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1kickKO
Brown Belt
Brown Belt

Joined: 22 Jan 2005
Posts: 703


PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:45 pm    Post subject: Tournament Fighting: 99% Mental, 1% Physical Reply with quote

Why is it so Hard?

To break down tournament fighting, you must first break down your mental composure. Let's say you are taking your first big leap into tournament fighting, or perhaps, you are just extending your leap in tournament fighting. As the title says, fighting is 99% mental and 1% physical. What does this mean? Let's put it into a scenario. You walk into the doors of a gym or school ready to compete. You sign up for kumite and begin stretching. Your division is called to line up around the ring. As you continue to stretch by the ring, you see 3 or more guys, much bigger, taller and more muscular than yourself also stretching and preparing to fight. They are also of a higher rank than yourself.

What is your first thought going to be? "Hey, the bigger they are, the harder they fall." Well, if you're like most humans, it's probably not. You're going to be worried about their size, worried about how much experience they have, worried about their rank. It's only natural to let thoughts take over and disable your brain. What will happen to you in the ring if you have no mental composure? What will happen if you cannot think, and you cringe at the thought of fighting one of these steroid popping monsters. How am I able to defeat them, you ask?

Getting Over the Stress

As I said before, itís all mental. There are many ways to relieve yourself of this mental stress. One way is meditation. Yes, I said it: meditation. Garbage, you think? Of course not. It has been scientifically proven that meditating (if done right, e.g. breathe in your nose and out your mouth) causes a relaxation of the muscles and mind. If you're not up for going totally guru before a fight, another way is to sit down and evaluate things. Look at everything positively, "They are a higher rank, but does it necessarily mean they are a better fighter?", "They may be huge and muscle bound, but I might be faster than this opponent.", etc. Look at every aspect of your opponent. Another way is to go up and introduce yourself, shake their hand and wish them good luck. Get to know them a bit before your match. You might find out that they are some of the best people you will ever get the chance to meet.

Watching Your Opponent Prepare

A well kept plan is to always be ready. It goes without saying that to win anything, it is always best to be prepared. With that said, watch your opponent warm up. Watch him stretch. Look at his uniform. Watch him do his techniques. What will this tell you? Watching him warm up shows just how much stamina he has. Is he breathing heavily after just a few pushups or whatever he's doing? Or does he seem to be just fine and dandy? Watching him stretch will give you an idea of how flexible he is and what to watch out for. If he can do the splits, he more than likely has great high kicks and you should be careful not to get hit in the head. If he stretches his arms more than his legs, he might be more of a puncher, so be careful about his arms and hands. Looking at his/her uniform can tell you what style they practice. If you see a v-neck one piece top, this might indicate that they are TKD (Tae Kwon Do) and are good with their feet. Are they wearing a nice dressed uniform with buttons, kind of baggy and a sash instead of a belt? This might indicate that they practice some sort of kung fu and are very fast and very flexible, etc.

Now, about watching his/her techniques. Many karateka's don't do their techniques in front of others, as to not show their opponents what they're capable of. But some make the mistake of doing their techniques out in the open - this can be used to your advantage. An opponent will always tell you three times what they're going to do. What does that mean? The next time you are at your dojo, ask a friend to perform a simple roundhouse kick three times. Watch body language. Look at their facial expression (does it not tighten up?), look at their hands (do they drop or fly out?), look at their hips (do they chamber and prepare for the kick?), look at their feet (do they first set up for the type of kick going to be performed?), look at everything possible for signs of a roundhouse kick. Now watch him do the kick 2 more times, notice anything? Those reactions you saw, are his body's natural way for preparing for that kick and are consistent! That means, once you see these, apply them to when you are fighting and watch for these signs as you fight. If you see these signs, you might know a roundhouse kick is coming and you can perform a block and counter.

