Looking for people to spar with
I am trying to figure out the best way to get some more people to spar with outside of my teacher. I don't have access right now to a typical class structure. I barter crossfit lessons with a guy with Muay Thai experience 3-4 times a week. For the last 8 months or so, we trained at my CF gym and had worked our way up to sparring with headgear, gloves and shinguards. So, last week, we got a gym-use only membership to a local fight gym so we would have access to a ring and a heavy bag that wasn't half pillow and half brick. We use the gym during the down hours, so all the guys there are professionals or trainers. My instructor told me not to ask anyone to spar, but to always agree to spar if asked. Since I am clearly out of my social element there, I have followed that advice and have been ignored by the fighters (in a sparring sense, they have been very friendly in a personal sense).
Because I don't have the disposable income right now for additional instructor led training, I am looking to find people to spar with so I don't get stuck in a rut by only training with someone with one set of techniques, style, etc. However, I am ignorant of the social cueing in this environment, so I don't know how to tell the potential good experiences from the "injuries waiting to happen."
As an example of people I could ask, there is a 20 year old guy who works at a local fight gym, who is an amateur fighter. He seems like a nice guy, but all of his stories are about how he broke some dude's ribs or knocked a guy out that he was sparring with. I'm not afraid of getting my bell rung, but I make my living as a fitness trainer and I can't afford a serious injury (no health insurance). I'm not sure how much of this is braggadocio and how much of this is information for me to use as a warning.
Another option is a guy who took years of Wing Chun (an art I have no exposure to). I invited him out to spar, but he was tired so we just hit pads, which was a strange experience. He had never held pads for a kickboxer and I had never held pads for someone who doesn't throw hooks and has a chain punch. I am all for learning from different styles, especially since his movement was much cleaner and more fluid than mine, but his description of his art struck me as teh de4dly.
So, the real question is, what criteria should I use to determine whether someone would be good to spar with? How do you determine whether they are dangerous? Should I only try to do this at a fight gym or can I do it at my home gym (where there are only a couple of wrestling mats or gymnastic mats on top of a concrete floor).
Let me know if there is additional info I should provide. I read the article on How To Spar, but it was more geared toward a class setting. Thanks for the help.
Sit in on the sparring with your mouth shut
Pity you don't live in Akron, Oh. I started a program at a health club with guys like you in mind.
I refuse to believe I am THAT unique though. Make some phone calls and you will find someone open minded enough to give you the training you want.
@Greg: I took that approach last Friday and learned a bunch just watching. Is it generally acceptable in the fight community for someone to hang out and watch sparring if they are not part of the class/group?
@Jus: It's more that I want to know how to determine who I should spar with. Want to avoid the people that will injure me out of malice or lack of skill/experience. Also, I am pretty green myself (8 months) and I don't want to hurt anybody else.