We have a lot of 1st and 2nd degree black belts in my sparring class that are 18 or younger. The primary thing this gives them is SPEED, which at my (ahem)
Two Mondays ago I was up against a zippy 13-year old 1st degree. I could hold him off or drive him out of the ring with repeated side kicks, but the very moment I turned away or otherwise took my eyes off of him, he'd nail me with a flying sort of blitz punch. It's a popular attack among the young black belts.
Guess what: I noticed.
In my head I reflected on it, and played out scenarios on how to deflect or avoid that particular attack. Watched a lot of WCL, checked out YouTube videos, and noted how advanced point fighters dealt with the attack.
Last Monday I was in the ring again with the same kid, but a different outcome. Anticipating the blitz, I ducked my head back out of range while delivering the last side kick in a combo attack. The result was an introduction of foot to chest--2 points!
Tuesday's core class was also a revelation. We worked on a lot of skip kicks, a long-range attack. That night I discovered my range is a lot longer than I thought. One more thing to note when gauging distance to my opponent.
Happy 4th of July!