Sparring is going against a teammate in a fight, where enough rules are set to avoid injuries. Often sparring is a good way to gauge someone’s skills, especially in BJJ.
Now the big question is, should you spar? Or better yet, are you ready to spar?
I can still remember the first time I was asked to spar. I sparred with this blue belt guy. In sparring, no one gets to lose (well, getting choked or being submitted counts as losing.) The idea of the spar is quite simple: knowing your skills so when you hit the competition arena, you know where you stand, and know how well you can do.
Anyhow, I sparred with the guy, and sad to say, I was submitted 8 times within 5 minutes. After all, his belt level is higher than mine – but it was a tough lesson to learn: there is no BJJ miracle. You have to work hard to get the skills to become really good at it. I thought that I was going to get a submission, but it was far from happening back in the day.
However, sulking as anyone should be after being submitted that much in less than 5 minutes, I began to focus on what I needed. I began working on a gameplan: not getting submitted.
In the following weeks of sparring, I was able to ward off attacks and subs, but I knew that it would not get me anywhere if I did. However, being able to learn how to defend myself is the key to learning the very basics of the guard and the counters.
With sparring, I started becoming very good at my skills. I started to learn how submissions really work. And it’s all because of sparring.
I’ve seen students who refuses to spar, or at least are too shy to. But the lessons to be learned from sparring are really great. Remember this: BJJ is a skill-based art. It’s something that you need to be able to do and not just know how to do. It’s training your body. It’s feeding your mind to develop muscle memory.
Make it a point to spar at least once a week. Think of it as a culmination of an entire week’s worth of training. Apply what you have learned. Get used to it and be good at it!