Sparring Session #6

Partner: Denis, James

A standard session today. There were 11 of us which just meant that one person was on the bag for each round. Ultimately inconsequental.

Of note today, I got rocked in the head again by a strong cross. It was my fault, I was tired and not guarding properly. It caused me to stumble back but no dizziness, vision impairment or headache during or after the session so I think it was more that it had been a long week and I was tired.

The fights against James were more one-sided to him than previous. I’m not sure if he’s just taking it less easy on me or if he’s getting better much faster but either way it was disheartening. After the session when everyone was grouped in the lobby, I asked about what Denis does against James that I’m not doing. The answer is Denis is just a lot more aggressive. I can’t do my usual plan of attack where I sit back and try to read my opponents. I can’t react fast enough to James’ comboes and even if I could, I wouldn’t be in position to strike back anyway. I just need to remember that I’m going to get hit so I should embrace it and hit back.

Rocky also spoke up and said that for every one thing that James is doing, I need to do three things; if he jabs, I need to step in, catch the jab and counter back. When put in that context, it adequately frames the challenge and explains why I’m having exceptional trouble with James - I suck at stepping in. James mentioned how Mike Tyson dealt with the height difference on the regular. Apparently he’s only 5’11. Going off this nearly decade-old stat page of average, that puts him at an average height disadvantage of 2 inches. Not quite the difference that I’m experiencing but enough that I think studying his fights could give me a better idea of how to approach.

The fights against Denis were more one-sided than previous as well, but I’m fairly certain it’s because he’s not going as easy on me as he was before. It feels like I couldn’t hit him. He just bobs and moves too quickly and when I approached he’d always counter. His hooks are also very quick and comboes are fluid so I’d get hit by a lot of things if I tried to infight.

When we talked about it after, he said my approaches are too telegraphed and I tend to move like Dana used to - a lot of side to side. Unfortunately his suggestion to alleviate this was to also relax more. Guess I’m still not quite passed that.

Other things to note that were not opponent specific but me-specific: I made two mistakes that Wolfgang yelled at me. One I was still crossing while starting out too wide. We’ve been over this specifically for two lessons now, and evidently the decision making just isn’t clicking for me yet. The other thing I got yelled at for, which I’ll call progress, is I tried crossing while too close to the opponent and couldn’t actually gain any advantage. At the very least, it means I’m focusing on crossing while close. The mental block that I’m having now is what can I do to approach someone and get into a point where I’m in an opportune spot to cross them.

I know the answer already - throw up some distractions with jabs and once you’ve gotten close enough and not any closer, cross them. My issue comes from them usually throwing some sort of counter to my jab. Once they do, I spazz out and lose the game plan of crossing them. I’m thinking about this too mechanically. I shouldn’t have a game plan that detailed. The only reason I do is because I’m trying to gain experience crossing people.