Sparring Session #3

Partner: Denis, James, Jacob, Jamaica, Sam
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First boxing-only sparring session, let’s see how it goes.

Goals for today:

  1. Don’t get rocked in the head
    1. accomplished by keeping my guard up, and my straight punches crisp and coming back to my cheek
    2. ensure I don’t give the opponening for hooks
  2. try to use the cross-over steps taught this week in classes
    1. TODO: link back to the notes here
  3. when facing Denis, remember not to treat his outstretched guard as a target, but something to get around

Post-session Recap

tl;dr

Recap

First and foremost, at the moment boxing feels harder than kickboxing. Spoke with Denis after the session and his take was that it’s more technical, and much smaller movements make the difference between hitting and getting hit. He also mentioned that you can get away with a lot of things in kickboxing because of how ranges work with kicks. This lines up with my limited experience in that I spend a lot of time jabbing for pressure in kickboxing and as soon as I get pressured back I tend to push-kick to try to take it back.

With that, some fighter specific notes:

Denis

Had two rounds with Denis this time. He didn’t do much of the outstretched shield guard he did last time, instead opting to try to use movement for positioning. He didn’t throw much but I’m gonna guess that was more for my sake as a handicap. It was needed.

The first round I did the beginner reaction that Wolfgang talked about this week when someone is moving quickly in your space. I tried to follow Denis without circling out and he made me look like a chump. Nothing much more to take from that round.

Wolfgang reminded me of what we talked about this week, and for now just control with jabs.

Second round he did the same thing but this time I stepped out and forced him to stay on my outer circle. It felt a lot more like I had some control over the fight instead of getting walked over.

I don’t remember doing much interesting offensively.

James

I think I had like 4 or 5 round with him. Still getting my head punched in, especially the first round against him. This was like the 4th overall round of the session and despite getting my head punched in, I think I did something right? Wolfgang stopped the group after saying… something, I couldn’t really hear him over the other class and my own heavy breathing but I was doing something right that nobody else was. Idk.

Anyway, after the first round I was very out of breath and a bit demoralized to be honest. I think Wolf also asked everybody else to take it easy on me since it was my first time, which I appreciated. James took it a lot easier on me in subsequent rounds, reminding me to aim for the body too.

A recurring theme is I don’t go for the body enough with my punches. That’s also something james does very well. He’ll jab at my head, squat down so his body is lower and cross right into my stomach. I’m not sure I can effectively do that given my proportions but it’s something cool to think about.

One other thing that was interesting was in the last round or two when I was dead tired and couldn’t move around nearly as much, I started to naturally look for dodges a little more. I wasn’t very effective at actually dodging anything, which was especially sad given he was punching slowly. I’m not sure overall where to go next with facing James, but it’s probably not something to think about at the moment.

Jacob

This is a much better partner for me because we are relatively similar in build, conditioning, and experience though I’d concede all three to him.

This session he was trying a lot more to dodge in place rather than try to take space, where as I was going more for taking space. I think I was staring at him more while he was doing the dodging. In retrospect, I should have reacted to him doing pre-emptive dodging with me circling out, probably to the opposite side of whichever direction he was dodging to.

He also did this weird grab and spin thing, which is apparently legal. It didn’t feel very effective in the session but I think I just need to look into it more. Feels like a way to force yourself into a better position instead of with feints and footwork.

Jamaica

I think Jamaica has been on the fight team since I started even going to the cardio classes which is kind of nutty to think about. Anyway…

Here she definitely showed the skill gap between us, able to close the distance into her shorter range and wreck my shit with a lot of body shots. It was a good example of the difference of boxing vs kickboxing because I couldn’t rely on my longer leg range her.

Some tips she gave me:

Overall, the earlier rounds felt a lot closer since I could keep up with the movement a lot easier. As the rounds went on, she was on offense a lot more, closing the distance, getting into the pocket and landing a lot of effective body shots, usually ending with a head shot. Meanwhile I could only respond with … maybe a head shot and pushing her away. Again, I need to look for body shots more

One last thing of note is as she was explaining my hook range and not fighting, I wasn’t thinking and just threw one and made contact. It wasn’t particularly hard, and she laughed it off, and I apologized profusely immediately but fuck’s sake… If my judgement is that compromised then maybe that’s a sign I should be taking breaks more, or my conditioning is lacking more than I thought…

Sam

Today Sam didn’t have head gear so it was entirely body shots between us. It threw me off initially just about every time we fought. Evidently I can only use half my brain when I put on the helmet and gloves :/

As for the actual take away, he’s got a good “spear” like James has where he’s able to straight punch into my stomach, but he does it by stepping forward during the punch. I should be able to emulate that a little easier than James’ way of doing it.

I also hit his shoulders a bunch with hooks. I’m not sure if it actually did anything. I’ll ask him about it next time I see him.

Overall, I’m really bad at aiming for body shots, and I think it’s because I’m scared to get in range for it. Might be worth it to ask Jamaica how she got to where she is as she seems fearless compared to everybody else at the session.