Roy Travert freestyle compilation

The Purpose of Sparring

If you are serious about training in the arts then you must incorporate sparring as part of your training regime. Kenpo has 2 forms of sparring, street freestyle, and tournament freestyle. One of the advantages of sparring is that if your goal in the martial arts is that of the combat aspect, sparring is the first step to take to see how much you have developed in your body mechanics and what you need to work on.

There is no "cheating" in how you perform. This is where you can find out the truth if your "stuff’ actually "works". However, the disadvantage is obvious; there is a chance of someone getting hurt.

Let me be the first to say, SPARRING CAN BE DANGEROUS!

Especially if you are training with people who like to go that bit heavier and hit that bit harder. Not everybody should take this step in his or her martial arts training. First off, I would like to say that it is not a wise decision to just walk out there using little or no pads for protection.

Certain steps can be progressively taken to better prepare you for freestyle fighting. First, watch a couple of fights and decide is this something that you would like to pursue. If it isn't DON'T DO IT.

If you don’t believe that your skills are adequate, find someone that has them, preferably someone that has done this type of fighting or training if that is what your goal is.

Remember that the magic words are, "IT DEPENDS ON WHERE YOU WANT TO TAKE IT".

Anyway assuming that you have the skills, or are learning them, and feel ready to take the next step, here are some ideas for you to work on. Before you start, order some good quality sparring gear, the dipped foam variety, or proper boxing type gloves, set some basic rules, like when one guy says stop, you stop and decided and discuss how much contact is involved. 

Be Realistic

Now start working on the drills you have been practicing in the air and in your classes, go at it for about two minutes. The tricky part here is that you have to be realistic and have a realistic partner.
Realistic meaning that both participants are visualizing that this is a real fight and in realizing this you are both not taking risks and doing unrealistic things. Assuming of course you are preparing yourself for street freestyle that is.

After you have done this a few times start by working individual drills with a single move, and progress into multiple moves in your workout.

For example, you can isolate a right punch and add in angle # l. One guy can feed nothing but the first punch and first angle, eventually progressing to the same angle as a follow-through or as a retracting jab. Eventually, you add feints. After you have got a pretty good feel for this combination try moving to kick drills only. Work the same progression.

Next try the same combinations using fakes, follow-through, jabs, and some footwork. You can then work through all the angles this way if your picking up fast and have the time to work on this. Each step should probably take some time, depending on what you’re looking for. Remember, everyone is different and may learn at a different speed to you.

If you like, you can even take the same course of action using kick punch combinations. Work on these types of drills as long as you feel you need to. At no time should you step out on the mat if you don’t feel comfortable in your skills to protect yourself. There is no lying here, just the guaranteed truth as it stands for you.   


You always want to fight with someone better than you, stronger and faster than you, so that you have someone constantly pushing you to develop the necessary skills to fight with. It should also be about this time that you are figuring out just how much the human body can take in punishment in certain areas.

Do you have a weak point in your defensive skills?
Do you have a weak point in your offensive skills?
Are your kicks accurate?
Are your punch’s accurate?
Do your kicks have enough power?
Do your punches have enough power?
Are your punch’s weak?
Are your kick’s weak?
Are your elbows too high exposing your ribs?
Are your elbows too low exposing your head?
Have you got hit on your left hand or elbow yet?
Have you got hit on your right hand or elbow yet?
How about your rear leg?
How about your front leg?
Are you open to being swept?
Are you open to being grabbed?

You should be considering all of the above as you start to work on developing your offensive and defensive skills. Remember that throughout all of this it is still nice to go back to the BASICS so you can "try" new things out and not get hurt doing so. The main thing is that you reach your goals, and become realistic about what you are doing and the reason for doing it

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