Cultivating the confidence, psyche and mindset of a fighter/warrior

Ivan

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I have been munching on this issue for a very long time now. As someone who loves martial arts of all sorts (excluding bullshido of course ;)) I am looking forward to competing for the first time. By competing, I mean fighting as well as forms, but I mostly fighting.

I have been involved in martial arts since I was young, on and off, and I remember my first time fighting as a 13 year old kid being winded by a punch to the solar plexus in the ring by a man in his late 20s, early 30s. I have always ended up boxing opponents larger than me, due to not having anyone my age at the boxing gym over the majority of the 5 or so years. However, regardless of how many punches I have eaten, and how trained my reflexes are against flinching, I always feel nervous to spar, and the thought of competing makes me even fear the thought, as much as I want to compete.

I feel as if I lack the confidence of a fighter, the feeling that regardless of what happens, I will always come out on top. I don't know how to gain that. And I also don't know why I don't have it. I lack severe confidence in the idea that I could come out on top in a competition, especially when I see how hard and fast people hit each other in MMA and Street Beefs. I have the idea that someday I might even try to compete professionally. But I know that regardless of my physical and martial preparation, doubt like this will cripple my chances before preparation has even begun. I wish to nip this in the bud before it becomes an actual problem. How can I do this? How do I gain more confidence in my abilities to compete, and perhaps even to fight, when I have never been given the chance to?
 

Flying Crane

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Honestly, I think a healthy dose of self-doubt is a good thing. Nothing is as abrasive and obnoxious as someone who is overconfident. Not to mention it can actually get you killed in the street. Caution due to Self-doubt can keep you safe.

Experience can build healthy self-confidence. Compete if you enjoy it. Dont fall into the trap of believing that you must compete, to validate your training. And dont get hung up on believing that you need to fulfill some definition of what it means to be a warrior In todays society.
 

jobo

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I have been munching on this issue for a very long time now. As someone who loves martial arts of all sorts (excluding bullshido of course ;)) I am looking forward to competing for the first time. By competing, I mean fighting as well as forms, but I mostly fighting.

I have been involved in martial arts since I was young, on and off, and I remember my first time fighting as a 13 year old kid being winded by a punch to the solar plexus in the ring by a man in his late 20s, early 30s. I have always ended up boxing opponents larger than me, due to not having anyone my age at the boxing gym over the majority of the 5 or so years. However, regardless of how many punches I have eaten, and how trained my reflexes are against flinching, I always feel nervous to spar, and the thought of competing makes me even fear the thought, as much as I want to compete.

I feel as if I lack the confidence of a fighter, the feeling that regardless of what happens, I will always come out on top. I don't know how to gain that. And I also don't know why I don't have it. I lack severe confidence in the idea that I could come out on top in a competition, especially when I see how hard and fast people hit each other in MMA and Street Beefs. I have the idea that someday I might even try to compete professionally. But I know that regardless of my physical and martial preparation, doubt like this will cripple my chances before preparation has even begun. I wish to nip this in the bud before it becomes an actual problem. How can I do this? How do I gain more confidence in my abilities to compete, and perhaps even to fight, when I have never been given the chance to?
??? you cant compete with out getting beat, as uts not ping pong, you cant get beat with out getribg hurt a bit,, if fact you probebly cant win with out a bit if pain

what are you scared of, getting beat or getting hurt, , if its the first, then you cant compete at anything, if its the second take up ping pong.

being nervous vefore any compiticion is p3rf3ftly natral, its being nervious whilst urs going on that the problem, block everything out and fovus on the moment, your trying to kill the guy, go to it, nb try not to actual kill him if you can, ,
 
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Headhunter

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End of the day only you can answer that. Anyone who says theyre not scared when they step in a ring is a liar. I dont care who you are or how tough you are everyone who steps into any form of competition is scared. As for getting hurt...its fighting **** happens. Theres no guarantees you leave the ring unscathed And unhurt. It is a risk and its a risk you have to accept when getting in there. If you feel like you cant compete without your fear overwhelming you then dont do it. Fightings to hard a sport to do without full mental focus. Its not for everyone. Theres no shame in it it doesnt make you weak or soft it just means its not your thing. Ive known some amazing practitioner who have amazing kicks and punches and hit hard and spar like world champs but they dont compete because they dont want to risk permanent injury and not be able to support their family. Fighting isnt for everyone. I dont mean that in a negative way it just isnt something everyone can do....for example I could never swim for hundreds of miles in the sea like some can...I could never throw myself out of a plane with a parachute. We all have our thing we can do and things we cant.
If you Want to do it then go for it good luck but make sure its what you want and make sure you are mentally ready before you get anywhere near the ring
 

dvcochran

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I have been munching on this issue for a very long time now. As someone who loves martial arts of all sorts (excluding bullshido of course ;)) I am looking forward to competing for the first time. By competing, I mean fighting as well as forms, but I mostly fighting.

