As functional martial artists, we're used to things happening fast. We focus on being in the moment and allowing ourselves to naturally respond to and dictate the situation based on our training and experience. Thus, it might sound a little funny to start talking about having patience in our games; however, paradoxically, it is this principle that will give us that greatest boosts in our performances in the moment.
The importance of patience becomes more obvious when we consider its opposite. When we are impatient, we try to force the situation into our version of what it should be, leaving ourselves over-exposed and open to the counter-attacks of an experienced opponent. Impatience makes us rush onwards without ensuring we have built a solid foundation for our future skills and causes us to give up too soon on ideas and principles that will see us succeed.
When we look at things that way, its much easier to see how patience can really help us grow both in the moment of sparring, and in our long-term development. Having patience isn't about sitting back and doing nothing – it's about allowing yourself the space and freedom to be as absolutely consistent as you possibly can be.
Expectations – have a goal for each round you do but keep your attention on the task at hand to limit distractions.
Pace – understand the distinction btn sparring and self defense; allow yourself to change gears throughout a round.
Concepts – look for the primary concepts and task relevant cues that keep you on track.
Consistency – once you can perform the primary concepts regularly, seek to continuously boost their consistency.
Journey – understand that the destination you reach is entirely dependent upon the quality of the steps you take. Enjoy it :)