Put safety first! Sparring can be intense, but we still want to have our sparring partner be able to return to spar another day.
Do not use techniques intended to seriously injure your partner.
If you perform any of these while sparring, you may be suspended from sparring with other students:
Full-intensity strikes to the back of the head or spine.
Arm breaks, head drops, knee kicks, etc.
Swords, messers, sabers, etc. must match materials. (No steel vs. synthetic.)
If using steel, be careful of possible burrs and minimize exposed skin.
Define your sparring area boundaries with your partner and others that may be sparring nearby and make sure it is clear of any safety hazards.
Communicate any limits or restrictions you prefer, deferring to the least-intense preferences.
Are you comfortable with full takedowns, partial takedowns, or no takedowns? If you decide on full takedowns, make sure your partner understands how to fall properly.
Level of Intensity:
Are you comfortable with full intensity, similar to tournaments? Would you prefer low intensity to minimize injury and/or work on smooth movements? Or do you want something in between?
Make sure you both understand what that intensity feels like by doing a strike to your partner’s mask to calibrate.
When do you start? When do you reset?
Are you going to back off after a clear strike or keep going?
Are you open to feedback?
If you want feedback during or after your match, let your partner know.
Do you have other preferences? Do you need to work on specific things?
“I need to work on defense, so can you attack and I defend?”
“No leg strikes please.”
Continue to communicate with your partner if anything needs adjustment.
Stop sparring as soon as anyone yells “HOLD!” in your direction. There may be safety issues that you cannot see.
If something really hurts, stop sparring! Take the time to assess any possible injuries before continuing.
Thank your partner!
If you or your partner wants feedback, take this time to decompress and discuss what did and didn’t work during your match.