I have been involved in martial arts since I was young, on and off, and I remember my first time fighting as a 13 year old kid being winded by a punch to the solar plexus in the ring by a man in his late 20s, early 30s. I have always ended up boxing opponents larger than me, due to not having anyone my age at the boxing gym over the majority of the 5 or so years. However, regardless of how many punches I have eaten, and how trained my reflexes are against flinching, I always feel nervous to spar, and the thought of competing makes me even fear the thought, as much as I want to compete.

I feel as if I lack the confidence of a fighter, the feeling that regardless of what happens, I will always come out on top. I don't know how to gain that. And I also don't know why I don't have it. I lack severe confidence in the idea that I could come out on top in a competition, especially when I see how hard and fast people hit each other in MMA and Street Beefs. I have the idea that someday I might even try to compete professionally. But I know that regardless of my physical and martial preparation, doubt like this will cripple my chances before preparation has even begun. I wish to nip this in the bud before it becomes an actual problem. How can I do this? How do I gain more confidence in my abilities to compete, and perhaps even to fight, when I have never been given the chance to?
I think it was PhotonGuy who just made a post about goals. Your mindset would benefit greatly from setting attainable goals that you would see as accomplishments to gain confidence. Start small and practical. Not "I will beat the MMA champ in 6 months". Set a timeline in your sparring practice where you are going to perfect certain drills and techniques. Find out that you can do them very well. Do Not think you have to be perfect every time. Sparring just doesn't work that way. What works today may not work tomorrow, especially on the same opponent. Remember, they are trying to get better as well.
Self reflection is a great tool, as long as you don't start beating yourself up to the point of being counter-productive.
 

yak sao

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Years ago there was this martial artist who said he knew he was ready to fight when he felt butterflies in his stomach because he knew that it was adrenaline getting him ready to fight.

Also, being a little unsure of yourself isn't exactly a bad thing. It might be what drives you to get up off the couch and train and push a little harder than the next guy.

Oh, and that martial artist I mentioned?
Bruce Lee...sounds like you're in pretty good company.
 

EdwardA

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I have been munching on this issue for a very long time now. As someone who loves martial arts of all sorts (excluding bullshido of course ;)) I am looking forward to competing for the first time. By competing, I mean fighting as well as forms, but I mostly fighting.

I have been involved in martial arts since I was young, on and off, and I remember my first time fighting as a 13 year old kid being winded by a punch to the solar plexus in the ring by a man in his late 20s, early 30s. I have always ended up boxing opponents larger than me, due to not having anyone my age at the boxing gym over the majority of the 5 or so years. However, regardless of how many punches I have eaten, and how trained my reflexes are against flinching, I always feel nervous to spar, and the thought of competing makes me even fear the thought, as much as I want to compete.

I feel as if I lack the confidence of a fighter, the feeling that regardless of what happens, I will always come out on top. I don't know how to gain that. And I also don't know why I don't have it. I lack severe confidence in the idea that I could come out on top in a competition, especially when I see how hard and fast people hit each other in MMA and Street Beefs. I have the idea that someday I might even try to compete professionally. But I know that regardless of my physical and martial preparation, doubt like this will cripple my chances before preparation has even begun. I wish to nip this in the bud before it becomes an actual problem. How can I do this? How do I gain more confidence in my abilities to compete, and perhaps even to fight, when I have never been given the chance to?

I've had similar apprehension. ... starting at a young. I went through being homeless and ended up having 50 street fights thru several years. I did very well, but guess what, I'm still very apprehensive, nervous. When it clicks on tho, all that goes away.
 

drop bear

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You find a school full of competent guys and you train and then compete.

And then once you have done it. It won't be as daunting.

