What does it mean if someone "can fight" or "can't fight"?

skribs

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I'm going to leave this fairly open-ended. What is it that you look for to determine if someone "can fight" or "can't fight"? What is the threshold that must be crossed before someone can be deemed able to fight?
 

Steve

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I'm going to leave this fairly open-ended. What is it that you look for to determine if someone "can fight" or "can't fight"? What is the threshold that must be crossed before someone can be deemed able to fight?
I think its some kind of ineffable combination of fighting spirit or toughness (ie, grit, gameness), physical traits (eg, athleticism, functional strength), and technical ability.

And I think about it as being a spectrum where more of one element can compensate for less of another.

The question is like saying someone can or cannot play the guitar. Well, a lot of people play the guitar. Some people are virtuosos.
 

Flying Crane

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I'm going to leave this fairly open-ended. What is it that you look for to determine if someone "can fight" or "can't fight"? What is the threshold that must be crossed before someone can be deemed able to fight?
In my opinion, there will be no satisfying answer to this question. Everyone has their own perspective on it, and defines it and draws the line in their own way, based on their own experiences. There is no common agreement on it. Discussion might be interesting in an academic way, but there will be no final answer so if you might hope for one, prepare for disappointment. I personally have no criteria. I dont really consider the issue very often. In that way, its kinda like My Little Pony. It just isnt on my radar, I dont think about it.

I am a kung fu guy who likes to train forms and abhors violence and has no interest in combat sports. Hell, I feel that hockey and American football are stupid. But that is my opinion and I dont try to shove it onto others. I suppose I probably cant fight. It makes no nevermind to me. Ill step away from this discussion now, I am sure I have little to contribute to it.
 

wab25

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In my opinion.... it takes 2 things.

1. The "ability" to hurt another person. What I mean by this is are you willing to smash your fist into another person, to hurt and injure them? I have seen too many "martial artists," who are all too eager to prove that I am a Jedi.... They try to hit me, and then redirect when I "miss" my block, so as not to hurt me. Same goes with joint locks or submissions. In order to fight.... you have to intend to hurt the other person, and then actually hurt them. Not all people can do this, regardless of what belt you wear or trophies you have.... If you can't hurt the other guy.... you can't fight.

2. You have to be able to keep going through the pain. I have been with too many folks, who are happy to inflict damage to me... punching and kicking.... but if I land 1 single shot, we have to stop and talk about my "control" and the "lack there of." We have all seen the guy get all up and ready to fight... but the first time he gets hit... he totally changes his mind about fighting. If you can't keep going, when you are being hurt by the other guy... you cannot fight.

Notice that neither of these requirements has anything to do with rank, style, experience, strength, or size.... its mental. If a person "can fight" it means that they can intend to hurt the other guy, and continue trying to hurt the other guy... even when the other guy is hurting them.
 

Gerry Seymour

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I think its some kind of ineffable combination of fighting spirit or toughness (ie, grit, gameness), physical traits (eg, athleticism, functional strength), and technical ability.

And I think about it as being a spectrum where more of one element can compensate for less of another.

The question is like saying someone can or cannot play the guitar. Well, a lot of people play the guitar. Some people are virtuosos.
I like the guitar analogy. And the rest of this post.

I dont really see it as binary. I trained with some folks who could maul me, and some I wouldnt consider a challenge. But thats using myself as a measure, and that certainly wouldnt be others criteria.
 

windwalker099

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A world champion Thai-style kickboxer was shot to death in the middle of a busy San Francisco street Friday after he chased down a hit-and-run driver who had slammed into his parked car minutes earlier.

The 4:30 p.m. incident began outside Gong's Fairtex gym when his car, also a Jeep Cherokee, was hit by a passing car. Enraged, Gong gave chase on foot, going a block east on Clementina, then a block and a half south on Fifth Street. At that point, Gong confronted the driver, who had been forced to stop as traffic backed up near the Bay Bridge on-ramp.

"The victim put his arm out to stop the driver, the driver pushed him back and then shot him -- point blank,"
said Marilyn Moore, a witness who was riding in a car on Fifth Street.

Everyone can fight....it's innate

The kick boxer, and shooter both could fight...
One trained to do so, choose to do so,,,the other not much training if any,,, forced to do so.

