Targeted Sparring: Limited Techniques.

Stephan teaching X Guard at a Submission Grappling Seminar

A good way to get more out of your sparring sessions is to limit the techniques you can use.

As has been pointed out many times in many different disciplines, creativity thrives on limitation, because it forces you to think outside the box to achieve your goal.

Try picking just one technique and make that one move your focus the next 10 sparring sessions.

It doesn’t matter if that technique is the straight armbar, a specific guard sweep, a method of taking the back or the high crotch takedown: in these sessions your only focus will be executing your target technique.

If you choose a specific butterfly guard sweep, for example, then start every sparring session in the butterfly guard.If you succeed in sweeping your opponent then go back to the butterfly guard and try again.

After you’ve swept your partner a few times he will start doing different things to counter you, whether it be shifting his weight, posting his foot, denying you your grips, etc. Now the game evolves as you to come up with the answers to the questions posed by his defenses.

For best results stick with your chosen technique for more than one training session.This will allow you (and your sparring partners) to reflect on your training session and come up with new solutions to the problems you encountered. You actually WANT people to figure out counters to your technique, so that you can learn and practice counters to their counters.

This training method allows you to improve when you are sparring opponents who are less skilled than yourself.

As your sparring partners get wise to what you are trying to do they will become much better at defending that technique. They will become experts at defending your technique, and this in turn will force you to become better at setting up, applying, and finishing the technique in question.

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