More on the importance of Timing sparring:
Timing is one of the most important pieces of developing a world class striking game. If you have good timing you will be able to land strikes on faster opponents while taking the least amount of punishment.
In order to get develop this skill “timing” you need to spar. Timing is developed by delivering strikes against an opponent who is actively trying to defend your attacks. If throw a punch or a leg kick and your opponent does not try to defend the attack you will never learn how to land strikes against a resisting opponent.
Everyone who puts on a pair of boxing gloves knows that sparring is essential for learning how to fight. Where so many striking practitioners miss the boat and do not develop their skills to a high level is by not clearly understanding the strategy behind sparring.
When training in Muay Thai, Western Boxing or MMA there are 3 different levels of sparring you should train to reach the highest levels of your potential.
1- Timing sparring or technical sparring is very relaxed focusing on rhythm, distance, developing skills and “timing”.
2- Medium sparring is the next stage and is important. In this stage you can learn to set a pace and establish a flow while at the same time learn to respond under a bit more pressure with out getting over whelmed by someone trying to take your head off.
3- Heavy sparring is an important part of your development as well. This will allow you to respond under pressure and develop a solid defensive game.
There are clearly benefits to all three levels of sparring, but timing sparring is one of the most important to improve technique, timing and enhance your game.
Often when people spar they go all out and last for a few rounds trying to survive and if they are tough and disciplined they will stay in the game and if they are lucky some may reach a high level with there game.
Usually those who only train this way do so because it is the culture at there gym and frankly they do not know any better. These types of gyms are filled with ego’s and are not really the best environment for becoming a high level practitioner.
When I was coming up in the Portland, OR Western Boxing seen a few of the pro’s at the gym where I trained would go down to the prison and spar with the inmates who only knew one way to spar and it was trying to take your head off.
The guys were high-level fighters and would do this to train with that level of intensity and pressure. When they trained at the gym 90% of there sparring time was timing and medium level training.
If you are training to become a high level striker remember form and timing are the most important and you should spend a good majority of your time focusing on these skills.
If you train this way not only will your skill level reach higher levels but you will get injured less and have more fun along the way. This is a great sport and can be approached from many different levels. Wether you want to fight, burn off some aggression, develop a new skill, reach a high level of conditioning or just looking for something fun to do you CAN find it with Boxing, Muay Thai or MMA.