Of all the different facets of training in taekwondo, for most students, free sparring is probably the most exciting.
Testing yourself against an opponent is a quick way to learn about your faults and how to correct them; But only if you spar correctly.
Taekwondo free sparring differs from Karate free sparring. In karate free sparring is more linear, using straight line attacks to score with a technique.
Taekwondo free sparring is continuous multi directional flowing attack and defence.
We use non-contact or light contact free sparring. However that doesn’t mean no contact at all, it means being at the correct distance to be able to contact, and holding the power delivery at the last moment. Sparring in this manner gives the correct distance ‘feel’ to the attacker, whilst teaching the defender to move out of range and or block.
The worst free sparring is when the defender doesn’t have to move because the attacker is completing their kick so far away it isn’t necessary for them to move. When sparring is performed like that it becomes – your turn my turn and changes from sparring to dancing.
When attacking, the point is to cover distance to your opponent as fast as possible then deliver a maximum power kick, punch or strike on target, holding at the point of contact. Do the same with follow-up techniques to form combinations.
When countering an attack the same principles apply.
Covering distance fast in both attack and defence is crucial to good free sparring.
Regardless of anything else, practice moving backwards, forwards and dodging to the side, with speed.
Practice fast body shifting and countering.
When using combination kicks, after each kick get the kicking foot back on the floor as fast as possible, you don’t want to be caught with a counter while standing on one leg.
Take your free sparring seriously, the last thing we want is time off training because of injury.
Train hard and enjoy it.