Mind-set for combat
This is going to be mostly related to the field of unarmed or individual melee combat, that which tends to be found in the uncertain realms of non-military conduct. That being said there will no doubt be a crossover of distinct relevance for all that should face the calamity of human violence.
Without objectivity one cannot properly train, practice of focus. It seems quite obvious but from within a culture obsessed with arbitrary and subjective practices, the objective of purpose and function is lost. Fighting is in itself an objective, it needs no narrative or moral philosophy its sole purpose is in the destruction and control of another human being, or beings with physical force of power and manipulation. One is either the initiator of such violence or the responder to it. The one who has the better awareness and ability to adapt and control the violence is best assured in their survival and ongoing self-preservation.
Several factors sabotage and violate the obvious purpose and objectivity of fighting. Most notably they are born from the parents of arrogance and ignorance, the off spring is a predominantly ugly and deluded child that is forever being nurtured by a complacent culture of self-assured children who for the most part do everything in their powers to forsake real awareness and personal obligation when it comes to moments of dire crisis. The children born into this union tend to avoid objectivity with so many comfortable practices and self imposed delusions, it is here that clichés are often recited as though they are fortifying mantras. Take for example, ‘any knowledge is better than no knowledge’, ‘work hard, fight easy’, or ‘sweat is pain leaving the body’. The later two relating to the idea that simply found within exertion and maximal effort for its own sake that one can find victory, as though doing something hard for its own sake is both productive and allows one to solve puzzles or problems. Effort without design or purpose can not only be injurious but can also condition and prepare the body-mind for a performance that is completely the opposite to what one needs in combat. The other relating to knowledge is perhaps the most perversely deluded, in a World that bathes in so much ‘knowledge’ it is hard to simply define what is relevant and not but the one sure as certain truth teller relates to experience. Experience of oneself and those who are relaying such ‘knowledge’.
Steering away from wider philosophy one needs only to look at the recent booms of fitness related industries, a realm based solely on the need to look a part or to better perform exercise for its own sake. Much of the fitness industry is an over jerk in the perception that many in modern society (developed Western nations) are too idle and ‘over-weight’, because of this the industry has taken up the mantle to get people moving however arbitrarily that may be or as is often the case to move so that they ‘look’ better. A lot is lost when one simply exercises for its own sake or when one seeks to satisfy an image. It is a nuanced relevance that defies any actual practical function or objective purpose, instead the common place mantra simply assumes that a six pack and abilities at subjective exercise is the best means by which one can better ‘condition’ themselves for life and in some cases actual violence. This is a dangerous assumption to assume that relevance in ‘general fitness’ will in some way overlap or slide into specific combat preparation. A belief that one can so simply ‘fitness’ their way out of a violent situation is one of delusion and best wishes based upon so much effort and time placed in the pursuit of an elusive intangible such as fitness. Certainly the ‘fitter’ one is then the better off that they generally are, this is the case for all aspects of life, so do not think that it is so relevant to the domain of human combat.
We shall veer away from the physical inhibitions that isolation exercises and exercise for exercise sake can have on one’s abilities when it comes to objective performance and instead will look at the mental derailment that such practices can have. In training for the elusive self-satisfying platform of fitness one only knows how to exert themselves with little contested skills. It is assumed that the biggest obstacle is one’s own self or that simply in moving and pushing through barriers of fatigue that one is somehow empowered, leading a person into a deluded narcissistic place of ill preparation. Certainly the ability and discipline needed to actually repeatedly exercise despite being tired, cold or hot, to push past ‘pain’ barriers are attributes that can be helpful it in itself is far from what is needed when it comes to accomplishing contested points of objectivity.
In combat and most endeavours of physical contest one is matched against another or others, often as trained and in as good a shape as you are, these others are in turn doing their best to better you and over power you with skill and muscle. Here in is where more than command of self in an isolated place of physical toil is needed. While you are suffering pain and fatigue you shall often have another person or persons wresting, bashing and pulling away at you doing everything in their mental and physical powers to harm and defeat you, you in turn are often trying to do the very same thing to them. This requires more than ‘fitness’.
How does one prepare for this? And I mean ACTUALLY prepare for this, outside of the world of clichés and slogans, one needs to practice. They need to practice with as much relevance and purpose as is possible. This can only be gained through the guidance of experience and in feeling what it is like, under the direst of resisted and contested of physical examples while also practicing with honest diligent motions and actions needed to refine oneself so that you can move with as much finesse and ECONOMY during those moments of immense physical toil.
