This is a sparring question (might be very limited carry-over for self-protection). I know that we have a lot of people on here who spar/train/compete under many different rulesets. I'm just trying to get a sense of how gym etiquette varies from place to place and rule set to rule set.
Today I was lucky enough to work with a great group of local martial artists. All of them are much superior fighters to me in terms of skillset, experience, everything that matters. We did quite a bit of striking sparring. (I have trained with these men before but never striking.) We have much different styles. Almost all of them are Muay Thai. One guy might have had an MMA background, I couldn't tell.
When I am sparring with a southpaw, I will frequently step on the lead foot with my foot. Not stomping on it or doing it to injure, just stepping on it to trap it for a split second. I pair it with a jab (either to the head or the the body). This is 100% intentional and I use it as a set-up to get my opponent worrying about his footwork.
I feel like I also do it sometimes when I'm sparring another right-hander, but then it's more of a chance thing and I don't really plan it, it just sort of happens as I work the angles.
Anyway, I found myself using that a lot today. Apparently it is considered to be a dirty move in some gyms. These guys didn't mind (they figured it out pretty quickly), but they gave me some friendly advice to be careful using it with some fighters, because apparently some people get really pissed off by it and consider it a major foul.
I knew it was illegal in boxing but I thought it was fair game pretty much everywhere else. Truth be told, it is such an ingrained habit at this point that it will be tough not to do it. Against less experienced fighters it can be very effective. (To be clear, I'm not suggesting that this is a magic bullet or that this in any way leveled the playing field for me today--those guys were toying with me and the skill gap was enormous.)
My question is: do you guys use this same technique in your ruleset? Is this considered dirty fighting (maybe OK for self-protection, not OK for friendly sparring)? Maybe an annoying distraction to throw away so you can focus on more important things? Banned under your competition rules?
Obviously, I'm not going to use it anymore with these guys, I want to have them as mentors and I don't want to piss them off. But I just want to get a sens on this so I'll know when I visit other places in the future.