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I have studied mma for 1 year and sometimes I spar in my gym against some who has 7 years of experience in mma, he is bigger than me, he is 6'1 and I am only 5'10, he always hits me a lot and he once kicked me in the face and I can barely hit him.

How do I improve and does it has any benefits spar with guys like him that are advanced and big?

Overall we are like friends and he teaches me techniques that I don't know and I ask him a lot of questions.

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There is definitely a lot of upside to sparring fighters who are better than you, it's the same idea as if you don't challenge yourself you won't get better.

However, if you are sparring this guy and he is hurting you or hitting you way too hard then he should be, then that is an issue and needs to be brought up with him or your instructor. Someone with so much more experience should not be going too hard on guys that they know they are better then, that is a big no-no.

Try to focus on learning, working on improvement areas, and building confidence when you spar and take the opportunity to spar with guys who are better than you, that's when you'll really be able to test yourself and learn more, but also make sure to stay safe and spar controlled!

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Firstly, unless you are at a competition - sparring is not a competition, or a fight

Unless you are some sort of martial arts god - you are going to get hit

I can't count the number of students who seem to forget these two crucial points.

You can learn and improve from every spar, even if in an actual fight it would be one-sided.

Pick 1 at most 2 things to work on, I usually pick some techniques that we did in the class prior to sparring as that is fresh in my mind, and repeat repeat repeat until it works for you.

I frequently have smaller, lower grade students land shots on me - that's a good thing - they have shown me what I am doing wrong in whatever I was practicing.

As to the benefits of fighting a higher grade opponent - well, its a bigger learning curve for sure, but they will show you gaps in your guard that the lesser experienced may not have been able to hit. They will show you movement that the lesser experienced may not know or be able to pull of smoothly. They will show you how to effectively use techniques that the lesser experienced may not. They will show you how the attacks you throw can be blocked, evaded, negated or countered. Generally, the better the quality of opposition you face the better you will become - You just need to accept that each spar against an opponent like that will be a lesson.

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    Yep, most important lesson is "you do not "win" sparring, you win experience through sparring". I once was a sparring partner in high-level kickboxing grading when I knew few about kickboxing. I certainly had a task of "keeping the pressure high" but man, I would have sooo lost a real match. Was a great experience at that time. I am a grappler by trade so I constantly closed in and did low-kicks and hooks while trying not to expose myself too much hehe. Let's say I learned that any kind of offense was a bad idea with this kind of difference in skill Commented Oct 30, 2023 at 20:52

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