Coward?

J4M13 UK

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i have been training in muay thai for nearly two years now but still when i am full head sparring i still flinch away when i see the punches coming at me and cover up, the worst thing is i know i am doing this and i feel like poeple think i am a coward for doing it.

i have been hit multiple times and know it doesnt hurt that much when sparring with 16oz gloves but i dont know how to overcome this kind of fear.

any suggestions?
 

Bruno@MT

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I don't spar full contact. Never did, never will.
However, it seems to me that it would be stupid to train yourself to allow you to get hit in the head. If you ever fight without gloves (street) or with light gloves, then you will react like you conditioned yourself to do, which is to let it connect.

16 oz gloves or not, the appropriate reflex imo is to try and prevent yourself from getting hit. If it happens, it happens. C'est la vie. But you should not conciously let it happen.

Just my 2 ct.
 

Flea

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I don't think it's cowardice at all. The body is hard-wired to do exactly that, and it's consistent with every species. Even single-celled organisms will flinch if you give them an unpleasant stimulus.

I couldn't tell you how to move beyond that initial response. In my own form we practice everything in super-duper slow motion so we can see the flow as clearly as possible - maybe that would help. Ultimatley I'd just suggest that you ask your teacher for guidance. Best of luck.
 
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MJS

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i have been training in muay thai for nearly two years now but still when i am full head sparring i still flinch away when i see the punches coming at me and cover up, the worst thing is i know i am doing this and i feel like poeple think i am a coward for doing it.

i have been hit multiple times and know it doesnt hurt that much when sparring with 16oz gloves but i dont know how to overcome this kind of fear.

any suggestions?

The flinch response is normal in everyone, however, with time, you could train yourself to not do it as much. I would start off slow, gradually building up. Start with no movement, you and your partner squared off, with him throwing random shots at your head and body, and you working on your defense. From there, I'd work up to a quarter speed pace, adding in some light movement. Gradually increase speed and movement.

Keep in mind, that this probably isn't a process thats going to happen overnight. Take your time. I don't know how often you train, but lets say you train 2-3 times a week. Every session, do this drill. Stay with the no movement for say a few weeks. If you feel comfortable, then move to the next drill.

You could still get into the ring and spar, but again, it may be good to slow the pace down a bit until you get over this.
 

celtic_crippler

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You're not a coward. It's a natural response to try and protect yourself.

I would suggest trying to train the response to be more productive. Without actually "seeing" exactly what you're doing it's kinda' hard to offer specific advice. But let's say you're covering your head and face completely as a knee-jerk reaction...try training that reaction into a more effective block that allows you to maintain sight of your opponent. Perhaps even develop it into a method of counter-punching to gain an advantage.

Your instructor should be your immediate resource to develop these responses and strategies. Have you talked to him/her about it and asked for advice?
 
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J4M13 UK

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Thank you everyone for the responce, i will look at doing some slower drills to start with.

ive not really brought it up with the instructer, i just thought id see if there is anything you guys advise.
 

Bill Mattocks

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Flinching is not only a normal response, it's a healthy one (in our core genetics and history).

What MA tries to do, among other things, is to redirect that response.

Bruce Lee talked a lot about the 'fast twitch' response. That's the 'flinch' response.

http://www.flinchresponse.com/

The flinch response can be trained and redirected - flinchers can become devastatingly fast, faster than most other humans.

The idea is that over time, you will stop 'flinching' and start reacting in MA ways to threats you perceive. That's why it is often a bad idea to sneak up behind a trained MA'ist and startle them. They're likely to deck you - without thinking, and before they can even stop themselves. But it is speed like this that can save your life.

Be glad you're a flincher. Learn to put it to work for you. You're a lucky person.
 

ap Oweyn

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Cowardice is an intellectual reaction. Flinching is an instinctual one. As other people have said, it's not only natural, but adaptive. The trick is to shape it a bit. My solution was to concentrate on flinching forward, the way boxers essentially do when they slip. The head passes the threat on a 45-degree angle so as not to get hit. But the act of closing in on a threat rather than moving away from it doesn't come naturally.

I used to spar this guy who competed in Tough Man (amateur boxing) events. He was also a student at the FBI Academy. I'm 6'1" and about 220 lbs. So I'm no shrimp. But this guy made me look like Danny DeVito. His jab range was my side kick range. So staying outside was a bad idea. I literally concentrated on trying to put my forehead on his chest. He hated taking uppercuts and hooks. And that was really the only safe place for me to be.

Having some concrete objective in mind for my flinch response helped greatly. I think the flinch comes from the stimulus (obviously) but also from the lack of any clear sense of appropriate response. So if you sorta plug an appropriate response in there at first, it will later become more instinctual.

YMMV as always.


Stuart
 

shihansmurf

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Flinching away from getting hit in the face is an autonomic response. Now you can train yourself from doing so but there isn't much real benifit in doing so, to be honest. Protecting your grey matter is super vital, as an individual dealing with a traumatic brain injury I can testify, and is is alway a better idea to fight smarter than tougher.

