick and when you get hit you will know about it. Even though keeping you hands up exposes the ribs, the elbows can do quite a good job of protecting them so be ready to block the low kicks with your elbows. Stand slightly to the side when sparring as this gives your opponent a smaller target and less openings. Find a stance that feels comfortable but does not allow to many openings, try different stances when sparring to see which ones work and which ones don't.

When sparring don't be afraid to try out new combinations on your partner. Varying your techniques is very important in sparring, by using the same combinations you are allowing your muscles to get into a set routine, An example is if you continually pull off the front kick, turning kick combination the muscle can pull it off easily and you will find yourself executing this combination allot. This may be all right until your partner finds an effective counter and forces you to try something else. This is common in new sparrers who don't know many combinations.

Footwork is a very important part of sparring. It is an indirect skill used to set up a scoring technique. Footwork changes according to your opponent's stance, position and distance. Footwork is important as it can be used for a number of things to disrupt the opponent's offensive strategy. To avoid being attacked. To create a weakness in the opponents movement. To launch an accurate and timely attack. A tip with footwork is to move smoothly and lightly this allows for faster movement and more fluidity in your techniques. Using footwork you can totally mislead your opponent, an example is to start in a right fighting stance and shuffle back but make it look like you are moving into a left stance but put the right leg forward. This looks like you have switched stances and moved back, but really you have not moved at all.

Feinting is a common technique in sparring it is used to fool your opponent in to thinking that you are going to perform a technique this should create an opening that can be attacked. An example of a feint would be to lift your front leg in to the chamber position as if you are going to do a side kick, then as the opponent goes to block it change your technique to a hook kick to the head. Feinting is very common in sparring and when used effectively it is extremely useful. Another form of feinting is to delay the timing of a kick. For example, if you perform a slide front kick don't fully extend the kick. Instead slide forward and wait for the opponent to lower the arm to block when this happens it exposes the ches

When training in sparring it is important to know what you want to improve. Set yourself a goal and then strive to accomplish it, this is a proven method in keeping a person motivated. Having a goal helps you too focus and not stray from what you are trying to achieve. The goal that you set yourself can be as pacific as improving the flexibility in your left leg. Or it can be to improve your whole body's speed. After setting a goal then it is time to plan how to do it.

Always remember that if you have a weak mind but a strong body you will not become a good fighter, if you have a strong mind but a weak body you will be a good fighter with practice, if you have a strong mind and body you will be a awesome fighter.