How to Reduce Fear and Increase Confidence in Sparring and Fighting

By Stevie Adams / in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , /

Hey. Ando here from Are you afraid to spar? Does the idea of being in a real fight
cause you fear? If your answer is no, then I’m not sure why
you clicked this video. But if your answer is yes, the idea of sparring or being a real fight makes you nervous, well, I think I can help. Let’s talk about real fights first. For me, the secret to controlling your fear
in a real fight is to make sure you’re only fighting for a worthy cause. A cause you’re willing to die for. If I see two dudes jump on my mother or my wife,
fear is not an issue. I will fight anybody to the death. Preferably, theirs. Now, that doesn’t make me special. I’m sure you would do the same thing. So, the big question is— if you’re not
afraid to fight for other people, then why are you afraid to fight for yourself? Don’t you believe you’re a cause worth
fighting for? If you don’t believe that your life is
worth defending, then we need to talk, my friend. Let’s meet up for some coffee and pie. But if you do believe your life is worth defending,
then there’s nothing to worry about. If you have to fight, you’ll fight. It’s only when we don’t have to fight,
or we’re not sure why we’re fighting, or we’re fighting for the wrong reasons,
that fear and confusion get in the way. So, get your priorities straight. The greater the cause, the sharper the claws. Okay. Now let’s talk about sparring. The general tip to reduce your fear of sparring
is to just keep sparring. Get in there. The more you spar, the less you’ll be afraid
of it. But let’s be honest–that tip sucks. You want a tip that’s going to help you out today,
right now, not a year from now. Well, good news–I’ve got one for you. When we start sparring, the main reason we
get scared is because we’re overwhelmed. We have no control over anything. I’m taking hits, I can’t see what’s
going on, and I have no idea how to stop the attack. Wait! Time out! Time out! Look—running and hiding are completely natural
reactions. So, if you find yourself curling up like a
baby when you spar, it’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with you. Of course, curling up like a baby is nothing
to be proud about, either, so let’s fix that. The trick is to give your brain something
to think about. For example, when you’re about to spar,
tell yourself to control your breathing. Don’t worry about punches or kicks. Just focus on breathing no matter what. Got that? Good. The next time you spar, tell yourself to keep your eyes
open. No matter what. No flinching. Try to see everything that’s happening. Once you got that, the next time you spar, tell yourself to keep your hands up and protect your head at all times, no matter what. Those would be the first three projects I’d recommend. Make sure you’re breathing, seeing, and protecting your head. Here’s the big idea— you can’t improve
everything at the same time. There are just too many skills to work on. Your brain is terrible at multitasking, but
it’s incredibly powerful when you focus it on one skill at a time. If you don’t do that, if you don’t keep
the reins tight, then your brain is free to just run wild and react to anything that gets thrown at it. That’ll get you killed. So, approach your sparring like a meditation. The kind of meditation where you stare at
a candle or you just listen to a bell. Put your full attention on one skill at a time. Remember this—the more you control something,
the less you’ll fear everything. Once you can breathe, see, and protect
yourself, then you can add and technique and tactic you want. One at a time. Maybe you spend the whole class just working
on your jab. Or maybe you work on your footwork to stay from your partner’s power hand. Or maybe you want to set up a fancy combination
that makes you happy. Whatever. The moves are up to you, but the principle
stays the same— give your brain one thing to thing about. If you do that, that’s the fastest way to build good habits
and true confidence. If you like that tip, hey–don’t be afraid,
hit subscribe. And to keep up with everything I’m doing,
find the link to sign up for my free email updates list. Until next time, hey–you’re worth fighting
for, so keep fighting for a happy life.

100 thoughts on “How to Reduce Fear and Increase Confidence in Sparring and Fighting

  1. After a really bad fight I've lost all my confidence in sparing and just can't keep my eyes open

    how can I fix this

  2. I just started sparring and my brain is all over the place. Seems I forget everything and have no idea what punches to throw. I usually just do a jab cross then get hit in the face a lot. Any suggestions on being able to focus and throw more than a 2 punch combo?

  3. I punched some dude in a MMA sparring and he got angry I think and he punched me back and we both started bleeding I bleeded way more and I got scared to keep Fighting dude is 22 yrs old I'm 18 I rlly wanna learn to defend myself but I'm kinda scared to get hit or get knocked out

