How to spar someone who fights up close?

Discussion in 'Taekwondo Sparring' started by Sera, Apr 30, 2017.

  1. Sera

    Sera New Member

    I have good flexibility and reasonably long legs so I tend to stay out of my opponent's reach and kick them with precision from there, which has always worked for me except in this one case. There's a girl in my club, two gradings my senior, who fights in extremely close, mostly just roundhouse, roundhouse, roundhouse (which, kinda boring, but that's a whole 'nother story). I have a lot of trouble sparring her because I can't get enough space to do anything except inside crescent and inside axe and the very occasional hook to the head. Normally, this wouldn't be a problem, but my instructor rarely lets us kick to the head so I'm struggling to kick her at all without breaking the rules, and end up just backing away blocking. She doesn't really get any kicks in because she's predictable and easy to block, but I don't really enjoy being backed around the whole room every time we spar.
    Is there something I can do to counter her style?

    Also, I have a bad feeling I'm going to have to spar her for my black belt grading, just because my instructor knows she's the only on I struggle with. :/
  2. Doug

    Doug New Member

    She's cutting off your legs, and it's a great tactic against taller opponents. I'm 5'-6", and one of the shortest in my club. I do this a lot against the taller opponents. The trade-off for me is that I've got to be able to block punches and give them good punches in return.

    Can you not punch?
  3. canadiankyosa

    canadiankyosa Active Member

  4. Sera

    Sera New Member

    I could, but then I'm too close to block. :(
  5. Mstr Gallagher

    Mstr Gallagher New Member

    Jumping turning back kicks to create space and score
    Sera likes this.
  6. Sera

    Sera New Member

    Oooh, good idea! I'll definitely try that out. Thank you!
  7. John Hulslander

    John Hulslander Active Member

    Garlic. Lot's of garlic.

    But seriously, she is bing tactical and smart. The sign of an experienced fighter.
    I agree with Mstr Gallagher.

    Cutting her off before she gets close is smart as well. The front foot short roundhouse is your friend.

    Would be easier if head shots were allowed. Still showing them, even without contact at least gives her something to consider.
  8. Sera

    Sera New Member

    True. What's a short roundhouse though?
  9. John Hulslander

    John Hulslander Active Member

    Traditional roundhouse vs short roundhouse. (this is not my video)

  10. Sera

    Sera New Member

    Oh, okay, just normal roundhouse (for me anyway haha, I had no idea the other version existed). I do like that kick. She tends to get in a bit close even for that, though. I end up making contact with the upper shin instead, which takes most of the power out of it. =( That was a nice instructional video though, thank you! This guy explains it in a lot more technical detail than my instructor does.

    EDIT: Actually, maybe if I jump back before the roundhouse it would work... Hmm, I have training tonight, so I'll give it a go. :)
  11. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Well-Known Member

    Linear kicks like miro chagi, dwit chagi, naeryo chagi. Momtong jireugi downward onto the solar plexus while she has her leg in the air to kick. Slip back counters kicking while sliding. 45 and 90 degree step out counters. Force a circle, not a line. Trap by opening up targets to her knowing how you will counter the obvious attack, and counter her counter.

    Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk
    Sera likes this.
  12. Mario Ray Mahardhika

    Mario Ray Mahardhika Active Member

    I'm on the opposite side so I'm usually the one who teach how to fight taller opponents and indeed closing the range is the way. For the other way around, though, you can always use side step roundhouse kick. This is a counter attack movement in which you wait for an attack then move to the forward-side and launch a counter while your opponent's leg is still in the air. Thankfully someone is kind enough to make and share its video:

    Another way, but I don't reallly recommend as it tends to be slower (heavier to lift leg as you're practically against your body movement) and ineffective when you're cornered, is the back step roundhouse kick. Again, someone is kind enough to make and share its video:

