I had my first sparring session in weeks tonight against Jeremy. He teaches dancing for a living and is very creative and athletic, having studied capoeira in addition to Kung Fu. I decided to mix it up a bit, using animal movements and spinning attacks to be less predictable. I even got a chance to use tai sabaki, a concept from Krav Maga. Basically, you use a low cover to deflect an arm attack and circle-step out of the way. Of course, my signature move, the superman punch, was worked into the bout on several occasions. I felt the match was a draw up until the point that I gassed. At any rate, I improved significantly since our last couple of bouts.
The key thing about sparring is that you want to develop your own style. Once you get the fundamentals down (i.e. hand strikes, kicks, footwork, etc.), you need to tweak them to fit your own personality and body type. While I have a lot to improve on, I feel that I am finally coming into my own. I'm not an expert in any of the animal styles yet. However, I seem to be drifting in the direction of the snake style because I use plenty of quick, linear strikes which I set up with feints. I will still learn attacks from the other animal styles to make sure that I am well-rounded. That being said, I will pay special attention to snake moves from now on.