When it comes to martial arts, everyone wants to get better at sparring. One of the best ways to do this is to learn some basic shadowboxing tips. Sparring is a learning environment where martial artists try their techniques with a resisting partner. Shadowboxing helps improve a fighter’s timing, range, movement, and more to use during sparring. So, let’s take a look at shadowboxing dos and don’ts.
Don’t look or punch down
A common mistake that most beginners make is punching down. It’s typically because most beginners aren’t used to keeping a good, defensive guard. Beginners will punch from their chest or shoulders versus punching from their cheekbone area. Additionally, beginners will often unintentionally punch to chest level because it feels more natural at first. Remember: your punch will usually go where you are looking.
Do look up and punch eye level
A good shadowboxing practice is to keep your chin tucked and look up (chin down, eyes up). Also, always punch to your eye level. Imagine that you are fighting someone of your own height and size. Always keep your punches to head level.
Don’t focus only on offense
Another common mistake beginners make is practicing only offense techniques. This is because in a beginner’s mind they are the ones winning the match every time. Realize that the absolute best strikers in the UFC only land 60-75% of their intended strikes. The average professional striker is at or below 50%. Yes, practice how you want to perform but be aware that a good number of those offensive strikes won’t find their intended target.
Do add defense techniques
This means that a good shadowboxing tip is to add defense to your practice. Imagine your shadowboxing partner is also using offense and you need to block, evade, or redirect their strike. This will make you a better and more well-rounded fighter and sparring partner.
Don’t stand in one place
A stationary object is easy to hit. This is why practicing on heavy bags makes them simple to use… they don’t move. A good sparring partner will move. And if they don’t, hit them.
Do stay light on your feet and move
Practice your strikes the way you want to perform. So, move with intent and purpose and use both offense and defense as you do. Make sure to keep light on your feet when you move and avoid large steps. Large steps and overly excessive movement telegraph your maneuvers making it easier for your opponent or partner to respond and counter. So, stay light on your feet and move.
Don’t punch with t-rex arms
This may seem obvious at first glance but most beginners feel more comfortable keeping their arms close to their body. Unfortunately, when it comes to sparring or fighting, the opposite is often true. Keeping your strikes too close to your body allows your opponent or partner to close the distance. This gives them the advantage to hit the targets they want since they’re in no danger of you reaching them.
Do fully extend your strikes
Practice with your full range of motion. Not every strike has the same reach. So, practice each technique at the full range of motion. Familiarize yourself with how far each strike can effectively reach its intended target. This will give you the upper hand when sparring because you’ll know when a person is in range and when they’re not.
There you have it! Invictus’ shadowboxing tips to help you become a better sparring partner. This is also a great way to gain proficiency when working with pads or working on a heavy bag.
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