SPARRING FOR COMBAT SPORTS AND H2H COMMON OBJECTIVE / Boaz Aviram
Regardless of what they teach, the common objective of Combat Sports and Hand to Hand combat sparring is to demonstrate control over the opponent through reach and manipulation or the ability to manipulate pressure points first without letting the opponent to do it.
So even when marking impact, the distance has to be closed with a lunge and the punch or kick not fully extended so it could have been extended when it needed to reach. In defensive striking, there is no lunge, just foot adjustment for balance and timing extension of the striking limb.
If you sense the attacker is coming and you launce a preemptive defensive kick and the attacker stops before reaching the hot zone, you end up kicking the air. But then you need to follow up and chase him with a lunge and a kick or a punch according to the distance.