Otherwise if MMA is your goal. You can take steps towards it. So do a BJJ or even a C class MMA first.

I recommend the fight camps like wimp to warrior. That are dedicated programs designed to put you in the ring with the tools to perform there.

Bear in mind fighters are not super magic guys. They are just guys like everyone else. They literally just turned up and did the work in the right environment.
 
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dvcochran

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I've had similar apprehension. ... starting at a young. I went through being homeless and ended up having 50 street fights thru several years. I did very well, but guess what, I'm still very apprehensive, nervous. When it clicks on tho, all that goes away.
IVAN, this makes a very good point. Most people who compete have a 'trigger'. Mentally it is an ON switch. Something you have to find if you want to compete. For some, fear is a hell of a trigger but I think it is usually fleeting. As you get more acclimated to sparring the fear mechanism will reduce, possibly go away. For others it is a ritual they go through. Some guys really make it a show, which I think is not cool at all. I had a ritual but it took about 2 seconds to perform. I forget the name of the movie but one character would turn the knot of their belt backwards. That really stuck with me. Most everyone who sparred with a hogu was already doing this but I made it my mental trigger. It worked for me.
 

_Simon_

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Some really great answers so far.

Ivan it definitely will be a case of experience being the key learning tool. And yeah I don't think those nerves ever go away! Heck even after 8 or 9 years of full contact sparring I still got nervous beforehand! But you know, as soon as we started and got into the rhythm of it it became so much fun, and those nerves went away. Putting yourself in some heavy contact sparring can be a great experience, and make sure it's with someone you trust and respect, ie someone who isn't just going to destroy you or have a point to prove. A coach or instructor that is there to help you get better and learn. But a variety of opponents will really help.

Of course, if we're talking tournaments and fights, maybe a little different. I even got super nervous before my point sparring bouts in tournaments. I think those nerves will always be there, and doubts can certainly be a good thing. Preparing in a steady, step by step way will help with your confidence. Really work on drills and strategies, and spar. You'll have a ball.

And of course then the issue of believing in yourself comes into it. Again, experience and practice will be your best friend. You truly do develop a "warrior/fighting" mindset through just getting in there, and learning in the fire of it. I don't think it's ever a matter of being totally ready or confident beforehand. Preparing the best way you can and being happy with that is key.

Keep us posted! :)
 

Bee Brian

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I have been munching on this issue for a very long time now. As someone who loves martial arts of all sorts (excluding bullshido of course ;)) I am looking forward to competing for the first time. By competing, I mean fighting as well as forms, but I mostly fighting.

I have been involved in martial arts since I was young, on and off, and I remember my first time fighting as a 13 year old kid being winded by a punch to the solar plexus in the ring by a man in his late 20s, early 30s. I have always ended up boxing opponents larger than me, due to not having anyone my age at the boxing gym over the majority of the 5 or so years. However, regardless of how many punches I have eaten, and how trained my reflexes are against flinching, I always feel nervous to spar, and the thought of competing makes me even fear the thought, as much as I want to compete.

I feel as if I lack the confidence of a fighter, the feeling that regardless of what happens, I will always come out on top. I don't know how to gain that. And I also don't know why I don't have it. I lack severe confidence in the idea that I could come out on top in a competition, especially when I see how hard and fast people hit each other in MMA and Street Beefs. I have the idea that someday I might even try to compete professionally. But I know that regardless of my physical and martial preparation, doubt like this will cripple my chances before preparation has even begun. I wish to nip this in the bud before it becomes an actual problem. How can I do this? How do I gain more confidence in my abilities to compete, and perhaps even to fight, when I have never been given the chance to?

You know Ivan, sometimes fear and lack of confidence can be a good thing. Just look at those idiots who audition for American Idol thinking they're the best only to become the laughing stock of the country. (Not the ones who are good singers, mind you, but the deluded ones who come off as bizarre.)

Just know that YOU ARE NOT your skills or your physique. You are your spirit. And if your spirit is strong, resilient, and adaptable, you will find a way to succeed, whether success on a small scale or becoming a world champion of whatever.

Believe in yourself. Yourself.

I don't know the particulars of it, but I know for a fact that Confucius asserted that virtue is something that people can cultivate. I suggest starting by emulating worthy role models. Confucius called them the "junzi". If it ain't gonna be a father or some intimate friend, just resort to biographies or autobiographies.
 
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