The point

it might be more important understanding the difference between knowing
when not to fight, and when you have to fight...
 
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Kung Fu Wang

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it might be more important understanding the difference between knowing
when not to fight, and when you have to fight...
Another way to look at this is a person who can fight if his opponent

- throws 20 punches and cannot land any punch on him.
- tries to take him down for 3 minutes and he is still standing.
 

Tony Dismukes

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Skribs, thanks for splitting off this question into a separate post. I was considering doing the same, since it's a bit of a derail in the other thread where it was being debated.

As I argued in that thread, I agree with Steve and Gerry in seeing it as a continuum rather than a binary distinction.

However, I will now play devil's advocate against my own position. While conceptualizing fighting ability (or guitar playing or anything else) as a continuum is the more accurate perspective, sometimes it's just convenient to use binary language as a kind of shorthand. It's not like we have a scientifically calibrated multi-dimensional scale where we can say "Bob has a fighting spirit of 37, technical fighting skill of 42, and physical attributes of 25, giving him an overall weighted fighting ability score of 35.7." So sometimes we just might want to just make a simplified judgement of "wow, he can really fight" or "he really doesn't know how to fight." Which is fine, as long as we understand that it is a simplification and can be on roughly the same page as the person we are talking to in understanding what we mean by this simplified label.

For myself, it I was going to use the term, I'd probably have something like the following criteria.
  • Doesn't panic at the start of a physical confrontation.
  • Has some sort of skill which can be used to inflict damage and win a fight, even if it's just an instinctive overhand right or grabbing up an improvised weapon to bash or stab with.
  • Doesn't completely lose those skills when the adrenaline rush of the fight hits
  • Is psychologically capable of inflicting damage
  • Has sufficient determination to keep fighting even when they take some damage, when they get into a bad position, when they get tired, when their initial moves fail, or when they seem to be losing.
None of this means that the person is particularly good at fighting, but if we're going to draw an arbitrary line in the sand somewhere I think it's as good a place as any.
 

Gerry Seymour

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Skribs, thanks for splitting off this question into a separate post. I was considering doing the same, since it's a bit of a derail in the other thread where it was being debated.

As I argued in that thread, I agree with Steve and Gerry in seeing it as a continuum rather than a binary distinction.

However, I will now play devil's advocate against my own position. While conceptualizing fighting ability (or guitar playing or anything else) as a continuum is the more accurate perspective, sometimes it's just convenient to use binary language as a kind of shorthand. It's not like we have a scientifically calibrated multi-dimensional scale where we can say "Bob has a fighting spirit of 37, technical fighting skill of 42, and physical attributes of 25, giving him an overall weighted fighting ability score of 35.7." So sometimes we just might want to just make a simplified judgement of "wow, he can really fight" or "he really doesn't know how to fight." Which is fine, as long as we understand that it is a simplification and can be on roughly the same page as the person we are talking to in understanding what we mean by this simplified label.

For myself, it I was going to use the term, I'd probably have something like the following criteria.
  • Doesn't panic at the start of a physical confrontation.
  • Has some sort of skill which can be used to inflict damage and win a fight, even if it's just an instinctive overhand right or grabbing up an improvised weapon to bash or stab with.
  • Doesn't completely lose those skills when the adrenaline rush of the fight hits
  • Is psychologically capable of inflicting damage
  • Has sufficient determination to keep fighting even when they take some damage, when they get into a bad position, when they get tired, when their initial moves fail, or when they seem to be losing.
None of this means that the person is particularly good at fighting, but if we're going to draw an arbitrary line in the sand somewhere I think it's as good a place as any.
This is a decent baseline. Of course, even with these, we'd be dealing with a continuum - many of us would be calm in some situations, and panic in others, for instance. So we'd need a cutoff of what they need to be able to not panic at.

But it's a good point.
 

Gerry Seymour

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Another way to look at this is a person who can fight if his opponent

- throws 20 punches and cannot land any punch on him.
- tries to take him down for 3 minutes and he is still standing.
Those make a point about skill, but they do miss three of the other factors folks have mentioned:
  • ability to do damage
  • willingness to do damage
  • ability to not panic in a confrontation
 

Wing Woo Gar

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These are all good valid posts guys! I tell my students there is a difference between training to be able to fight, and training to fight.
 

windwalker099

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There is a story about cats..some might find interesting

myoujitu_m-202x300.jpg


Paraphrased

"In the evening, all the cats who had participated in the rat-catching had a grand session at Shkens house, and respectfully asked the great Cat to take the seat of honor.

