11 Beginner Sparring Tips – MMA/Boxing/Kickboxing


If you're new here and are looking to develop your MMA skills quickly, CLICK HERE to sign up for my MMA training mailing list and I'll send you a ton of training tips to help you do exactly that. You'll also receive 2 FREE EBOOKS : "Developing the KO Punch" & "MMA Training Secrets" right away.

Sparring Tips For Beginners

When I was reading one of the many mixed martial arts forums today I came across a question regarding striking sparring. The person asking was completely new to sparring and like many beginners found his first rounds versus a moving, striking opponent extremely challenging.

Off the top of my head I quickly came up with a few things that I thought might help him in his quest to get hit less while doing more hitting himself inside the ring.

I’ll share them, and a few more, to help you make your sparring experience more enjoyable and…less painful. Here we go!:

1. Throw your punches with speed, relaxation and technique, never try for power.

2. You don’t have to always see the opening for a specific punch. Just throw you combo sharply and quick and often the opening comes in the middle of your combo.

3. After your done punching, move away to either side. Your even better to stand your ground than backing straight up.

4. When you think you’re jabbing a lot, jab twice as much.

5. If you get into trouble, place both gloves on your temples, covering your face and jaw with the forearms and move, move, move.

6. When blocking strikes try not to tense your arms. Simply raise your arms up to protect yourself. This is easier said then done.

7. Keep you chin down at all times.

8. Mix up your attacks, try to be as unpredictable as you can with your combinations.

9. Pace yourself.  Use your defensive and offensive techniques instead of just attacking the entire time.

10. Focus on keeping yourself in a good balanced  stance before attacking, while attacking, and after your attack. This is very important!

11. Never give up. Taking a bit of a beating in the beginning is all part of the learning process. Stick with it and you will slowly become more like a hammer instead of the nail.

Bonus Tip:

Forum poster Zedlepln on reminded me of this important one that beginners often forget to do.


Never hold your breath during your sparring round. Breathe regularly through your nose –with your mouth closed- while making short but not overly strong exhalations through the mouth when you throw each punch. The more well conditioned you are, the better you will be able to control your breath.

These should be a good start.

Let me know how it goes…

Looking to Start your MMA Training? If so, you’ve got to check out my MMA QuickStart 12-week training program ==>

Facebook Comments


  1. Rob B says:

    Great tips! I’ve only sparred a few times, and last time I took a major beating. Easy to get dejected, but yeah just keep at it and sooner or later (hopefully sooner) I’ll start walking away without a black eye lol! I’ll be sure to apply these next time! Cheers!

  2. GHands says:

    Great article. All beginners should read it.

  3. MMA Auckland says:

    Great tips on sparring that i shall be passing on to our beginner kickboxers

  4. MixedArtist says:

    Awesome stuff man. Nobody ever told me this before and it will help me so much in sparring now. Thank you and God bless you for helping other fighters get better.

  5. Brad Sloanes says:

    Thanks those sparring tips were great, im doing much better now 😀

  6. james masterson says:


    • Jeff Joslin says:

      To land your right cross, you’ll need to first move in close enough. Fire your jab hard and fast as you step inwards towards your opponent. This could take multiple stepping jab to get close enough. As soon as your jab is able to reach the opponent’s head, immediately throw your cross at it’s target.

      Keep the jab,jab,cross combo fast and remember to use as many jabs as it takes to get close enough to reach the opponents face with your punches.

      Hope this helps.

  7. Robert E. says:

    Thanks for the tips man. one question, whats the best way to prevent getting put into a triangle choke?

    • mma/juijitsu speciality trainner says:

      well listen bro, triangle choke is strong, at the same time, so hard to be done, to avoid being choked by the triangle u must not let your hand be captured by his, always make sure that he doesnt get ur hands cuz once he does, its his 1st stip in doint the triangle, 2nd, dont let him close the triangle, once he lets off the guard to get his legs around ur neck, fastly push it away or hold his legs, just dont let him close the triangle

  8. BJ says:

    Hi Jeff
    I joined kick boxing last year,(I’m 30 now)
    Anyway,only started sparring now.

    I’m getting beat up a lot by higher belts,without me getting a single punch in.
    I know these tips are going to help me a hell of a lot!!(With practice)

    Thanks for the tips.

  9. Dave B says:


    I’m 25 and am seriously considering kickboxing. Having played football foro 14 years i have hamstrings like steel rods so will have to work on flexibility a hell of a lot! Am a little apprehensive and sparrings a long way off but having surfed the net quite a bit your blog is one of the better ones. Am a big fan by the way!

    Many Thanks

    • Jeff Joslin says:

      Hey Dave. Thanks for the feedback man. Where ya from? I suggest finding a reputable gym with a good vibe and nice people training in it and just jump right in. It’ll be a great workout and a lot of fun. All the best bro and be sure to let me know how it goes!

  10. nidhi says:

    helped a lot by these tips.

  11. Jasta says:

    Hey Jeff, thanks for your tips, i’ve been in mixed martial arts for 10 years now and sparring is something I really had to work on in the past, having applied and incorporated your tips as well as my regular training i’ve found it far easier to control and pace my sparring, thank you sincerely, these tips are excellent for beginners, any more advice for preparing for a sparring session? I’ve my own preparations but i’d like to hear yours!

    Thank you for your time, Jeff.

    • Jeff Joslin says:

      Hey Jasta, thanks for the feedback. As far as other advice, I’d just say have fun, don’t stress too much about the end result of sparring and try to work on two or three different things during a sparring session. Going in with a bit of a gameplan can make sparring a very productive thing. It will allow you to develop your new techniques into some of your bests ones.

      Good luck with all your training!

  12. Nick says:

    Great Sparring tips, I’ve been training for over 30 years and this good advice, and worth re-visiting even by us old hands!
    Cheers, Nick

  13. Austin says:

    Hey Jeff I’m 18 years old and been doing BJJ for 2 years now at a local gym near my house. I am off to university now so I will be switching gyms and looking to find one near my university. I also did 6 months of kickboxing. I really want to jump into MMA competition and I am not sure when the right time is so I figured I would ask someone like you with lots of experience in the MMA world. I have been following your YouTube channel, they have some awesome stuff! When do you think the time is right for me to start? Do you think I am too young? How long do you have your fighters train before starting MMA competition? You seem like a real humble guy! Thanks Jeff!

    • Jarod says:

      dude u don’t have enough experience! It depend on the level amateur bjj tourneys fine but like so high profile ones. You have no chance! and mma u need to kickboxing a hell of a lot will get eaten alive with only a ground game!

  14. Anders says:

    Hey Jeff

    Just started training myself, 34 years old and no previous Martial arts experience, so I wont be out there competing, just doing it for the fun and getting into shape. I want to ad my gratitude to that of others – its a great site and im sure your tips will be handy in time.

    – Anders

  15. MelaineJuicy says:

    I often visit your page and have noticed that you don’t update it often.
    More frequent updates will give your site higher rank & authority
    in google. I know that writing posts takes
    a lot of time, but you can always help yourself with miftolo’s tools which will shorten the time
    of creating an article to a couple of seconds.

Leave a Reply