The importance of intent?

Ivan

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Intent is something that has been on my mind since I first began studying martial arts. To me, intent is your conviction to achieve or overcome the obstacle in front of you. I believe it is a key psychological or spiritual component not just for martial artists, but for fighters, athletes and even the average joe.

I have always wondered how heavily intent influences results, especially when it comes to boxing matches or other fighting compeititions. The particular case I thought of, was what would be the difference between a boxer who steps in a ring with the intent to "box" and another boxer who steps in with the intent to utterly destroy his opponent? This difference in mindset is actually a huge component in Mexican style boxing, a style of boxing well known for its "seek and destroy" style of aggression.

One of the inspirations for this topic to me was Mike Tyson - I always noticed the power and aggression in his words, and even he himself stated that he aimed to practically murder his opponents in the ring.

mike-tyson-648034.jpg


However this begs the question - how much of a role did his mindset play in his success? After all, Mike Tyson had gruelling training sessions and one of the most well acclaimed boxing coaches in history. What are your opinions on this?

I am currently writing an article on this topic, and I am always interested to hear the opinions of people with varied experiences when it comes to martial arts. Also, has anyone encountered an equivalent to this in more traditional martial arts? The most comparable thing I can think of is Ki.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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Intent is something that has been on my mind since I first began studying martial arts.
Your opponent runs toward you and tries to knock your head off. Suddenly he drops down in front of you. You just realize that he has run into your kick and break his ribs. You don't even remember that you throw a kick. The kicking order didn't come from your brain but came from your body natural reaction. Intend plays no rule in this case.

When a knife stab toward your chest, you don't have time to think whether you should dodge to the right, or dodge to the left. Your body will react correctly according to your training. Intend also plays no rule here.

What you "think" you can do is not your true ability. What your body can do for you while you are not thinking is your true ability.
 

drop bear

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The first round is won on technique.

The second round is won on cardio

And the third round is won on heart.
 
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Ivan

Ivan

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Your opponent runs toward you and tries to knock your head off. Suddenly he drops down in front of you. You just realize that he has run into your kick and break his ribs. You don't even remember that you throw a kick. The kicking order didn't come from your brain but came from your body natural reaction. Intend plays no rule in this case.

When a knife stab toward your chest, you don't have time to think whether you should dodge to the right, or dodge to the left. Your body will react correctly according to your training. Intend also plays no rule here.

What you "think" you can do is not your true ability. What your body can do for you while you are not thinking is your true ability.
Your opponent runs toward you and tries to knock your head off. Suddenly he drops down in front of you. You just realize that he has run into your kick and break his ribs. You don't even remember that you throw a kick. The kicking order didn't come from your brain but came from your body natural reaction. Intend plays no rule in this case.

When a knife stab toward your chest, you don't have time to think whether you should dodge to the right, or dodge to the left. Your body will react correctly according to your training. Intend also plays no rule here.

What you "think" you can do is not your true ability. What your body can do for you while you are not thinking is your true ability.
I would have to disagree. In this case, the intent of the defender to train his body for self-defense over the years he spent training has trumped the intent of the would be attacker. Intent is not an imagination or perception of your ability. It is the purpose behind which you commit certain actions.
 

JowGaWolf

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However this begs the question - how much of a role did his mindset play in his success? After all, Mike Tyson had gruelling training sessions and one of the most well acclaimed boxing coaches in history. What are your opinions on this?
If my memory is correct, that aggressive mindset didn't play a role in his success but it did play a role in his downfall. From what I remember his trainer did a lot to keep a lot of that anger and aggression under control. It wasn't until his trainer died that the aggression came out uncontrolled.
The younger Mike Tyson didn't talk like the Older Mike Tyson. The younger mike tyson didn't bite someone's ear out of frustration, but the older did.

Mindset is critical but not in the manner that the quote would suggest.

This difference in mindset is actually a huge component in Mexican style boxing, a style of boxing well known for its "seek and destroy" style of aggression.
I would be willing to bet that most top boxers didn't think this way when they were on top. My guess is that most were highly focused on the task at hand with little emotion.
 

