Learn to respond not react
Reactions are spontaneous automatic knee jerk answers to things. Responses are considered more thoughtful. Reactions tend to be immediate and focus solely on the immediate situation in front of us, responses however focus on the bigger picture taking in all the facts and consequences of our actions.
Your hand touches a hot stove and you pull it away immediately, someone calls you a name and you lash out angrily both of these are examples of reactions. You don’t think, you don’t stop to consider your options. A response on the other hand considers all the facts and weighs up the consequences of our actions.
When sparring you should learn to respond rather than react. Your opponent feints an attack and you react, or you learn to watch your opponent’s movements and respond only to their legitimate attacks. Reading their eyes, focusing on their shoulders and their body movements, keeping relaxed and calm. This is practiced when facing a partner in training. Slowing their movements down with sustained focus and awareness (Zanshin)