Body Language

Now, you may not think it, but body language is extremely important. Your body language that is. What would you think if you saw somebody about to fight, and they were fidgeting their fingers, sweating, looking around nervously and moving constantly? You would think they were nervous wouldn't you? Would you use this to your advantage? Well, I sure hope you would, because this should give you some idea to what your opponent is thinking. Now about you, what if you were that person and somebody saw you like that, do think they'd think easier of you while fighting? Of course! This is where it's important. Before any match, look cool, calm and collected. Put on a "poker face". The main point in a tournament is to have fun, let it show, have fun before your match and stay loose and relax. If your opponent sees this, what will he think? "Hmm... he looks pretty confident, this might be a tough match.Ē Of course, it's basic human instinct to go by what they see, so next time you're about to begin a match, look around for body language, and use it to your advantage.

Mechanics of a Fight

1 rule of thumb while fighting, is when your opponent throws a punch or a kick, or any technique for that matter, it has to come back to him sometime doesn't it? This allows an opening. As his punch/kick, etc. retreats back to his body, why not simply follow it back? I mean, how can he block that? If he blocks with his other hand, both of his hands are tied up, right? You've still got 1 hand free and 2 legs. Another rule of thumb, is when you get bombarded by somebody with an array of attacks, all you simply need to do is to step off to the side, that's right, their back side. Why back? Because if you step off to their back side while they're coming full force at you in a line, you've allowed them to completely walk past you, making their back an easy scoring target and to get you they would have to turn a full 180 degrees. This is to your advantage. If you do get hit in a match, say "thank you" because your opponent has now shown you a weak link in your defense, that shows you what you need work on. You can now effectively block yourself here realizing you do have a hole open and it needs covered.

Golden Rules of Competition

1. Be respectful. Nobody likes a disrespectful person and you won't make it on a judgeís good side if you arenít.

2. Be fair. Do you like it if somebody cheats? Didn't think so, nor would they like it if you did.

3. And last but not least, HAVE FUN! That's right, competition is competition, no matter what, the soul purpose of it is to test your skills and have a good time. so win or lose, if at the end you tried your hardest, it's all worth it in the end.

Good luck and have fun in training.
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Patrick
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Joined: 01 May 2001
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for the submission.
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Menjo
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Joined: 27 Jun 2005
Posts: 1786
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2006 8:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That was a great article. What needed to be said was said, and some more, so nice job on this one!
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2ndBBLittle
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Joined: 18 Jan 2006
Posts: 13
Location: Memphis, TN
Styles: American Shotokan

PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2006 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree, but disagree. I think that fighting or kumite is mostly mental. But I believe that a lot of it is physical. I mean sure, look at fighters such as Marty Eubanks, Brian Ruth, Gene Peck, E.J. Greer. Ok, so some of you don't know these fighters because they are involved in NASKA and RSKC. But anyways, they are very mentally smart fighters. They don't have to move around a whole lot or anything and they just counter bad moves thrown by their competitors. But, for people that aren't greatly trained in countering and timing; I believe that fighting is a lot more physical for them. If you go to a tournament and you watch black belts fight, you will see how it progresses in age. I believe that as an 18-29 yr. old, it is almost equal in physical and mental skill. I think that moving around will get you tired, so in a fast paced competitive division you need to be in shape. Without the physical training and the karate training that you do, you wouldn't be able to win anything. You'd be too tired to even handle most of those guys. In the 30-39 yr. old division, they are still moderately fast, but rely more on skill now. I have seen my dad win many tournaments within this division. And although he is fast, he doesn't rely on that near as much as countering and breaking an opponent's rhythm to be able to score. So, it's more mental than physical. If you look at 40-49 or 50-older divisions, they normally aren't very physically tired because everything they do is thought out. I mean yes, reactions come in.. but it's like a chess game with them.

