Most people get this wrong. Completely backwards most of the time. Are you one of them?
Mindset > skills > equipment
It’s fun to read rifle reviews and IDPA drills and forum-debate which Glock is better. That’s why we do it so much.
It’s boring to put in repetition after repetition to hone your mag changes. It’s annoying to do footwork dills over and over again.
And it downright SUCKS to do something you really don’t want to do. It’s way easier to take the excuse your brain will provide you as a way out.
That’s why I think everyone interested in safety and self defense should read the StickGrappler article below.
Why does mindset training work? I suspect it has to do with the fight or flight response. The full set of responses is actually fight, flight, posture, submit, freeze. So when you walk up to the swimming pool you know will be freezing cold, your monkey brain provides a reason why you shouldn’t jump in. Maybe you want to keep the electricity bill low, so you shouldn’t make yourself too cold. And if you accept that and walk away, then you just practiced the submit response. And if you stood there for a long time while arguing with yourself, was that practicing the freeze response too?
So read the StickGrappler article below. It didn’t so much change my worldview as it kicked me in the head and shook up my reality. Or maybe it slapped me in the face and called me names… Whatever it did you should read it and think about it slowly and often.
My friend Xen Nova is training to be a MMA fighter. He was asked: “When did you know you were ready to fight?”
Below is his article-length reply lol.
This is entirely based on your psychology and what you need to do to prepare yourself.
You say you’re former SpecOps, did you see any action? Have you been in very high stress situations before? Most people haven’t so the jitters are very new to them. If you’re familiar with it then you know what to expect and how to prepare.
The thing is there is always a moment where you DON”T WANT TO BE THERE… Where you wonder “What the f@ck am I doing!”, but that is the point that decides whether you’re a man or a b!tch and it’s hard to replicate this in the gym.
If you bust your nose the sparring stops you call a “chill-dog” rule, go clean up, and you’re fine. But in a fight, you’re going to get hit pretty f@cking hard and you NEED to know if you can just mentally carry yourself through that.
Which is why I like GhorigTheBeefy’s idea (it has merit) except I would just go full MMA rules but maybe with some headgear or something.
Prepare yourself beyond a shadow of a doubt and you’ll have the jitters before your fight but you’ll have the confidence to know that there is NOTHING more you could do to be anymore prepared.
Use your fear, let it motivate you, let it sharpen your instincts, let it pass through you… but do not let it paralyze you. Fear is the Mind Killer (if you know that quote we can be best friends lol).
Honestly the physical sh!t is easy as f@ck. I never understood why people make that big deal. You wake up, you run, you do your sprints, you lift, you hit the pads blah blah. All you really have to do is show up. Your mental strength is where the true battleground is.
If you have any physical talents whatsoever its easy to get this realm of existence in your favor.
If you ever wrestled though you know that through hard training you can forge the mindset to push and persevere through pain, agony, and that “oh sh!t” feeling.
So train yourself hard… die a little every time you train (as Fedor put it)… don’t be stupid and injure yourself but unless you can set up some kind of smoker fight for yourself you need to face that “little death”.
The little death is that moment where you want to quit, where you don’t want to do one more rep, where one more sprint down the track is going to break you, that time where you’re jumping rope and you’re tired so you break for a second. No. No.
Never pause, never quit. Go HARDER. Every time you train you need to a find a point where you can look into that abyss. The abysmal void that appears as if it will consume you. Find that place where you give up. But don’t give into it, and push through.
Eventually it will be farther and farther, and you will have approached it so many times that it will be familiar company and no longer scary. Rather you spit in it’s face and say…”I RULE YOU!” trample over it and continue on your path.
The Greek’s called this spirit Dynamis, the Thai’s call it Kanong Seuk (I believe). The closest thing we have to a translation in English is “The Will To Fight“.
THIS is what makes you a warrior. A fighter. And not just an athlete. The ability to walk through the fire. I know plenty of people that can “fight” they’re f@cking Jedi in the gym. They can learn any technique and spar great. But you put the fire on, turn up the heat and watch them melt. A fighter is the one who simply burns away his impurities and gets harder. You can see it in certain beginners when you really lay a hard hit on them, the one that gets almost angry and toughens his resolve has ‘it’. Unfortunately, it’s not something you can really teach. But IMO it’s not an “either you have it or you don’t” type thing. We all just need to find our own personal/individual reason why you put yourself in combat situations. Search your soul. I don’t mean the “to test myself” sh!t. Dig deeper, everyone feels the “to test myself” sh!t.
Dan Gable said that before every match when he went 100-0 he pretended that he was facing the guy that murdered his sister in his family’s home.
My coach said that because he lost his mother at a young age he was always scared of death, this is his way of facing it and overcoming someone with (near) murderous intentions.
Fedor said that he remembers being poor (and we’re talking Russian poor here – that’s a whole ‘nother level) with nothing to eat and he invokes the thought that his opponent is trying to put him back into that previous state of being.
Hell this is why I’m a big Nick Diaz fan… tough life, lost his first love (passed away). And you see it come out when he fights. He’ll take a beating like he did from Gomi but have the tenacity to sub him after getting his face broken (literally).
This is why fighters from “tough backgrounds” seem to have an edge. It’s a mental edge forged by difficulty. And overcoming difficulty is the ONLY way to forge it and give you something to latch onto.
Search your soul and find that ‘thing’, that reason to fight and NO ONE can stop you. IMO THIS is the secret (that’s not really secret) that separates the ‘competitor’ from the Legend.
Some quotes to motivate you that reflect the principle(s) we’re discussing:
“I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.”
~Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear from Frank Herbert’s Dune
“Each warrior wants to leave the mark of his will, his signature on the important act he touches. This isn’t the voice of ego, but of the human spirit, rising up and declaring that it has something to contribute.
In every contest, there comes a moment that seperates the winning from losing. The true warrior understands & seizes that moment by giving an effort so intense & so intutitive that it could only be called one from the heart.”
“Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them: A desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have last-minute stamina, they have to be a little faster, they have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.”
“The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses, behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.”
“The coward and the hero, they feel the same, it is what they do that makes them different. The hero, he feels just as scared as the coward; it is just that the coward, he runs, while the hero, he feels the same, but has the courage and discipline to do what has to be done.”