Fear of Sparring


I've had a lot of kids and parents, and even adult students ask how to overcome a fear of sparring. Often they seem to hope I have some miracle advice that will help them cope with a fear of getting punched in the face. And while I can relate, unfortunately, there isn't any secret sauce.

What I tell these students is always the same.

You've just got to accept that you're going to get hit.

Make the decision beforehand, that no matter what happens, you're going to accept that you will get hit, and you may get hurt. And go into your sparring practice or match with the resolve to press forward anyway.

But that's not all; there's more.

The absolute BEST part of sparring is that you WILL get hit. And that it's OKAY in this environment to get hit. It's a CRITICAL and INVALUABLE experience that no karate student should miss out on.

How so?

Because sparring underlines the core goal of Karate, to overcome our limits, continually striving for self-perfection and improvement.

You CANNOT overcome your limits if you don't know what they are! And the Dojo is the perfect SAFE place to discover exactly what those limits are! In a sparring match, you will have to work against an opponent who is also doing their best to push themselves, but whose end goal is NOT actually to hurt you, at least not permanently. And that's an experience that you won't get anywhere else.

So, back to the matter at hand. How do you overcome a fear of sparring?

Short answer: By sparring more. For some people, it's the fear of the unknown and inexperience that holds them back.

Longer answer: You don't; even after 20 years of practice, I still get scared to spar with a good high caliber black belt. What you get better at is coping with that fear—not letting fear paralyze you or stop you from moving forward. And in essence, THIS is what being a Karateka is all about.

Learning your limits

Pushing your boundaries

Overcoming your fears


Sharing the experience with others along the way.