  4. Actually you could be afraid but because the fear that someone will hurt your mother/wife/child is bigger, you risk it; some people are worth more to us, than us, but this doesn't mean we feel we are not worth something. So you have a strong drive/motive and end up fighting, while in fear and risk mode, like pressing the gas and brakes at the same time. However, some people freeze even if their loved ones are in danger. They seem not to have it in them at all to overcome being frozen.
    The Key: sound confidence trumps fear (and all that goes with it).
    Confidence before and during a fight is a result of knowing:
    you can take alot of pain before shutting down(controlling pain effect on you almost anywhere you get hit/good muscle mass and strength is important),
    what the attackers attack will look and feel like (speed and angles, so no real surprises)
    you can deliver a a) many b) hard and b) effective strikes,
    you can deliver them very fast.
    you won't lose your wind easy, you have endurance/stamina
    Knowing these things to be facts that actually sincerely describe you, means you already trained to achieve them in your school.
    These things CONVINCE YOU SUBCONSCIOUSLY that you can control your body very much and the attackers as well and this is KEY to having sound CONFIDENCE, and this what a good instructor should accomplish in you. If he and you together don't accomplish this in you, you have every reason to be afraid in a fight because it will not have a good outcome.
    If you know that when getting punched you will hurt so much that you won't be able to fight, then your body and spirit are too weak to handle comming in physical contact with an attack.
    If your strikes have no affect on a punching bad or on pads or on your opponent when sparring, then they are worthless and you will just be a hit me all you want target.
    If you are too slow, it mean that you still don't know the physics of your body and of your strikes. Your strikes are then easily countered by your training partners in your dojo. This means if someone on the street is most likely faster than you, he will hit you first and knowing this subconsciously adds to anxioty.
    Sure, even if you are a strong, fast and hard hitting opponent that can take very much abuse and so you then have sound confidence, this doesn't mean that your body will not try to get you ready (heart pumping etc.), BUT, your state of mind and heart WILL regulate it so your "chemistry" will not overwhelm you at all; if needed still, a breathing technique can then help as an added bonus.
    In a few words when you are propperly trained (you then know and understand all the factors at play), this will give you a huge edge and then the confidence needed to control yourself and the attacker/opponent.
    PS. Don't nurish an ego, nurish capabilities -T.A.

  5. Thank you for the video, I went back into Taekwondo after 20 years and been back for about 5 months and went to my first Taekwondo completion, lets say my sparring sucked but it just means I need more practice. I think what intimadted me was that I was the only senior red belt in the ring with 6 other black belts that had years of experience. That's not going to stop me for going back though, just means I know that my sparring needs a lot more work.

  6. I don't suppose there's a video that addresses being nervous about fighting/hurting classmates who you see as your friends and comrades? I've always had this thing about hurting people I don't think really deserve it; it's just not me.

  7. This does work, a couple weeks ago our instructor told us to only attack when we could see an opening, I was so focused I didn't have time to worry about being hit, I was also calm and didn't get worn out like normal during sparring. Good advice, thanks

  8. one step at a time one punch at a time one round at a time one step at a time one punch at a time one round at a time one step at a time one punch at a time one round at a time one step at a time one punch at a time one round at a time

  9. Ando ur video help me to build confidence but i want to share my experience plz reply if u ready my comment
    – my friend went into a fight and thr opposite one called out his 6 friends and start beating him suddenly my friend's buddy came and tried to save him but they all also take him and hit them hard
    My problem i get into a dream world and think if i was there could i save them? Or help them to get rid of them and run. And finally if i overthink that i decide to hide in a corner and even i felt fear of fight😩 which makes me depressed becoz I don't want to be a loser.. so plz help me how can we build much confidence and what things u do if u are on my situation …plz reply

  10. you say that the greater the cause the sharper the claws but if i am not experinced in fighting is it possible to make my first fight for the worthy cause? another question can sparing makes me overcome fear in real fight?

  11. People's biggest fears are usually of pain/injury, fear of embarrassment or being made to look foolish and fear of an overwhelming sensory experience.

    My favourite starter was always a variant of "milling".There are no headshots allowed but they wear full headgear anyway. They wear boxing gloves with lots of padding. The rules are no kicks and no shots below the belt in addition to no headshots. The aim is to keep going forward and to hit the other guy as many times as possible. Bouts last 30 seconds on a timer – to be increased as and when.The format pretty much removes skill from the equation and it doesn't really matter if they don't breath or close their eyes.
    I've had people go in terrified and come out 30 seconds latter beaming from ear to ear.
    The removal of skill as a factor also means that even newbies get to beat on their seniors.
    Once the fear is gone, then you can bring in the headshots, the kicks and the strategy.

  12. Good information and a new perspective. I personally haven't thought of training sparring in this specific way. Of course, we try to keep hands up and so on, but to train yourself to focus on one thing to keep fear from setting in is a fantastic skill to know.

  13. I wonder how much this helps with kickboxing (im 23 and I started taking both BJJ and kickboxing this week and tonite we did punch sparring and I had this overwhelming fear of hitting people even tho I got some good shots in I was mostly thinking "I like these people so far why must i try to hurt them" i should also add I was bullied as a kid)

  14. Thank you for this lesson sensei. Your videos pop up at random once in awhile and there has been times when I feel its very helpful. This lesson I wrote down on index cards and plan to spend time going over it and strengthening myself in these areas. I will definitely bring my cards to class for a quick review the next few weeks to try and build up that state of mind. Thank you again. Keep up the good work!

  15. Had to re watch this one again. I'm getting better at sparring, my first goal was to circle around my sparring partners. However, once I get to one of fellow team mates, one is a 3rd Degree Decided Black Belt and the other is a 2nd Degree Decided Black Belt, both half my age and a lot faster and more experienced, I always freeze for some reason, I'm good around everyone else. I'm still go in and spar but not as good when I'm around my other team mates. I would love to earn my Junior Black Belt in December but I would like to try and get faster at sparring with those 2 teammates. Thanks.