I would suggest working that natural flinch reflex response that you have into a lead in to a counter attack. Krav Maga's choke escape strategy builds around reacting off of the inate reaction to grab at your throat when choking as a response to haveing your neck grabbed, and Tony Blaur's SPEAR system makes great use of the throwing the hands up to shield the face reaction to build defensife tactics. Look at those as examples as ways to create counters.

Hopefully, other members with a lot more experience in KM and SPEAR can chime in and explain with greater clairity what I'm trying to get at, the point is though flinching from a punch is normal and you're probably not going to traing the response out of yourself. Id' say it isn't a smart thing to train out from a long term brain health perspective, and given that, its a good idea to adapt this facet of your fighting habbits into a strength.

Mark
 

jeff5

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I would definitely bring it up with your instructor, that's your best route. I won't say anything else with regards to cowardice, everyone here has said what needs to be said, but suffice to say you train MT and spar hard, that in and of itself says it all.

Here's some of my experience on the subject of flinching and getting.

I have a line that's hard for me to defend, and I found myself flinching a lot when I knew that blow as coming. On following the advice of my instructor, I started to not focus on defending it so much as hitting the person when I felt it coming. Helped me a ton.

So instead of reacting as a block or parry when I feel a hit coming, I just hit the guy instead. Offense being the best defense. If someone told me "just stand there and block" I'd get beat up. If on the other hand it was "you can hit back", I do quite well. Just some of my experiences.
 

still learning

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i have been training in muay thai for nearly two years now but still when i am full head sparring i still flinch away when i see the punches coming at me and cover up, the worst thing is i know i am doing this and i feel like poeple think i am a coward for doing it.

i have been hit multiple times and know it doesnt hurt that much when sparring with 16oz gloves but i dont know how to overcome this kind of fear.

any suggestions?

Hello, It is NOT a coward reaction...it is intincts...many of us wish we could see the punch coming...instead ..end up getting hit in the head...avoidance is always better here...

Each person will react differently...and you can train yourself to be more aggressive when you see a punch coming...

One day you will find...the person hitting or throwing the punch will be more frustrated..because you always covering up...

Aloha, ...this one hates to be hit too!!!
 

Flying Crane

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clearly the contact makes you uncomfortable. And yet, you keep coming back to do it over and over.

Cowardice?
 

searcher

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I fight full contact and have for years. Covering up is much better then getting your brain scrambled. Covering up is just plain smart. When you don't cover up it leads to bad habits and those bad habits lead to getting knocked out.
 

BLACK LION

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I joined in a class like this against my better judgement. They wanted me to stand there and take hits and not move... supossedly it conditions me to take a beating... SORRY... not happening... and fool can stand around and get whacked up and down..I prefer to be moving and doing the whacking myself.

You are not a coward...you are not alone.
 

suicide

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like 8 or 9 years ago i remember there was this guy that was in my class a lil short mexican : moved like a butterfly stung like a bee man this guy was fast id punch him in the face he織d go off to the side and punch me in the face twice - id right roundhouse kick em to the head he織d turn around and back spinning kick me , so when sparring him i would have to fight him MINDLESS cause if i thought about it to much its like he would read my mind yeah i would connect but there was always repracutions and most of the time i was on thee attack he was just being defensive and when he would come at me believe me i would flinch also...

so my advice to you : make him ( opponent ) flinch.

%-}
 
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J4M13 UK

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id just like to say again thanks everyone for the replies, they are very helpfull and i am taking note of what you are all saying,

thanks again
 

sgtmac_46

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I don't spar full contact. Never did, never will.
However, it seems to me that it would be stupid to train yourself to allow you to get hit in the head. If you ever fight without gloves (street) or with light gloves, then you will react like you conditioned yourself to do, which is to let it connect.

16 oz gloves or not, the appropriate reflex imo is to try and prevent yourself from getting hit. If it happens, it happens. C'est la vie. But you should not conciously let it happen.

Just my 2 ct.
Not quite what he's talking about. If you think you can avoid EVERY punch that's a mistake......and like Mike Tyson said 'Everyone has a plan, until they get punched in the face'.

Bottom line......if someone can't survive, psychologically, getting punched in the face, they are behind the curve......it's not a matter of LETTING it happen, it's a matter of dealing with it when it does inevitably happen.
 

sgtmac_46

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i have been training in muay thai for nearly two years now but still when i am full head sparring i still flinch away when i see the punches coming at me and cover up, the worst thing is i know i am doing this and i feel like poeple think i am a coward for doing it.

i have been hit multiple times and know it doesnt hurt that much when sparring with 16oz gloves but i dont know how to overcome this kind of fear.

any suggestions?
You're confronting it, so it's not 'cowardice'......but as everyone has rightly pointed out, it's about reprogramming your response and conditioning your mind in how to deal with the situation.
 

sgtmac_46

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I joined in a class like this against my better judgement. They wanted me to stand there and take hits and not move... supossedly it conditions me to take a beating... SORRY... not happening... and fool can stand around and get whacked up and down..I prefer to be moving and doing the whacking myself.

You are not a coward...you are not alone.
That's not really the point......you'll find that those who are such conditioned don't take a beating quite so easily.

Being able to TAKE a punch provides more opportunity to GIVE them.....the problem with the idea that you'll ALWAYS be the giver, and never receive is.....REALITY!
 
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