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How to improve my sparring?

Do you have any tips on how to improve your sparring in karate? I'm pretty slow and awful at figuring out when my opponent's going to strike.

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Unfortunately there isn't really a way to quickly improve sparring technique other than practicing over and over and over again. If speed and reaction time is what's hindering your performance then you can always work on your strategy.

I found that a quick way to get the upper hand is to force your opponent to play 'your' game. Move around the mat, and make drastic moves inward and outward with confidence. Shift to fight them from angles. Since everyone's nervous while fighting (human nature) this will make it so your partner has to move according to decisions that YOU are making. After you have them following your motions it's pretty easy to predict where they'll move next-- giving you the ability to have them walk right into your attacks by mixing things up on them.

In other words, make it awkward for them and they'll spend more time thinking about what you're doing than keeping their guard up. Another good thing to practice is learning how to attack simultaneously while blocking theirs-- limiting their time to react.

Good luck!

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