  16. I just got home from my first sparring session and I didn't even know I would be scared, I put my head down all the time when we sparred I tried not to but it was a reflex to just dive down with my head all the time

  17. I'm not afraid of anyone or afraid of pain…Im afraid if my family or my friends see me lossing that's the thing I fear😔

  18. Hi sensie, i do taekwondo. I am a yellow belt. Well sometimes, when i throw a kick on my sparring opponent, then his resistance or his defence kicks sometimes hurts. Sometimes i even get kicked in the groin. This makes me scared from kicking him a second time and as a result i get kicked more. Please help. Thanks..
    Also please suggest the main kicks i should throw while sparring , the useful ones.. real thanks😁😁

  19. In practice fights,I do better but during a tournament I fear while fighting and then I lose all my power while kicking.

  20. Sparring and street fight are different. Sparring is friendly, street is hostile. I think the first thing is to lose the fear of being hit, and that can only be lost by being hit.

  21. I’m really stuck in a situation here.
    I’ll admit it here just because it’s a YT comment. I’m the beta guy in our friends group. When it comes to decision making, 2 big dudes take control, out of the total of 5 friends.
    Those 2 are also very aggressive and have been in many fights before as if they enjoy them. Including very silly, egotistical fights for no reason.
    I have never been in a situation of a fight, but I’m afraid i will face that situation sometime. I’m afraid to fight, not because of my doubt in my abilities, but because I don’t find those fights reasonable to fight or to hurt someone.

    If i back down, I will be known as the pussy of the group. And there’s no way of letting them know what they’re doing is wrong, and it’s no good to be fighting.

    I need some advice.

  22. Boxing is so hard… I've only sparred like 2 times and now I can't get the motivation to get back in the spar. I hope I remember atleast 1 thing from this video and try to remain calm while I'm getting pounded..

  23. I am taekwondo fighter
    I am white belt and I had fight with a blue belt still I won cuz

    I run and made him tired at last I kicked him and he couldn't do anything cuz he was tired lol

  24. I’m always afraid to spar, it’s my biggest fear in martial arts….my friends see me as the type of aggressive unfearfuk person but when I go against an opponent in sparring I get scared and intimidated by their skills and their violent hits. I’ve been punched multiple times in the face and gotten injuries so easily that every time I fight I’m afraid to get hit and suffer that injury again, I guess it’s gotta do with my confidence when I spar. I used to be unafraid if fighting by now after 3 years of training my confidence dropped instead of rising…

    Which is why I came to see this video, I just want to be unafraid and get into the fight with advice. For some reason I’m brave enough to fight for my life but terrified to fight an opponent sparing(which is weird 😂). But this video helped me feel a bit more at ease, let’s see how it goes when I go spar this Wednesday :))

  25. Thanks for the advice because I still get nervous before I spar I got to tighten up my defense and relax more

  26. Thank you for posting the video. I think it'll help me out when I'm sparring against my Tang Soo Do classmates.

  27. Weried thing is that I sparred in MMA before but it was like 3-4 years ago and I’m now doing boxing and I’m set to spar but I’m actually really nervous. I don’t know why but I am

  28. My first sparring? It was yesterday may 1 I got knocked out. But I don't want to give up… Not yet, my dream isn't done yet!! Im a fighter not a quiter!

  29. No , u should have fear fighting fear is your friend fear keeps u more sharp u have fear because u don’t wanna get knocked out so ur fear keeps that from coming

  30. Just breathe, and keep getting in the ring, with your hands up at all times….

    I don't know what style your martial art is, but mine is Taekwondo (Mu Duk Kwan style), I am already/only a first-degree black belt, but I am terrible at sparring. I think the reason being is that of my fear of looking like a fool in front of my peers and the other is running out of energy. I am over 200 lbs at a height of 5'11 and I am not in the best of shape. Should I be a little lighter in order to last longer?

    Or should I just keep doing those three things above (breathe, keep my hands up, and keep getting in the ring)?

  31. That is true I used to be terrified this far. Now that I've started sparring in class I'm not scared at all anymore I don't know why I was ever scared of course I haven't been hitting that hard or hit hard yet. When I was a kid I was picked on all the time I have no idea what I was scared of. I wish my parents had given me martial arts when I was a kid my life would have been much better. Martial arts is saving my life

  32. You know that feeling when you meet somebody and instantly get the feeling that person has knowledge and leadership qualities? That's the feeling I get when I watch this channel.

  33. My main problem in sparring is i can t control my rage. When i get mad i loose control and i foget the tactics.

  34. brother I punched a guy I don't know how many but some on head my nuckels got swolen no facture but pain is still there from 6monts

  35. After you get sick of being punched in the head enough times you'll toughen up. Or, you'll just keep getting punched in the head. At that point, it's time to find another hobby 🙂

  36. Thanks for the video, the "focus on one thing at a time" tip was really helpful. There are so many techniques in martial arts and trying to learn everything at once can be overwhelming. You helped put things back into perspective for me.

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