Sunday, August 28, 2005

The Psychology of Fighting, Part II

I previously discussed the chaotic nature of a fight. Chaos implies uncertainty, and if we are interested in developing our fighting prowess, we must learn to embrace uncertainty. Much of what we do is based on conditioning and expectations. Our existence, our survival is not contingent upon the past or our concept of the future. Present moment awareness means disregarding old negative habits that limit us, while at the same time allowing future events to unfold naturally. We can learn form our past mistakes, but we shouldn't let them rule us. If I'm hindered by what happened yesterday, and worried about what my opponent might do to me in five seconds, I can't possibly be in a fight that is happening right now.

These concepts may sound vague at first, but it must be understood that the mind is the seat of everything we do. When we train, especially over a period of time, we are relegating our techniques to the unconscious. Ordinary thinking generally gets in the way of a good fight. The more self-conscious ego is invoked in combat, the less we can employ kokoro - a true fighting spirit. This is why training and repetition is imperative. Knowing how to do something and actually being able to it are not the same thing. Embrace uncertainty and forget yesterday's mishaps. Expect the unexpected. Zanshin is about what's happening now.

My next entry will discuss a specific technique we can use that greatly enhances present moment awareness.

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