I only fought once but I have been sparring regularly on a weekly basis. Yesterday our coach made one of us stay in the ring and the rest would take turns fighting with them for 1 round, then when the whole class has fought that person he'd go out and someone else would jump into the ring.

Even though I am used to sparring with my gym colleagues, jumping into that ring while everyone is watching felt different and i suddenly was aware of every move i make and couldn't be relaxed and at ease, I wasn't doing my best.

Just want to know from those who fight often, did you go through the same thing and how do you overcome it? I know that it may come with experience (more fights) but i'm wondering if there are other ways to get trained in that physiology piece of being on the spot

3 Answers 3


Actually, no. When I was a beginner, even with others watching, I am too busy being focused on the person in front of me, to think of the audience.

I'd like to introduce you to the concept of Zanshin.

Zanshin is a word used commonly throughout Japanese martial arts to refer to a state of relaxed alertness. Literally translated, zanshin means “the mind with no remainder.” In other words, the mind completely focused on action and fixated on the task at hand. Zanshin is being constantly aware of your body, mind, and surroundings without stressing yourself. It is an effortless vigilance.

Taken from here

In Western context, it's what they call being in the zone, whether it is sparring or working on a project.

For starters, to overcome this, you need to enter fighting/sparring with a goal in mind. Not anything grandiose, like today, I want to knock him down. Perhaps, today, I will watch his hands, and for every punch he gives me, I punch back twice. Only one goal at a time. You'd find that you are so occupied to achieve this goal, that everything else is just background noise. When you've accomplish this, gradually build up with more goals/objectives.

  • What about when in a fight, would the goal change each round depending on my opponent's strategy or would that be distracting? Jul 24, 2019 at 6:09
  • You can change your goal per round or when the situation calls for it. Once you've calmed your mind, nothing can distract you, except the task at hand. Jul 25, 2019 at 3:14

You fight how you train, so train how you want to fight AKA we all fall to the level of our training.

When sparring, you are learning two things. The first is how to amalgamate/internalize techniques so that they work for you. The second is how to cope with the unexpected. Both, in conjuncture, make you a better fighter. Sparring can be less or more intense as you (and your opponent) set the pace and practice different things.

However, the one thing lacking in sparring is an audience which will accentuate your innate fear of failure. It is a self confidence thing. You only get than by doing it whatever it is and faking it till it's natural.

In class, no one is going to care if you fail. You are expected to fail. That is how we learn, from our (and others) mistakes. You should embrace this instead of fighting it. All that matters is that you learnt something.


Training is everything... the feelings don't totally leave you just learn to rely on your training. The minute you hear the bell or your sensei call out that is when the training takes over. I would practice two other things 1 my Kata's and 2 Meditation with proper breathing. Once i had these two items focused the peacefulness and focus takes over. Yamatai..

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