JowGaWolf

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Don't fear the man who is angry or who wants to dominate you. Fear the man who has no feeling or sees no value in your existence. It is that man who will wipe you out of existence with the same concern as stepping on an ant.
 
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drop bear

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It is easy to have the intent of being some sort of meanie. A few styles do this and it doesn't work.

You need to develop will power to keep fighting when you are taking damage.
 

dvcochran

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Intent is something that has been on my mind since I first began studying martial arts. To me, intent is your conviction to achieve or overcome the obstacle in front of you. I believe it is a key psychological or spiritual component not just for martial artists, but for fighters, athletes and even the average joe.

I have always wondered how heavily intent influences results, especially when it comes to boxing matches or other fighting compeititions. The particular case I thought of, was what would be the difference between a boxer who steps in a ring with the intent to "box" and another boxer who steps in with the intent to utterly destroy his opponent? This difference in mindset is actually a huge component in Mexican style boxing, a style of boxing well known for its "seek and destroy" style of aggression.

One of the inspirations for this topic to me was Mike Tyson - I always noticed the power and aggression in his words, and even he himself stated that he aimed to practically murder his opponents in the ring.

mike-tyson-648034.jpg


However this begs the question - how much of a role did his mindset play in his success? After all, Mike Tyson had gruelling training sessions and one of the most well acclaimed boxing coaches in history. What are your opinions on this?

I am currently writing an article on this topic, and I am always interested to hear the opinions of people with varied experiences when it comes to martial arts. Also, has anyone encountered an equivalent to this in more traditional martial arts? The most comparable thing I can think of is Ki.

An interesting post. In regards to Tyson, while he had a hugely successful career it was laced with some rather bizarre stuff, especially towards the end of his career.
There is no question that he had a rare ability to combine carnal aggression with his exceptional physical skill and physique. In regards to your post, for most other people I would think there was some intended publicity in the statement he made but I think when he was in the ring that was his mindset; at least early on.
Is this a bad thing? Not with an amount of control that keeps you within the rules.

Intent is a very good choice of nouns. I hope we do all things in life with a good amount of intent. It would be really boring otherwise.

I had a thing I did when I competed. I would turn my belt around backwards before I put my hogu on. A lot of people did but for me it was a mental switch. For the next nine minutes I did not talk to anyone, even between rounds. I truly felt like a bomb about to explode. Early on, it was raw emotion that I could not fully control. It would blind me to the point of making mistakes. I would honestly seethe. A carry over from football I think. I learned to control it and use it as a tool and it made me a much better fighter.
It will allow a person to shut out other emotions (pain, fear, etc....) and not let them effect you as they might otherwise.
I was never the fastest or most gifted but I would not gas out and was great at the chess match. The intent really helped with the not gassing out but hurt the chess match for a while until I got it under control.

To me intent is one piece of the puzzle for a great fighter. Yes, a big one but not all of it.

The term intent could/should easily overlap into the SD realm. But it would take on some other/different meaning, or at least change in magnitude. How do you reconcile this with your initial question(s)?
 
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Ivan

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An interesting post. In regards to Tyson, while he had a hugely successful career it was laced with some rather bizarre stuff, especially towards the end of his career.
There is no question that he had a rare ability to combine carnal aggression with his exceptional physical skill and physique. In regards to your post, for most other people I would think there was some intended publicity in the statement he made but I think when he was in the ring that was his mindset; at least early on.
Is this a bad thing? Not with an amount of control that keeps you within the rules.

Intent is a very good choice of nouns. I hope we do all things in life with a good amount of intent. It would be really boring otherwise.

