With the rush of your opponent charging, the urge to counter, and the swirl of combat around you it can be difficult to focus on “practice” during fighter practice. Arik offers good advice in his article that “winning” isn’t the only victory to be had at practice.
Give yourself small goals during the fight by focusing on your technique and the movements leading up to the clash. Can I hit their arm without touching their sword, can I dodge their attack without needing to block, etc. This not only gives you a bonus victory condition (all the better if you can win also!) but it gives you a way to make improvements during live combat.
Original article by Arik Mendelevitz: http://www.swordgeek.org/2018/10/25/why-you-should-practice-at-practice/