Sparring. Some people love it, other people hate it. Very few people are ambivalent toward it. For people new to the world of Martial Arts, sparring can be a source of apprehension. Most people, I have discovered in my thirty-four years on this planet, don’t like being hit; especially not in the face. Some people, myself included, take a strange pride in their ability to be hit (in the face or otherwise) without it slowing them down.
Within the different martial arts, and even within different gyms of the same style, there are a wide variety of attitudes towards sparring. Some advocate sparring often and hard, others advocate sparring seldom, keeping it as something that only the more experienced senior members of the class can do. There are, of course, pros and cons to both system.
I’ve been around a bit, I’ve trained in multiple styles, in multiple gyms and dojos, and even in multiple countries in, what has been thus far, a lifetime of martial arts. In my opinion, there is no single right way. The correct path through the martial arts isn’t a set road. It’s not a staircase that you can climb, moving from set step to set step following a predefined, one size fits all, pathway.
Size, speed, mobility, strength, even your ability to take a punch; all of these factors impact on your ability to spar safely and effectively.