Most exercise is about the exertive repetition of an action so that muscles and body are broken down and fatigued so that in the recovery period they can be strengthened and repaired to ensure that the exerciser is ‘fitter’. This is done so that kilojoules are consumed or that muscles are built for most often aesthetic purposes. This sort of training is often subjective with the end goal being the satisfaction of how the exerciser ‘looks’ and ‘feels’. Often the best means to achieve this is exerting at full effort, entire industries of fitness are wrapped around the idea of maximum effort in order to achieve these goals.
Now, in combat one often trains and refines their movements so that they are efficient. So that they move with as much grace as is possible, so that kinetic linkage, form and techniques are as balanced and non-wasteful as possible. This is a hard and often meticulous task of physical and mental aptitude. The body learns to become an economical entity in the most physically draining situations that one may ever experience. The training of maximum intensity whereby muscles are exerted absolutely for their own sake often works against these actions, isolates muscle groups, weakens frames, retards motion and exhausts the body in general thus making the combatant easy prey to a stronger or wiser foe. Furthermore it can often lead to a ‘now what’ moment where everything has been left in the opening instances with little design or cunning of mind.
The conditioning and ‘fitness’ component of the combatants training is often gained in the diligent practice of various actions, whether this be in simple shadow boxing to isolation drills with a cooperating partner. Then in time when the combatant actually displays some coordination, sparring, wrestling and isolation drills against a resisting partner is then required. The marriage of complicated skill sets with very physically draining effort is not for all and is often why it is out right avoided by the purveyors of lies in the martial arts world. For those claiming physical excellence in their realms of fitness, questioning the strenuous nature of combative sparring or wrestling, I challenge you to last a round with a combat athlete for the fitness sensation, provided you have any actual skills or abilities to stave off their offence and do not suffer a KO or submission. Conditioning exercises outside of these crucial components are integral, certainly they however should not be the focus for someone boasting the intentions of becoming a combat practioner.
The simple objectivity in this conduct in itself will help to foster a mind-set needed for most, what is important however is that one can separate the protocols of cooperative training, ie helping a comrade ready for a competition or allowing someone to dominate you for their own training purposes to you realising that each time that you were caught or made a mistake in training, this in turn could have cost you or those in your protection, life. While training for sport and ravelling oneself among the complexities of regulations one can disassociate themselves from the wider purpose of combat, that being to destroy and defeat others. Instead points and the rules infect objectivity to a point of repugnant difference, the sport while holding valuable attributes oozes away any relevance to actual combat. While the training from the sport holds more objectivity to it than mere physical exertion that the fitness industry obsesses over, it can often meander away from key concepts of combat.
For those who are sports minded in their combative training, whether this being wrestling, boxing, MMA and so on, sometimes the allure of cross training can help to break up the drudgery of sport specific training. The seductive appeal of something exotic can draw one away from their own sport, the promises of the proponents of this new activity can further help to defy what it is that you initially sought to do. It can see caged MMA fighters wearing blankets while rolling around learning a faded tempo and playing with no threat of incoming blows or can see wrestlers obsessing with leg presses and calf raises all the while weakening their legs for the moments of practice when deep level changes requires all of those fibres to be functioning. If these expeditions beyond the realm of your actual objectives inhibit and derail your progress in the relevant trainings and endeavours then it is in fact more than a distraction, it is an obstruction.
Sometimes in training one can become bored and dejected and a meander is a needed excursion, relevance to what you boast to desire however should always be close to mind. One cannot achieve objectivity if they allow themselves the lies that learning another sport will in turn help with their own. Despite the needs of other sports to piggy back upon the success of MMA, MMA is not a hybrid of so many others. It is its own entity, its own organism and has its own nuances and beats. While they may hold similarities at times it is in the end in its differences that defines itself as its own sport, the danger and lack of objectivity can water down the mind-set as one drifts into the comfortable training habits of another sport. MMA has as much in common with other combat sports as Rugby does with soccer, in fact often MMA has less in common than the two football codes do. Yet, seldom if at all do you see rugger players dashing to the soccer club to enhance and refine their sport or craft with the skills needed for the soccer pitch. The other combat sports seem to need MMA more than MMA needs them and thus it is with this in mind that MMA fighters are expected or requested to train in and with other combat athletes. However crudely they may speak the others language an MMA fighter can box, wrestle, grapple and kickbox and yet seldom if at all can those others equally as well MMA let alone see a boxer grapple or a wrestler kickbox with as much lingual transition as is expected of a MMAer. Now while this is something often born out of necessity as the combat sports are slender in actual participant popularity, these unspecific rounds and focusing on another’s sport can often harm the MMA fighter. However mild and nuanced it may be, one can gain good conditioning and improve certain cross over skill sets it can also however harm the transitional ranges and contacts that make MMA so distinct and hard. It is crucial that one never forgets that while they are in a Thai clinch that they could hit a tackle, while they are scrambling with a wrestler that they can seek a choke, while they are inside a casual grapplers guard that forearms should be inbound or that while slipping a jab a head kick may follow. Because in finding too much comfort or familiarity in another’s sport you can in fact pollute and water down your own objectivity and goals as a fighter.
