T Nation

Help Me Out... (Sparring Critique)


So I talk a LOT of shit on this board, and though I should follow suit with some of the other fellows, and post me actually DOING something. I've been training Muay Thai since mid May, and this is my 4th time sparring. I edited out the first 45 seconds because I took a wicked shot to the balls. I'm the guy with the red head gear. Here's the link...


Hey not bad for the fourth time crossn'em. Nice agressiveness only thing ill say is dont leave that leg up so long plant it back on the ground and get back in there dont let him take lead ever its your dance make him sweat it. Good on it bro keep it up


Well, you've been doing it a lot less time than me & you're better at it. Dammit.


I pretty much eat sleep and breat MA's. More specifically MT and JJ. Also a bit of wrestling.


What you did well:
-you avoided becoming completely defensive and instead tried to "punch your way" out of bad situations
-your footwork actually looked pretty good for someone who's only been doing it for 4 months, didn't see you cross your feet or be too off balance
-your left round kick to the body looked pretty good
-your head movement looked pretty good while avoiding punches
-you doubled and tripled up your jab

What you need to work on:
-you never once went to the body with your punches, being a "headhunter" makes it much easier for your opponent to predict what you are going to throw and to defend against your punches
-you need to keep your hands up better, you dropped them every time you threw a kick, have the bad habit of dropping/looping your hand downwards after you punch (you need to work on "re-covering"), and have a tendency to drop the guarding hand when you punch
-don't waste fakes/throw a fake just for the heck of it, a fake is designed to/should always gain you distance and time (about half the distance to the target would be a good rule of thumb). You threw some fake kicks a number of times but never once used footwork while faking to allow you to gain distance and take advantage of their reaction, instead your opponent was able to just kept their distance and time a kick of their own while you were returning your leg to the ground
-work on your angular and circular footwork, you both were very linear when it came to attack and defense

Overall good job though, this being only your 4th sparring session.


Thanks Sento. You're right, I really need to mix up my punches, and my kicks. I also noticed I didn't really throw any leg kicks. I think I'm still having trouble finding my ranges, where I can hit someone, and I still hesitate WAY too much.

Also I think I need to work on speed of my footwork, and circling out when on the defensive. Do you have any links that might show me drills, or examples of attacking using angles? Thanks again for the help!


Well,Sento covered pretty much everything. The only thing I would touch on is having a more confident stance and to stop leaning back unnecessarily. Concentrate on your footwork and defense more to help tone down the leaning back. That way you can quickly attack and take advantage of the openings your opponent gives you.

Also,be really aware of getting too sideways in your stance..and/or having your feet really wide...remember it's muay thai..not boxing :wink:

Other than that,good job...keep working hard and keep getting better.


A few things noone else has pointed out.

YOu tend to lean back as a defense at your waist then when he steps in you have nowhere else to go, I'd move more with you feet and only move at your waist to slip punches.

You need to dedicate yourself to your kicks, you seem to barely rotate on your standing leg and turn your hips over.

The rest have already been covered in above posts. The most important thing tog et down is your footwork and angles.


Yeah I just re-watched it and noticed the leaning back, and the getting sideways (especially when I switch to southpaw). I also noticed the hips and foot not turning. Partially it's the mats as our feet literally STICK to the mat and it's nearly impossible to rotate on them.

I will most assuredly work on these.

Can anyone help me on what I'm doing wrong with my teep?


Good job for only your fourth time sparring, I think you did better than the guy with the blue head gear. What I am wondering though is why if you have been training since May you only have four sparring sessions in. If you want to get good you need to do a lot more sparring.

It would be my guess that lack of ring time is why you and your opponent would start to throw kicks then stop. Usually when fighters get half way into a kick then stop it's because they think that the range isn't right. The reason why is you either aren't judging range well or you are not confident in your judegement and you are thinking about what you are doing. A lot more sparring will get you past that.

You need to learn to throw your kicks without throwing your hands around to compensate, because it costs you the ability to follow up into the openings that your kick might have created and it is also creating an opening in your guard as you kick. Which we see at 0:17

You actually were doing real good at getting your lead leg into a real good position to sweep your oppoents lead leg. At 0:07 Your foot is inside his with your knee bent over his leg with his knee straight.

Something bad that your opponent was doing was switching sides up moving towards you. You really see it at 0;25 where he goes to throw a kick then stops squared on to you, that is a real good way to get kicked in the groin or walk into something. That was an opportunity that you missed.

Otherwise good job.


Step into your punches more bro, don't be afraid to get into the "pocket", as that's where you need to be to throw effective combinations. Get that head and those shoulders moving more to, simple movement will throw off an opponents ability land solid punches. When he fires the jab off at you, slap it away with your right hand and then counter jab, slap-bang, you'll create good openings this way, follow up with the right hand if you feel you can.

Other than that, the rest of it you will naturally fix as you go along. But other posters are right, 4th time sparring since may isn't enough, does your coach not encourage sparring or something?

At any rate, it was pretty good for your 4th time sparring.


you could stand to do more fakes with your hands, I dont know what your goals are but at your level your hands are going to be faster and more deadly. Currently when you lift your leg to kick you telegraph more than your punches and therefore he has a better chance to block. Throw a few fakes with your hands and check his reaction and then capitalise on it after you know what he does when it 'looks' like your gonna jab or 'looks' like your gonna 1,2. etc. Cheers, good luck. Post when you actually step in the ring Id love you see how you do.


Did a quick search of youtube, and this video at least explains the methodology behind moving off at angles and either re-engaging or clearing:

Generally it's a good idea to circle/pivot/angle step away from your opponent's power side (or towards their back) as not only do you pretty much take his power weapons away from him, but you also make it much much harder for him to defend against your attacks. But, sometimes moving to his power side can be useful in mixing things up and keeping him guessing.

Add things like "turning hooks", "pinning hooks", bumps, etc... to cover yourself while you move and this becomes even easier to pull off, and effective.


BeerShoes, do you have a TKD background?


everything is covered. you have skill. you could greatly improve if you did some specific boxing training. you sometimes just throw to throw. throw when you see the opening. force him to make a mistake and counter. be patient. relax. good luck man.


Two years when I was 12 (23 now), but the other guy had a lot of TKD.


We had a coach, and he didn't have us spar that much. Now, we're kinda all coaches. With mostly me coming up with the occasional lesson plan.


Here's another decent video which at least touches on changing angles, bumping, ending combinations with the lead hand, and a couple other basic boxing tips (like changing up levels of attack, keeping the opponent "busy" and on their heals to take away their power, etc...):