1. In Isshinryu Karate we use a fist to punch. Obviously. We hold our fists vertically with our thumb tucked on the top. In Taekwondo, we used what is known as the ‘common punch’. The reason we hold our fists vertically is because it makes it much harder to break your wrist when you have your hand in the Isshinryu fist. Plus, when you twist your hand during a punch using the ‘common punch’ your opponent might scoot in closer, before your hand is in the correct position. Ouch. With the vertical fist, we just put our hands at our belts upright. If that makes any sense. So, when we punch, if our opponent scoots in, our hands are already in the right position, so our wrists do not break. Pretty good tip, if I say so myself. I will post a picture of the vertical fist under pictures.
2. While sparring someone with longer legs than you ( which I do a lot ) you should use the scoot. This is when you lift up your front foot to kick, your opponent scoots back, and you scoot by not lifting your foot off of the floor and using your momentum to slide your foot along the floor.
3. While sparring, do not bounce because once you are in the air, you can’t do anything to defend yourself.
4. While sparring, circle around your opponent and keep switching guards because you don’t want to give them time to think about what they want to do.
5. Do sparring combinations in threes. Do three moves and move away.
6. Unless you are super tall and loaded with muscsle, you should get in, do your three moves, and get out. After three moves your opponent realizes what you are doing and punches you back.
7. Make sure that when you do a lunge punch ( a punch with your front hand ), you twist your hips completely sideways ( they were at a forty-five degree angle before, or at least around there… ) to add extra reach. It sounds complicated, but really it’s not.
8. When you are sparring, and you are switching guards, scoot back, touch your front foot to your back foot, and switch guards away from your opponents’ reach. Preferably, you should angle, so it is more likely that you get the point.