I might only be 18 yrs. old and some see me as not knowing a lot. But growing up in a dojo from age 5-18. I have seen and known many great competitors and watched and studied how they fight. So, based off of who and what I know.. this is my suggestion. Fighting is technically more of a mental fight than a physical fight. I believe that if you aren't trained well enough and don't have great endurance.. that a decent fighter could still beat you, just because of his endurance. I think that if you go into a fight no matter who or what you are up against thinking that it is your ring, then you can win. Don't underestimate people, that is the worst thing to do. Go into the fight determined to win and respecting the other person's skill. As a fighter in the RSKC and NASKA, I am often friends with my competitors. But when it comes down to it, it doesn't matter who they are when we're fighting.

Anyways, I don't know if this helps.. I just don't think that it is 99% mental.
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Jay
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Joined: 20 May 2005
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2006 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

yes that was a great article i disagree with the title if you dont have the stamina to last in a tournament then youve has it. Reaction speed is to do more physical than mental you may tell your self to move but the speed at which your body moves is limited to your muscle memory. It is also to do with if you get hit how much your body can take you maybe able to take the pain mentally but if you body fails them theres nothing you can do. its like a car with out a wheel it may have its ECU (engine control unit) basically the brain of the car but with out the wheel its not going anywhere. Im 16 and although similar to 2ndBBLittle i belive that age doesnt matter as its just a number. Remember the rumble in the jungle muhammed ali waited for George Foreman to get tired and he lost because he didnt have the stamina. Muhammed one because he had the mental so its a combination of both.
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2ndBBLittle
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Joined: 18 Jan 2006
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Location: Memphis, TN
Styles: American Shotokan

PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2006 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah I agree. But, I was simply saying that when people get older, they don't rely on quickness. It's more of a mental game. They normally are slower, but better at countering and everything. Remember, I am talking about Black Belts, not underbelts. They aren't skilled enough to go by what I am saying.
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shogeri
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Joined: 16 Jun 2005
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Styles: Instructor in Internal, External, Mixed Styles

PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2007 9:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would say that the percentage is representative of many combat situations as well.

Good article!
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marie curie
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Joined: 18 Oct 2005
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Styles: Ko Sutemi Seiei Kan Karate, Kajukenbo, Kodokan Judo, Gracie Barra Jiu-Jitsu, Olympic Tae Kwon Doe

PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2007 1:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm with Jay, I think the article is great, but the title is off.

I went to my first tourny in Judo after half a class (teachers desire, and it was only 15 bucks) and I was prepared to turtle and close my eyes, but I ended up beating everyone in my division... all of whom had at least 1 year of I was stronger than at the time.

Just my experience, but that's all I've got to share
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dete
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Styles: full contact Karate and grappling

PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2007 10:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

my last tournament I entered was a BJJ one.
I was interested to test out my theories because I had some mental strategies that did not come from BJJ.

I'm a counter fighter, I like the halfguard which is the lowest postition to fight from on the hierarchy.

I picked half guard even though it's the lowest it's also the most realistic. On a good opponent even hoping to get guard maybe a bit too much to ask for.

Anyway here is the mental part.
Water, Air, Fire
in this order is how I anticipated the combat.

we start & the guy aggressively charges at me,
I yield & get my half guard. He is attacking like crazy, going for headlocks, guillotine attempts, kimura, relentless.
At this point I imagine I was hurled into a stormy ocean, & I need to hang & survive, as expected many times I held my breathe. There is tides falling on you, it's only natural.

the storm begins to weaken, plus I'm getting use to it. So now I breathe air. feeling my opponent. trying to sense the air of what is going on as well.

And thanx to that, I sense the best time, and I'm also very determined, I explode, the fire in me counters him and submits him in an instant.

I felt that my technique & mind was able to cooperate under high stress,
so I was very happy, and I really thought that fighting is mostly mental.
If it's still in the physical part, technical things racing in your mind, then you need to practice your techniques more against this particular opponent. Cause all that should be automatic in order to make it a truly mental match.
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bushido_man96
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2007 2:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good article.

I think that most of the time, the physical preparedness is going to be there, especially if you are a serious competitor. Therefore, after achieving the physical training needed to survive the competitions, the mental training and conditioning is very important.
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