Sparring has many faces across the martial arts and is even used for different purposes. But you would be hard pressed to find a martial art that doesn’t include it in some form. That form can be one of many things: (standing, ground, light contact, point, continuous, ect.). Even so, we will focus on entry sparring moves from a traditional standing match. Entry sparring moves include all techniques that make the opponent more open or vulnerable to follow up techniques. These almost always preformed in a sequence of moves instead of a single strike. The following are some of the most used as well as some personal favorites from our kwoon.
Entry Sparring Moves
Jab and Cross
The jab and cross combo is one of the most basic and widely used sparring techniques. It is simple and effective against an untrained opponent. And even some of the more thoroughly trained ones. The jab cross is simply two consecutive punches, aimed toward either the same or different locations. One is off of the front leg and the second off the back with a little more added torque. The idea is that the jab cross happens so fast that the opponent has a difficult time blocking both the first and second attacks. Ideally if the first punch doesn’t make it, the second one will.
Low Kick, High Strike
Another great entry move involves performing a low kick, and following it up with a strike to the head or upper body. The low kick will often cause the opponent to drop their hands in order to protect their lower body, opening them up for a higher strike. Even if the opponent doesn’t wind up dropping their hands, they are often at least slightly distracted by the kick – allowing for your follow-ups to have a better chance.
Faking attacks has the potential to distract, like a low kick or jab, only without as much risk of failure. Oftentimes people will go to block “fake” attacks that never would have hit them. This allows for the attacker to predict where the opponent’s hands will be after the fake in order to best follow up. Usually the fake will cause the opponents hands to drop or move away from their body, something that can be predicted and exploited if done correctly.
Huen Sao & Faak Sao
The Huen Sao and Faak Sao are specific to Wing Chun, although other arts may have their own versions of the moves. A huen sao is the circling of a hand with the intention to move around an opponent’s arm, much like a snake would slither around a tree branch. Once you use this move to get around the arm, the opponent is open for rib and upper body strikes. The Faak Sao uses a forward chopping motion in which the arm and hand are horizontal. It is typically used to either intercept a high attack or to attack an opponent’s head. When used to intercept a punch, it can clear the way for a second attack.
Just one more
A lot of times in sparring you have to assume that the first attack you throw is not going to make target; that is essentially the reason that combos exist. But even though we assume it may not hit, that doesn’t mean that we treat it like it won’t. And because these are some of the more common sparring moves, make sure that you aren’t falling for them. Or better yet, make yourself learn equally great counter moves to all of these entry attacks. Even just adding any one of the above techniques to your repertoire of sparring moves would make a great asset. But why stop at one? Check out Sifu Och Wing Chun for how we deal with entries.