Quick Sand

I'm looking for a little help here and it's reverse to what you might have been expecting from the subject name. I need help being more aggressive. I've been studying TKD for about a year now and I did 2 years of Ju Jutsu when I was a bit younger.

My problem is that I don't like to hit people or things. I guess I'm scared of accidentally hurting them or myself. I have no problem taking hits and I usually tell people then can use more force with me, but I can't seem to bring myself to return it. Even working with heavy bags and stuff I tend to pull all my strikes.

I like sparring because I like trying to defend anything that gets thrown at me, but others don't like sparring with me because I don't like to hit back so they end up doing all that work. It's not fair to them. I've been trying to force myself recently but it's not really working very well.

There are times when I get really mad at something or I'm really stressed and I want to hit things but it never comes out in class. My instructor and other people have tried to "get me going" but I usually end up laughing for some reason. I just can't get passed it.

I know this might sound really stupid but I was wondering if anyone had any advice. :confused:
Hey There,

I'm a striker myself. I like the striking arts and I think that they're overall more practical. That's my temperment and I don't mind hitting. But I think that the art that you're in, TKD, may not be what you're actually looking for.

Have you considered taking up something that does more short range hitting like Wing Chun, where contact is worked in over a couple years, or something internal like Hsing I? It sounds to me like you actually need to find an art that fits your personality and not change your personality to fit the art. Perhaps something a little less point sparring oriented would be more "you".

You don't want to get in the habit of "taking hits". In a real life situation, you won't know whether that first hit contains a concealed knife or a steel toed boot. "Taking hits" is a habit you would like to avoid.

I also don't advocate "getting worked up" and being angry when you hit. If you're angry, your mind is not clear. If you're angry, then you make mistakes that you wouldn't have otherwise. Also if you hit things when you are mad then when you hit things you will become mad. That's bad practice both for your MA and for your psyche.

By the way, it would help some if you had more info about yourself on your profile. That way we could recommend close by schools and such. Anyway, those are my thoughts, good luck.
USUALLY, you don't want to pummel your sparring partner - thats just a general rule. Most people don't like it. Go figure. However, remember that a strike can be fast and firm and still not do damage to your partner. You don't have to hit your opponent very hard to score that point or to practice that technique. Its all about control.

If you want to be more aggressive, position yourself more aggressively. Get inside of your opponents "comfortable area". Once you're in there, your gonna have to do something. You should start to see openings unfold. You'll see some opponents back off, but others will attack or try to put you in a disadvantageous (if there is such a word) position. Be careful, you'll need to adapt to the situation.

Another point I thought I'd give is that maybe you're not ready for the type of sparring that you're getting into now. Different people move at different paces and that is perfectly normal. If you want to stay in TKD, maybe working something else (other than sparring) will help you get more seasoned in your techniques. There is something to taking a long time to develop skills. Anyway, just a thought.
It is definitly bad to pull punches on bags. That is what you are hitting a bag for. I don't know if striking is your cup of tea. Have you tried doing forms more. Or grappling? I think stuff like that is more of what you are looking for.
I don't know if you really want to be "more aggressive," and if you're instructor is trying to "make you more aggressive," you probably need to ask him or her to stop. If you're NOT an aggressive individual, that's actually a GOOD thing in the martial arts, because that means you're less likely to hurt your training partner. Also, the end goal of the martial arts, in my opinion, is to train you to act in such a way that you can defend yourself, stop your attacker, and end the fight by either escaping or incapacitating (read: stopping, not hurting) your attacker. That's the whole idea. Anything "aggressive" strikes me as a really odd way of doing martial arts... someone said earlier on this thread that being aggressive means your mind is not calm, and I think that person was dead on in his or her opinion. The point of a technique is to execute the technique with precision, efficiency, and energy, not aggression. Aggression means you're angry, and trying to use that energy to HURT someone. That's not good in the martial arts, ESPECIALLY in sparring.

Maybe a good question to ask is not "how do I become more aggressive," but "how do I become a better sparrer," or "how do I train myself to strike the target with power or become better at offensive techniques." To which I would respond the same way I would tell a kid learning how to play hockey or ice skate who is worried about falling. You just have to do it to get used to it. If you're in a striking art, you have to strike the target. It's that simple. And if you're going to hit someone in a fight, you'd better hit them hard and well, or they're going to keep coming after you. But you should never feel you have to be aggressive to fight. That's the worst thing in the world. Be willing to hit, sure, be willing to attack, sure, be ready to use force if you have to in order to protect yourself or those you love, sure... but never be willing to aggressively harm someone. It sounds like the mindset you might want to consider developing is not one of "let's rumble" or some Schwarzenegger-like "Bring it on, wimp" thing, but rather a willingness to hit a target hard and fast as necessary. The bag-work is good here. If you're afraid of getting hurt, that's one thing. You have to get over that, and that can be done by simply hitting the bag and such until you get used to it. If you're worried about sparring, be aware that you should spar at your level of comfort or that of your partner's if they're less comfortable. It's the lowest common denominator. The goal is to make contact, but not to hurt your partner. It's a dojo/dojang, after all, not a street fight.

Maybe this distinction will help you. I hope so. Don't be aggressive. Be willing to fight, but seek ways to avoid it if you can. Be willing to hit, but only if necessary. Be willing to make contact, but not to hurt your sparring partner, or your attacker, unless necessary. That's the distinction. Ask your instructor or those who are telling you to "get aggressive" to back off (politely, of course). But work at your own pace, and be comfortable with what you do. Be willing to tap your opponent in sparring, but don't go all out. That's the difference.

Hope this helps, Quicksand.