I had a thing I did when I competed. I would turn my belt around backwards before I put my hogu on. A lot of people did but for me it was a mental switch. For the next nine minutes I did not talk to anyone, even between rounds. I truly felt like a bomb about to explode. Early on, it was raw emotion that I could not fully control. It would blind me to the point of making mistakes. I would honestly seethe. A carry over from football I think. I learned to control it and use it as a tool and it made me a much better fighter.
It will allow a person to shut out other emotions (pain, fear, etc....) and not let them effect you as they might otherwise.
I was never the fastest or most gifted but I would not gas out and was great at the chess match. The intent really helped with the not gassing out but hurt the chess match for a while until I got it under control.

To me intent is one piece of the puzzle for a great fighter. Yes, a big one but not all of it.

The term intent could/should easily overlap into the SD realm. But it would take on some other/different meaning, or at least change in magnitude. How do you reconcile this with your initial question(s)?
It is close to what I am talking about - the zone. Very few people can get into the zone, but intent to me is about what your focus is during your period in said zone. When you're in the zone, you don't think or feel, you simply perceive. I have yet to reach a level where I can stay in it for more than a few secondss, for me it has always been during spontaneous moments in sparring or kata practice where everything seemed to brighten and slow down. Intent to me is about what you focus on in the moment - you're in the zone and you can't think or feel, but your spirit is completely concentrated on the task before you.
 

dvcochran

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It is close to what I am talking about - the zone. Very few people can get into the zone, but intent to me is about what your focus is during your period in said zone. When you're in the zone, you don't think or feel, you simply perceive. I have yet to reach a level where I can stay in it for more than a few secondss, for me it has always been during spontaneous moments in sparring or kata practice where everything seemed to brighten and slow down. Intent to me is about what you focus on in the moment - you're in the zone and you can't think or feel, but your spirit is completely concentrated on the task before you.
Hard to explain but the concentration and focus you mention puts you in a place where you don't really have to 'think' about the moment. You mind can be 2, 3, 4 moves ahead.
 

isshinryuronin

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Intent is the driving / guiding force of your actions, throughout the dynamic situation, until your intent is realized. It may be thwarted by the opponent several times, but each time you re-engage, you keep in mind what you hope to accomplish and come up with tactics that will maneuver him into a position where you can achieve your particular goal Rhonda Rousey had her signature arm bar. Much of her work in the ring was designed to get into position for it. If she couldn't get it one way, she kept working until the arm bar opportunity presented itself.

Let's say your goal is to get to a job interview (destination.) So you get in your car and drive. This drive, or journey, will be a measure of the strength of your intent. It doesn't go smooth. There are red lights so you must stop. But then, you go again. There is a road blockage, so you find and navigate a detour until you can get back on the right track towards the destination. Then you get a flat tire, so you change the tire and resume your way to the interview. All of these reactions have one thing in common - they all contribute to you getting to your destination - carrying out your intent.

Ivan mentioned will power. I think it is. But more of a focused will power toward something specific, and not losing sight of that, no matter what may lay in your way. Perhaps intent, focused will power and commitment are synonymous - a guiding force that drives your actions toward a goal.
 

drop bear

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It is close to what I am talking about - the zone. Very few people can get into the zone, but intent to me is about what your focus is during your period in said zone. When you're in the zone, you don't think or feel, you simply perceive. I have yet to reach a level where I can stay in it for more than a few secondss, for me it has always been during spontaneous moments in sparring or kata practice where everything seemed to brighten and slow down. Intent to me is about what you focus on in the moment - you're in the zone and you can't think or feel, but your spirit is completely concentrated on the task before you.

Fight a guy for an hour.

At some point you will stop caring. And just work.
 
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Ivan

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The fact that someone would disagree with that shows either youth or ignorance.
If you are "fighting" for an hour, it's not a fight, it's a sport. Fights don't take place with referees and bells and rules. We call them fights, but they are just practice for the real thing. Real fights are usually over in seconds, and rarely do they require more than one or two exchanges.
 

drop bear

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If you are "fighting" for an hour, it's not a fight, it's a sport. Fights don't take place with referees and bells and rules. We call them fights, but they are just practice for the real thing. Real fights are usually over in seconds, and rarely do they require more than one or two exchanges.

But if they are over in seconds how can we say wich one is real.
 

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