Verbal sparring can be fun, but nothing beats physical sparring. In martial arts, boxing, etc., this is combat, usually for practice and the betterment of both parties. Some schools restrict sparring by gender. I think this is a huge mistake. Men who have always considered themselves non-sexist have remarked on the fundamental mental readjustment they went through after a satisfying bout with a woman (whoever may have won). It also does wonders for instilling all sorts of confidence in women and girls.

Even within one's own gender, you never quite think of someone the same way after you have fought them--it's a very intimate act. Your first time sparring is often very difficult. Either you are aggressive and want to just get out there and hit people--and you find out this does not work and results in being beaten thoroughly--or you have been taught to not hit a girl, not fight back against men, or simply never be violent. Overcoming this is too emotional for some people to go through with it, some people simple walk out at this point and never come back. For others, though, it can be a real epiphany.

I miss sparring.