Let’s take a look at this from a purely human psychological point of view. Why, you may ask, should we do that? Because the physical can only take you so far in the ring which at that point you must rely on the mental.
Remember back to the good ol’ days when school yard fights were the testing grounds for our physical attributes and prowess. One kid started picking on another until he lost his cool and then it was on. All the kids swarmed the fighters just in time to see one pin the other to the ground and punch him in the nose a couple of times. And the school Bully was born. From that day forward he would project his will on everyone in the yard, on the bus, and in his neighborhood, if he could get away with it. Where do you think these people ended up? Most of them are in jail for beating their wives, girlfriends, or worse and I think the rest can be watched on UFC. Don’t get me wrong here. Not all UFC fighters are woman beaters, but if you looked into all of their pasts, I think that you would be surprised at the results.
I see guys like Randy Couture, who exemplify the warrior code, and I also see people like Rampage Jackson who personify the school yard Bully, untrained, unrefined, uneducated, and uncontrollable. I mean, that guy is doing nothing but embarrassing himself on TV every week (Shout out to Rashad …Don’t play his childish games and lower yourself to that level. You are better than that. You prove your point every time your fighters get in the Octagon. I got nothing but respects for you so don’t make me change my mind).
Next: I don’t understand why these men that train for the Octagon don’t return to their roots in the Martial Arts. Is it because they have been shunned by that community for their behavior? Just something to think about. My personal belief is that they just can’t grasp the concept of self control, and their Instructors saw this early on, therefore halting their progression before they became responsible for creating a monster. I could not forgive myself if I knowingly poured knowledge into a student that lacked the self control to wield it responsibly. And this is the reason I have yet to pass my full knowledge of the Arts to a student. In a day where Black Belts are handed out like candy on Halloween I hope you can understand my frustration in this matter. Just take a good look around you. There is a perfect example of what I’m talking about in Reggie Warren. Nuf said.
There was a reason that the Oriental community did not want the knowledge of the Masters handed down to the round eyes. They instinctively knew that Americans commercialize everything they touch. We do, and we did. What most don’t understand is that the Martial Arts is part of a culture, a way of life where natural selection determines who is trained, NOT the size of your wallet. It is a lifelong pursuit NOT a weekend hobby. I started training when I was 8 years old and it has been a constant learning experience ever since. You eventually reach a point in your training where there is nothing left to be taught by the Master. From that day forward you progress in rank not by what the Art has given to you, but rather what you give back to the Art. Most people just can’t get their head around this concept, and this is at the heart of what I’m trying to convey to you. Please remember that a Black Belt in any Martial Science is the beginning of your journey, NOT a badge of Mastery. It signifies to the Master that you are a dedicated beginner and nothing more.
I think it is important that the general public realized that these men are fighters NOT Warriors. Most of what I see in the Octagon is simply street brawling and the few times that I do recognize true technique it always serves the practitioner well as victory is not always awarded to the biggest, or even the quickest fighter. We have seen many deserving fighters loose to flawless technique in the last minutes when they apparently had the fight won on points. I will do my best to comment on these issues as well as point out obvious flaws in fighters’ strategy and techniques.
The first thing I want to see is some of these lard asses get out and run. How do they expect to last 3 five minute rounds when they don’t have any stamina at all. If these were my men to train, the first thing I would be trying to accomplish is getting them up to 5 miles per day in road work. First, start them off with 2 ½ in the morning and 2 ½ in the evening. Then work them up in ½ mile increments until they are running 10 miles without breaking a sweat. That is good start. The rest should already be there. I have been practicing and fighting in competition for 32 years. I don’t need to work on punching, kicking, and technique. It is second nature to me. I would be running to prepare my body for the event. Don’t get me wrong, I would be slowly working through kata, but only to center my focus on the task at hand. The majority of my time would be running and studying my opponents’ flaws, habits, and weaknesses in technique again and again until I knew him better than he knows himself. I am not saying that a good street fighter can win against a Martial Artist, nor am I say the opposite is true. I am saying that the one who is better prepared in every way will always be the victor, PERIOD, no exceptions.
I have to say that most of the Martial Artists out there today are ridiculously undertrained in the mental philosophies that are a vital concept to completing proper basics within the Arts. Remember that a black belt only means that you are a serious beginner, NOT an expert by any means. In fact I dare say that almost none that I have met in the past 20 years were ever exposed to this vital part of the Arts. If your training did not include the mental disciplines then you only have a quarter of what is required by true masters in order to further your training on an advanced level. I have had so called “black belts” get in the ring with me and honestly I have to say they never stood a chance from the moment they stepped into the ring. The mental state that they carry with themselves at all times is a hindrance to them and often lures them into a false sense of security and over confidence...
Over the next few weeks we will take a closer look at what makes a fighter and what makes a warrior. There is a HUGE difference between the two….
BTW, I will put any of what I say to the test at anytime. I compete at 170 - 180 lbs. All you have to do is ask.