In addition to using strong, fast and flexible sparring attacks and counter-attacks, dominant sparring experts also know when to use these techniques. They work on the tactics & strategy of sparring and look to exploit the weaknesses of their opponents.
Sparring Strategy & Tactics
Move offline (off the center line to your opponent) in order to catch your opponent off balance or out of position. You will be able to strike a target (i.e. side) that your opponent will find difficult to defend or throw an effective counter attack.
Use fakes or feints in order to throw your opponent off balance or to tense up.
Change your stances (i.e. from an open to a closed stance). Watch your opponent to see which is his weakest or least "comfortable" stance and pattern your attacks accordingly. Or catch him in between stances as he reacts to your stance changes.
Attack when an opponent is off balance. Don't hesitate if he stumbles, tires, etc. Of course, don't fall for his feints.
Study your opponent and learn his favorite types of attacks (i.e. roundhouse kick to the head). Then work on how to use this to your advantage and throw the appropriate counter attack.
Use multiple techniques. If one fails, you should be quickly throwing a different attack before your opponent can prepare and defend himself. Don't keep throwing the same kick.
According to Turtle Press, "Counterattacking has a better chance of scoring than attacking for advanced competitors", "Beginning and intermediate competitors are most likely to score with single direct attacks" and "In a close match, an attacking fighter is more likely to win that a counterattacking fighter unless the counterattacker can score a knockout".
Telegraphs are your opponents sub-conscious pre-movements that betray what he/she intends to do. A shift of the leg, an alteration of his/her weight distribution, or even where he/she looks can tell you what your opponent intends to do. The art of seeing and interpreting these movements is called telegraph reading.
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