For those who want to learn how to fight. And by fight I mean in the purest most vulgar sense of the word. You can look to the sports of combat as excellent case studies, laboratories by which to derive and draw examples and methods from. But all the while you must remember that a laboratory is a self-contained microcosm of a wider reality, it is helpful and can inspire and grant one tremendous insight. It however is often free of many radical elements that can often taint the sporting laboratory. The combat sports will offer superb training practices, realistic drills and invaluable templates while also sparring and wrestling with its many athletes will help to build upon one’s attributes, conditioning and mental acuity. Though all the while one should never let the realities of actual violence slip them, think always about what you can do outside of the rules, refine your regulated self while enjoying the knowledge of the black market of violence.
The combat sports will offer far more than the religious beliefs of the protected martial arts, those that have robbed themselves of any actual truth or that shy away from facts. The less we discuss the tragedies of most martial arts and self-defence cults, the better. In short one needs to extract with honesty the best elements of those examples that they can observe being utilised in a living and contested environment. The fundamentals and form found within these sports are relevant and crucial, and the attributes derived there within are also important. It Is however unrealistic to expect an elderly frail bodied individual to endure the training regime of an elite boxer. This is precisely why one needs to utilise, extract and customise as best as they can what they KNOW to work through the examples of experienced combatants.
The trappings of easy and generalised training that appeals to all bodies and levels of fitness is most enduring, it is a sickly nectar that gains many but produces little in the way of effective truth. One must appreciate that they can perhaps someday face a far larger, stronger, numerically superior and more aggressive threat whose intentions are beyond reasonable. IN order to defeat this and to preserve oneself in those desperate moments one needs to train wise and hard, with purity of objectivity in mind. Training is not supposed to be easy nor is it meant to be something that you can pick up quickly. Someone who has never been around violence or who lacks the mind and coordination for such conduct is not expected to pick these complex skill sets up swiftly. One would be deluded in thinking otherwise or deceitful in promising so.
It is with honest focus and self-realisation that one needs to endure the conditioning and training required, looking at themselves as a unique individual who can benefit from the wisdom and experiences of those who are blooded in actual combat. Those who you can verify, not whose boasts and lies are geared to better their own ego or profits. You need to embrace the cold reality that it is a hard process and it is one that needs to be undertaken with regular discipline. One cannot achieve excellence in their training or even a near honest assumption that they can achieve self-preservation in the most violent of situations by pursuing a regime of bland and unchallenging (mental and physical) training.
Combat is physical, it is cerebral and it is emotional basically it is human. One needs to value this and appreciate it. Not every confrontation can be solved the same way nor can one assume that no matter how fair and righteous that they wished the world that in reality it will abide by this moral philosophy. For most fighting will not be a confrontation of honourable engagement it will be a sudden ambush one of instant terror. To prepare for this one needs to be willing to prepare honestly with harshness in mind while also taking their bodies to physically complicated situations by which they can navigate and retain a composure that seems almost unnatural given the realisation of such events. But most of all one must come to the peace of mind knowing that should they have to, they may take another’s life, they may maim or may be forced to endure physical and emotional taints that will be often everlasting. This is the price for survival. Despite our desires and best wishes to pretend to be civilised, humanity and its beings are primal animals. Our intelligence has only seen our base beast excel at murder, mayhem and calamity. You can delude yourself and shy away from this or you can turn the news on and see what your fellow humans do to one another, while also realising that it is through fortune alone that you are not suffering such crisis as opposed to any divine design.
Your own undertaking into this field can be as obsessive or as casual as you or your circumstances demand. Most of us are fortunate to live in a world void of personal obligation or where calamity is for others and not us to suffer, in this comfort and in this safety lurks a complacency. Just because it is less common and not as widely reported, it does not mean that threats nor violence does not lurk. Riding statistics is a net of luxury, until one falls through it and becomes the exception. And while many wish to defy the enormous odds so that they may win a Lotto, many of the same individuals forsake the potential that they may suffer more likely odds and face horrible violence. If you prize your body and those you love and care for, it does not take much to invest in one’s own training and practice. How you go about it is for you and you alone to decide, unfortunately it is a slender market place as far as factual options go and snake oil merchants abound. One can only be honest with themselves and look beyond claims of empty deceit and instead look to the uncomfortable examples of empiracy and hear those voices that are experienced. Often they do not give simplistic answers nor do they promise satisfaction, instead they often lead you down a path of more questions and eternal discovery. Train smart and be safe. It is your life, so value it.