  13. Matt

    Matt Member

    I am joining this conversation late but I think my input will be valid. I am a shorter fighter and I use similar techniques to what the girls is using against you. As a smaller fighter, it is in our best interest to be in two zones while sparring. Either very very close or very far away. You, being the taller player want to keep us in the middle of those two places. If we are too close you have trouble fighting us, if you let us get too far away it is easier for us to set up a counter when you do attack. Your bets bet is to not let her get close to you. I suggest working a front leg side kick, round kick, ax kick and hook kick. Using your front leg will be faster than your rear leg and ideally, you want to hit us as we move towards you. This is tricky however and will take a lot of practice on defensive drills for timing as well as work on flexibility if you are not. Also look at the way in which she is moving in. Is she running at you like a football player? Is she using a cover punch when you kick to move in. Is she using footwork such as a chun jin or a shuffle step to advance? You may be able to find a weakness to exploit there as well.
  14. liquidcadmus

    liquidcadmus New Member

    Id say don't try to adjust to her game, instead force your game unto her.
    You should dominate the rythm and distance of the fight and not let your opponent pull you into the strategy that benefits them.

    I am 5'6 (166cm) and I spar with much taller opponents than me in Taekwon-Do, Karate and Kickboxing.
    of course I try to set the fights to distances that best suit me.
    if the other guy has very long limbs then I come in super close and tight. specially in kickboxing where we box this is very helpful.

    I would suggest you practice your front side kick (like Matt suggested also) to cut off your opponent each time they try to come in close. work on a counter attack method. just wait for her all the time while you are on a side stance. when she comes in close you kick her body with a firm side kick. all you need to do is raise your leg just a little bent and extend it as she comes in.
    if you feel comfortable you can add another attack right after stopping her with the side kick, then move out and repeat the same thing all over again.

    your front side kick should be like a jab in boxing, used to keep your opponent at a distance.

    if she does manage to come close, then just slide back or to the side quickly and counterattack.
    footwork is of the utmost essence in all martial arts.

    lastly you can also push her away from you with a front push kick, a front kick to the body where you push her back and away from you. you can do this with either the front or back leg.
  15. slonomo

    slonomo New Member

    When I encounter a "kicker", I let them kick for a bit to make them think I'm one dimensional. Then I use front leg front snap kick and get under her guard to score. It's real quick.

    A few good combos for this situation:
    1.) low block the roundhouse and reverse punch to the solar plexus, use one motion
    2.) front leg side kick, then skipping side kick with same leg
    3.) perfectly timed rear leg push kick (creates space), into skipping side kick, then back kick

    Push kick is really effective if you can catch them right as they lift their leg to kick. Kick high on the chest guard, they will likely fall down or stumble backwards, then go in for a multiple kick combo like skipping side kick then back kick.

    Unless we are talking about and experienced competitive sparring partner, usually people use 2-3 kicks over and over. They get comfortable, and ultimately careless. So mix up your arsenal and work on combos that your opponent will not expect. I like to use crescent kick to setup a skipping hook kick to the chest. The crescent kick gets them moving back and puts their guard up toward their face, then you lay in there with a quick hook kick and they usually are too slow to react.

    Another I like is the fake low round house into high roundhouse (same leg). They naturally lower their guard to block the low roundhouse, sometimes they even bend over a bit, lowering their head for an easy high roundhouse kick.

    Listen, there are so many little combos, you just have to try a few out. Watch some youtube videos on combinations. The jumping spinning versions, in my opinion, are too slow for good sparring. Look for the quick ones that are difficult to defend. Look for kicks that setup other kicks.

    Good luck.
  16. Evildwarf

    Evildwarf Member

    Jeet Kune Do teaches to control the opponent's space, take the space away from them and you will dominate the match.
    Range is very important to this concept, understanding your range and putting your opponent in the range you want them in.
    Redirection of her strikes and using the redirection to move into her space will break her attack rhythms.
    Easier said than done, I'd probably catch a hook to the ear but it sure sounds like good advice!
  17. spinningkick

    spinningkick New Member

    I use that tactic against taller people, I would suggest you practice some good counter kicks and possibly moving sideways to make more space for yourself.

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