So... I went bk to class yesterday for the first time since the foot incident (xmas). For anyone who cares (lol), it went well, I was clearly stupidly unfit, but obv stuck to it, and did ok. Only thing I did was modify the pad techniques to use my left leg rather than my right leg to kick with, and all wa cool. The class itself is v professional, (eg very small, high level of experience, even an instructor to a different class trains there with us) so i wasn't really too worried. Anwayys - point of hte post (long rambling session, be warned. don't read if you're not at work and actually have stuff 2 do :icon_chee) I spose I shouldn't freak out, because I'm not very experienced and I was probably the 4th worst person in a class of 10 or someting. But I feel that I'm Much better than I showed in the sparring, which is the problem. Against the people less experienced then me that I sparred, I controlled them both relatively easily, and did pretty well, so overall quit epleased with that. Problems are with the people i'm not as good as - I don't know if its cos hte skill gap is V great (eg between the lower level in our class, and the higher level), or because I sparred every round and didn't sit out to analyse and 'take stock' (whihc I've decided helps a lot, watching other experienecd people spar each other and spotting gaps/movement etc), or it was partly because my conditioning is so bad but..... I basically got my ass kicked all over the show for the last 3 or 4 rounds (all against better fighters and one of them being an instructor) I DID manage to land some deecnt shots and also a combo or two, (my favorite has become lead leg inside leg kick, 1 2 to the head) but it's pretty fair to say i took over twice the shots I landed. Probably the ratio was nearer to 3 to 1 lol. I can't really put exactly my finger on what the problems were lol (obv), and I know without video or seeing you can really say much but if anyone has any comments they'd be very welcome, I think the frustration is coming across in this post lolol... I;ve been told that on pads + bag work I have pretty good technique, and I learn quickly. But when it comes to actually sparring, my pad performance doesn't translate at all lol. I think I tense up loads, and I seem to not treat it like I should (like maybe I need to think of hte person as a moving heavy bag or something lol). To sum it up, I've been told (by instructor and others etc) that I basically look frustrated when I'm sparring lololol. Which I spose makes sense, beacuse I am, because I can't get any decent shots off lol. Like I'm good with combos etc on the pads, but when Im sparring, I can never seem to get in close enough, or have the range, I always feel like i'm stuck 'outside' - which is weird as im 5.11". We could work all pad session on some combos, but when I get to sparring it all goes out my head and I literally just use combos that involve lead leg kick, 1 2, 1, 1 1, leg kick. I never even get the range down to throw hooks etc. Sometimes if it ends up in close I uppercut once or twice, clinch, 'fake' knee and push away, but that's it. I don't mind taking punches, i actually quite like gettin hit lol, I think I find the movement and angles a big problem - partly due to my tenseness. I can tell when I'm sparring someone better than me they are relaxed, picking their shots, working the angles, which i dont do and need to improve. For example, I tried to work on my slipping / bobbing / weaving and set up my range well, then waited for the punches, and got some heaed movement going. I did ok, but I'd get caught because obv the person would move in with their combo, and I didn't bac up / laterally move enough, and would end up getting caught with say hte last punch of the string or a kick, often because i wouldn't move enough - I'd see the final kick or punch coming, but I would either be rooted to the spot and just take it, or in some cases make a poor attempt at slipping the punch Purely because my movement collectively between legs + head isn't good enough. I think attitude is another problem, as I sed I like gettin hit, and when sparring you know you're guna get hit, but you're rarely (unless you both start going heavy) getting clocked hard or knocked out,so i'm not too bothered. Perhaps I need to spar harder. Perhaps theres' jus so much to think about every sparring session that I effectively switch off and go bk to the basics dunno. SO (lol): ways to improve? If anyone has pointers that I can remember when I go into sparring, pleae advise. (i try to do this now, eg I take notes with me and then hav a quick read before sparring starts, eg stay loose, look for openings, throw combos, but obv what I got written hasn't ben that usefull lol.) Defensive drills I can do on my own at home? (if poss), for example on the heavy bag. Pointers and stuff to think about in general is all very welcome, I'm motivated to improve myself so willing to try whatever. How useful would a speedball be for improving. (I can attach a speedball to my heavy bag stand)... Apologies for the general lenthyness.