If you are studying martial arts in a dojo, you’ll find sparring to be very exciting as well as beneficial to your training. The instructors and teachers will be right there watching and guiding students, making sure that no one gets hurt. Students use full body gear, including headgear, to ensure safety during practice.
Depending on your skill level and martial art you are studying, you may end up using no protective gear. Students that are very skilled won’t normally need protective equipment, as they are good enough with sparring and their techniques that they can go a few rounds with other skilled students and not make any type of contact at all.
Martial arts such as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, that focus on grappling, make the most use of sparring, as it is needed to properly execute the techniques. Martial arts that focus mainly on grappling use joint locks and submission techniques, which will need to be practiced quite a bit before they can be used effectively during a competition or even as self defense.
During sparring, students go back and forth, competing with each other and testing each other. The rounds will vary, although most last several minutes. Students will also receive help and insight from their instructors to let them know how they are doing and if they need to change anything they are doing. This also gives instructors the chance to see just how well you are progressing in training and what areas you need to work more on.
Sometimes, sparring is done by yourself, without anyone else working with you. If you are sparring by yourself, you’ll use equipment such as punching bags, tackling dummies, or other forms of equipment that will help you with your martial art. The foam or rubber dummies are most often used with grappling techniques or punching on the ground, as they represent the opponent that you are trying to pummel into submission.
All in all, sparring is an excellent way to practice the skills you have learned against equipment or other students. Students are fun to spar against, especially if they are at a higher level of skill than you are. You can use sparring to your advantage, learning what others do and how they react to your movements and techniques. The longer you spar and practice your moves - the better you will get in your training, speed, and the execution of your skills.