I am taking Beginner Muay Thai classes for a couple of months now quite regularly. A few rounds of light sparring (no elbows, no knees & kicks to the head, focus on technique instead of power) against several other trainees in succession is part of most training sessions. For each session I usually focus on one specific technique/detail that I want to work on, e.g. dodging blows, delivering lots of lowkicks, executing combos containing a level change...
Recently, a situation occured that made me reconsider my attitude. The goal I pursued that day was to safely enter clinch and dominate the opponent. Amongst others I was paired against a girl that is at least as long a member of that gym as I am and is probably 20-25 kg lighter than me. I closed distance and entered the clinch easily and tripped her to the ground effortlessly. I immediately apologized and she didn't seem to mind and continued sparring with me. I felt bad anyways because that move didn't help either of us getting better at MT and was basically just a display of dominance on my side.
Anyways, I'm not quite sure anymore about how to deal with sparring partners that I outclass either physically or technically. On one hand I think you can learn a lot if your opponent gives you a rough time and provides a challenge. Plus, I don't want to give people the feeling that I don't take them seriously. On the other hand, I'd like to make people feel welcome instead of intimidating them and don't force them into situations they basically can't win.
I don't think the answer is 'Do not spar with people 25 kg lighter/heavier than you'. I once got roughed up pretty hard by a skinny guy who was a foot smaller than me and I enjoy facing taller and heavier guys than me because it forces me to deal with my disadvantages and keeps me on my toes. Both are valuable lessons in my book.
So my question is: is there any general advice on how to spar against opponents that you clearly outclass one way or another without looking like a complete douchebag, so both combattants are able to learn something valuable from the encounter?