One thing I think is important as a fighter is to get as many experiences outside of the ring as possible. This includes sparring and clinching with as many different people as you can. The more styles, sizes and strengths you come across in different people the better prepared it will make you for those types of people in the ring. Although many trainers can be funny about their students going to other gyms to spar or clinch in fear of the other gyms maybe stealing their moves , Or their students may be getting beat up by members of another gym to prove a who is the better gym or just the trainer ego some trainers have, I don’t know?! Either one I don’t really think it’s a valid excuse to restrict a fighter from gaining much needed experience. I never really got the opportunity to spar with any other gyms my first few years of fighting but I really wanted too, I think it would have benefited me a lot as I was also the only girl in my gym most of the time, I really wanted to be able to spar with some other girls to see where I was at. So as a trainer I made sure that my students got as much sparring & clinching in with other gyms as I could. No egos, no politics, just sparring to help both gyms get their fighters some outside experiences and to help the sport grow. It’s not so bad if you train at a big gym with a lot of different people to work with of all different styles and strengths but for fighters who train at small gyms with only a handful of people to train with, sparring and clinching with the same people every day can become too routine, you begin to read each other and you don’t challenge yourself so you don’t learn. Mixing things up by going out of your comfort zone and sparing with other people from other gyms keeps you alert not knowing what you’re in for, what they will throw , what tricks they know, will they find your weak spots, do the tricks you pull off in your own gym work on someone else? There are so many different things to think about but these are all things you face every time you face an unknown person in the ring. You can never be totally prepared for the person you will face in the ring but you can get pretty close by experiencing as many different styles as you can. Sometimes training with the same people all the time things get overlooked but someone from the outside may find your weaknesses which will then help you to work on things you may not have realised you needed to work on. Not only does it help with experience but it’s also fun! Its can bring back that passion if you’re feeling a bit flat, it’s something different not the same old boring routine. It builds friendships and bonds between people and gyms which help the sport grow as a community. The last few years I have travelled to other gyms or they have come to us, we have sparred and clinched and shared some little tricks. It has been a great experience and I think it has most definitely made me a better fighter, it’s made me think about things I need to work on and how I would fight certain types of people. I have learnt so many little tricks from so many different people who have helped me a lot along the way. I have made some really good friends who would help me out anytime if we were at the fights and needed someone to help in our corner. I have also helped with other gyms learners and taught them a few things which they were totally grateful for and it made me feel good to be able to help them. Yeah sometimes you might get a person that might have a bit of an ego, be a bit of a dick maybe go a bit hard (I mainly found that in Thailand with Russians they like to go hard) (sometimes beginners can go a bit crazy too as they are not real sure on how sparing and clinching goes yet or they are trying to prove something) Majority of people are good. My overall experience with sparring with different people has been good. So if you get the chance to spar with other gyms give it a go you might learn some new things.
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