Motivation to train varies by student. Some need to vent their aggression. Some want to exercise. Others are attracted to the competition. A police officer trains to protect themselves from the violence exposed by their profession. A street fighter may be driven by emotional issues or adrenaline. When I meet a new student I try to understand their underlying motivation. Are they training to get into shape? Do they want to better defend themselves or fair well in a bar-room brawl? Sometimes it’s not a clear-cut division.
Fighting is fundamentally a combination of violence, sport, and art:
- A competitive fighter will focus on the sports-aspect, wanting to learn skills so they can win in a competition.
- A violent fighter’s goal is to hurt their opponent.
- A martial arts practitioner wants an outcome where they will not get hurt, and even try to settle the altercation without severely hurting their opponent.
In a combat situation, understanding an opponent’s motivation is important. A street fighter facing a martial artist is a conflict of diverging motivations: The martial artist wants to leave the conflict causing minimum harm while the street fighter wants to inflict maximum harm.
Violence is a mixed bag of anger, fear, and heightened emotion.
Martial Arts concentrate on skill, composure, and technique.
Students who are motivated by self-defense typically won’t stick with training for long. They find themselves leaving after a short time, once they’ve learned enough self-defense to satisfy their minimum requirements. Most violent confrontations are the result of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Practitioners of Krav Maga such as police officers, bouncers, or bodyguards – are often situated in the wrong place and the wrong time. A majority of society will not see such violence if they avoid locations where violence occurs. In other words, training for an altercation that is unlikely to occur in one’s lifetime is not a reasonable objective. Spending years training for a chance encounter is not a good balance of one’s personal investment against personal risk.
About the Author
Gabriel Dusil has been a practitioner of Martial Arts for over twenty years. Originally he trained in the traditional style of Shotokan Karate. Gabriel has also trained under Sensei Martin “Sonic” Langley in the United Kingdom and currently trains with Karel Ferus in Prague at the Ferus Fitness Fight Club, fffc.cz. More recently he focuses on circuit training, strength & conditioning, and kickboxing.
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Martial Arts • Fighting Science Series
If you would like to read more articles in this “Yin Yang of Fighting Science” series, check out these posts:
• 1 • Yin Yang of Technique vs. Power
• 2 • Yin Yang of Speed vs. Timing
• 3 • Yin Yang of Fighting Styles
• 4 • Yin Yang of Technique vs. Instinct
• 5 • Yin Yang of Empty vs. Full Cups
• 6 • Yin Yang of Slow vs. Fast
• 7 • Yin Yang of Perception vs. Reality
• 8 • Yin Yang of Fear vs. Confidence
• 9 • Yin Yang of Threes
• 10 • Yin Yang of Burden vs. Privilege
• 11 • Yin Yang of Anticipation vs. Surprise
• 12 • Yin Yang of Compliance vs. Resistance
• 13 • Yin Yang of Attacking vs. Defending
• 14 • Yin Yang of Fighting 360°