‘Mindset of a winner’ is equally applicable to MMA, boxing, kick boxing as it is to life, so even if you dont practise MMA give this a read.
Fighters or athletes of the highest calibre will always tell non athletes that what the former go through in a competitive stage is something that can not be explained. It has to be experienced and it has to be felt.
It was therefore a challenge for me to delve into that mental psyche of a fighter to give to give you an insight into the mindset of a successful warrior, a fighter, a boxer, a soldier or an athlete.
For the sake of thought, I have provided below a list of general rules for developing the fighter’s mindset, and those with military experience might find them familiar. These are by no means definitive but are merely a guide and most overlap in one way or another.
- DEFINE YOUR MENTAL TRIGGER
What will make you want to hurt someone? What about killing someone? A threat to your family? A threat to yourself? Foremost in developing mindset is the defining of your own personal mental trigger-a point in time where you commit yourself fully to the use of force with the intent to stop your opponent at any cost.
- CONTROL YOUR EMOTIONS
The mindset of the fighter must be controlled, collective, and calculating. Uncontrolled anger or fear will allow your opponent’s tools to be used against you, even chide you into activating your mental trigger. The choice to react with violent force must be your choice and not be induced due to heated passions. This may seem contradictory to responding to an attack, but it is not. In all conflicts or events preceding, the option to return violent action remains your choice.”Conflict is inevitable, Combat is an option”.
- KNOW YOUR STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES
A small 130 lb. should not try to fight the way a strong 220 lb. would. A fighter must assess his strengths and weaknesses from a mental and physical standpoint. A fighter must be intimately acquainted with himself, his art, how they work together and choose his arsenal wisely. As an example, I may not be able to use Bong Sao effectively due to a physical problem, but on the other hand, my Taun and Lop Sao are extremely powerful; thus, Bong Sao would be a weakness while the others are strengths.
- KNOW YOUR ENEMY’S STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES
A good fighter should be able to size up a combatant instantly and have a generalized idea on how that person will fight. This ability is developed through what I call Combat Perception, which is also known as perception learning, and is comprised of three areas:Situational Awareness, Environmental Awareness, & Visual and Auditory Cueing.
- FIGHT YOUR FIGHT, NOT YOUR ENEMY’S
What is the common denominator in regards to the losers in most UFC matches? They disregarded years of training in their particular art and tried to emulate their opponent. Here, we often see strikers try to grapple and vice versa. If you’re a Wing Chun fighter, use your style of Wing Chun! If you are a kickboxer then use your style of kickboxing. The compliment of this is to force your enemy to disregard his own training. To do this you must be truthful with yourself. You must also know and understand the strengths and weaknesses of your fighting style.
- DEVELOP YOUR OWN FIGHTING METHODOLOGY
In addition to Knowing Your Own Strengths and Weaknesses, this is supremely important for being a successful fighter. Every fighter must take the time (over years of training) to develop a fighting strategy that works for that individual. It must never be stagnant and the fighter must be willing to adapt and change for true combat is dynamic and not static.
- ADAPT TO YOUR ENVIRONMENT
Practicing in the gym is nice, but what happens if you try that lovely shifting strike on loose gravel on a hill or in six inches of snow? This is a part of the physical portion of Environmental Awareness, and the good fighter will have a fighting methodology or methodologies that adapt to any location.
- INTIMIDATE YOUR OPPONENT
A fight can be won without a strike thrown if the opponent is intimidated. A good fighter should be able to intimidate with his body, his presence, and his mind. You should be able to portray a presence that states,”You may get me but, You WILL be hurt just as bad or worse. How badly do you want to find out?”
- ACCEPT MURPHY’S LAW AND NEVER ASSUME
Even if you are the grandmaster of 20 different martial art styles, Murphy’s Law can beat you every time. Just as you throw that beautiful Wing Chun strike or that textbook perfect Muay Thai kick, you become entangled with something on the ground and you are now temporarily immobile. Your assumed quick win has suddenly become a fight for your life.
These rules are not complete or written in stone by any means. Mindset is a complex topic that requires mental evaluation and instruction by the student upon themselves and the ability to suspend environmental conditioning. Is it necessary to become proficient at any martial art? No, but it is necessary to be able to define for one’s self what will make you do what ever is necessary to survive a combat situation.
In the arena of teaching Combative Mindset, the teacher may be able to instruct you in the art of fighting, but only you can define what causal events will lead you to becoming combative. You cannot be forced to fight and no amount of learned knowledge will matter if you will not morally accept the consequences of such an action.
Therefore I leave you with these questions.
- WHAT IS YOUR MINDSET?
- WHAT WILL YOU FIGHT FOR?
- HOW COMMITTED ARE YOU TO THAT CAUSE AND WHY?