After a couple of months of contact drills in our children’s martial arts classes, we will be starting up sparring sessions for students in the month of May. As many of you know, sparring had always been an important challenge for our students as they progressed through their martial arts training. But for the last couple of years, sparring has been missing as we trained around COVID-related safety precautions. Thankfully, with various recommendations and requirements loosened we have been preparing students for contact drills in classes for the last couple of months.

Why we spar:

Before getting into how we will return to sparring, I want to remind parents WHY we have kids sparring. There are numerous benefits of sparring, first and foremost being it helps students to be able to stay calm when someone tries to hit them. One of the biggest challenges in a self-defense situation is that people just panic. That panic stems from being put in an unfamiliar position (someone trying to hit me) and most people begin to catastrophize (someone hit me, I lost). As they spar, students learn to not be afraid, instead, they perform.

Second, sparring is like finally getting to play the game. For years they have learned how to block, how to strike, how to dodge, and now they get to play. They get to feel it all come together, and they also get some real-time feedback on just how prepared (or not so prepared) they are. I can tell a student a hundred times they need to kick faster, but when they try and kick someone and that person is able to dodge it, they find out they really do NEED to be faster.

How we get started:

The next step for our students will be to attend a reintroduction to sparring workshop. It’s been a long couple of years, and this workshop will help students safely return to the experience of sparring. We want to review rules, prepare them for contact, and slowly ease them into the relatively emotional experience of sparring. For years we have been doing this with students who get started with sparring, and it has helped to keep sparring a safe and fun experience for students. We will run several of these workshops over the next couple of months as we continue our return to sparring classes.

Please remember to be able to attend, all students must have approved sparring gear. Since it has been a couple of years, many of you might need to replace a piece or two (many students will have outgrown their sparring boots). So please be sure to check to see if your gear fits and order anything you need at least a week before the sparring workshop.

Finally, regular sparring classes are targeted to return to the schedule in July when we switch to our summer schedule. More information on exact times and dates will be available next month!