Sparring type 6: speed sparring

Condition the mind and muscle memory to manage and use speed

The type of sparring we are going to describe focuses on stamina and speed conditioning and is not for beginners.

We should avoid this practice if we are not:

Note – This article has been asked by one of our Core Course practitioners on Patreon (see how to attend our home study classes here Learn Kung Fu online: a beginner-to-expert course)..

After having read the general rules of sparring and respect (read How to do sparring and Dojo (guan): rules, respect and etiquette), let’s see what are the peculiarities of this type of sparring.

Description of the exercise

How this kind of sparring works:

  • The 2 practitioners are one against the other with their relative guards
  • Both practitioners immediately start to attack at the maximum speed they can express and without interruption
  • 90% of the fighting takes place with kicks and punches but it does not exclude small and “soft” actions by the other parts of the body
  • The effort must be constant or increasing until the performance starts to decrease
  • When the performance starts to decrease we have to immediately stop and change exercise and / or recovery
  • The focus is on attack and counterattack, passive defense should be limited as much as possible
  • The idea is to learn to manage fast dynamic movements to build quick reasoning, instinct and speed
  • The combat must always be imagined as real
  • The battle has no specific time limits (but normally it ends very rapidly)

A note by Master Kongling – The more we train with this type of sparring, the more we will last longer while using our maximum performance.

Rules and goals

What we can do:

  • We can fully use our speed and any kind of (legit) trick
  • We can attack wherever we want but in a controlled manner
  • We can move quite freely but in a limited area (eg 4x4m)
  • We can use all the striking techniques (punches, kicks, knees, elbows, etc. but in a controlled way)
  • We can go lower, rotate, do small jumps, etc. (but that’s not the focus of the exercise)
  • We can use rigid / soft training weapons (if not dangerous)

What we cannot do:

  • Levers, projections, constrain techniques and any kind of prolonged contacts are not allowed
  • We can not go for ground fighting
  • We can not lead shots on pressure points (lethal, pain, etc.)
  • It is not allowed to bring any type of technique so as to cause damage

Main objectives:

  • The main goal is to teach our body an instinctive way of attack and counterattack
  • Learn to manage high-speed dynamic contexts to develop quick reasoning and instinct
  • Learn to prevail through sequences, rapid faints, reflexes, timing, etc.
  • Build stamina and muscle memory
  • Learn to recognize good opportunities to prevail (time, space, etc.)
  • Learn to deceive the opponent through our body movements
  • Learn to read, imagine and prevent opponent’s actions at high-speed

Details of practice

Protections and safety:

  • Depending on the level of the fighters (experience with the exercise, self-control, spatial intelligence, body conditioning, etc.), can be used or not more or less complete protections (boxing gloves, helmets, etc.)
  • If we use weapons the attacks must be very controlled
  • To suffer fractures or microfractures in this kind of exercises is very easy, let us not overestimate our abilities
  • Both practitioners must think about the safety of the companion (there are no rivals in a training session)


  • We can use all the possible training weapons (only if they are completely harmless and not rigid), even 1 per hand
  • It’s up to the instructor to decide to allow more or less contact level
  • The exercise can be done also replacing the strikes with simple pushes
  • In the case of skill disparities, we can apply various types of handicaps to the more experienced practitioner (eg. the weighted vest, read The weighted vest or a limited number of limbs / techniques to use)


  • Sparring cannot be performed by people that cannot control themselves (generally, in 6 Dragons Kung Fu, we start it in the second phase of learning, read The meaning of sparring fighting in martial arts)
  • This is not a sparring type good for novices, the risk of error / damages is high, the contenders have to know what they’re doing; in addition to this, as we focus on educating muscle memory (read The muscle memory), it is not a good idea to condition us to low-quality movements (we need a basic technical level)
  • When our body absorbs this kind of instinctive attacking automation, we rapidly become very dangerous; our self-control ability must grow in parallel to our ability to create damage (we practice to find peace, not war)
  • Performing only this type of sparring is counterproductive in tactical terms; it should be combined with the other types, otherwise, we risk getting used to consume all our combat energies instantly

In future articles of this series, we will see the other types of training fights.

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Reply in the comments and share your experience:

  • How long can you resist?

Author: Master Kongling

Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.

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