The black cat came forward and said: I was born in a family reputed for its skill in the art. Since my kitten days I have trained myself with a view to becoming a great rat-catcher. I am able to leap over a screen as high as seven feet; I know how to squeeze myself through a tiny hole which allows a rat only. I am proficient in performing all kinds of acrobatics. I am also clever at making the rats think that I am sound asleep, but I know how to strike them as soon as they come within my reach.

The tiger cat now stepped forward and expressed his view thus: To my mind, what is important in the art of fighting is the spirit (ki; chi in Chinese); I have long trained myself in its cultivation and development. I am now in possession of the strongest spirit, which fills up heaven and earth. When I face an opponent, my overawing spirit is already on him, and victory is on my side even prior to actual combat.

The gray cat now advanced quietly and said: as you tell us, a psyche however strong is always accompanied by its shadow, and the enemy is sure to take advantage of this shadow, though it may be the faintest one. I have for a long time disciplined myself in this way: not to overawe the enemy, not to force a fight, but to assume a yielding and conciliatory attitude. When the enemy proves strong, I just look yielding and simply follow up his movements. I act like a curtain surrendering itself to the pressure of a stone thrown at it. Even a strong rat finds no means to fight me."
 

geezer

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its kinda like My Little Pony....
I read this and got to wondering which little pony is the best fighter. Most folks would bet on Applejack, although some might back Twilight Sparkle. But fighting spirit is hard to assess ...and it is fluid depending on the situation or context. I'm thinking of factors like determination.

Given the right context and motivation, even Pinkie Pie might prove a fierce contender.

1673027426418.png
 

JowGaWolf

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I think its some kind of ineffable combination of fighting spirit or toughness (ie, grit, gameness), physical traits (eg, athleticism, functional strength), and technical ability.

And I think about it as being a spectrum where more of one element can compensate for less of another.

The question is like saying someone can or cannot play the guitar. Well, a lot of people play the guitar. Some people are virtuosos.
Fighting spirit. What if I don't want to fight and I do everything to try to Descartes. What if I come to the conclusion that it's better to take a few kicks and punches than to fight back. The human version of animals playing dead instead of fighting. Does that mean the human can't fight or was that the better option?

What if you have fighting spirit but no toughness? Is fighting spirit the same as self preservation? A person can do excellent in striking but horrible with fighting on the ground. I personally don't think I have alot of fighting spirit especially when I put a lot of focus on turning off my emotions in aggressive situations.

The only time I use the term fighting spirit is when I train forms. For me fighting spirit only exists outside of fighting.
 

JowGaWolf

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I read this and got to wondering which little pony is the best fighter. Most folks would bet on Applejack, although some might back Twilight Sparkle. But fighting spirit is hard to assess ...and it is fluid depending on the situation or context. I'm thinking of factors like determination.

Given the right context and motivation, even Pinkie Pie might prove a fierce contender.

View attachment 29455
Context is always needed. When a water buffalo successful defends against a lion attack. Does that mean the water buffalo can fight? Or does that just make the person good at defending? Can you be a good fighter if you only defend?.
 

windwalker099

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Context is always needed. When a water buffalo successful defends against a lion attack. Does that mean the water buffalo can fight? Or does that just make the person good at defending? Can you be a good fighter if you only defend?.

"
The best soldier does not attack. The superior fighter succeeds without violence. The greatest conqueror wins without struggle. The most successful manager leads without dictating. This is intelligent non aggressiveness.

Laozi"
 

windwalker099

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"It is said again that when one is surrounded by an enemy hundreds of thousands in strength this form [known as my Self] may be crushed to pieces, but the Mind is mine with which no overwhelming army can have anything to do.

Says Confucius: Even a plain man of the street cannot be deprived of his will.

When however this mind is confused, it turns to be its own enemy. This is all I can explain here, for the masters task cannot go beyond transmitting technique and illustrating the reason for it.

It is yourself who realizes the truth of it. The truth is self-attained, it is transmitted from mind to mind, it is a special transmission outside the scriptural teaching.

There is no willful deviation from traditional teaching, for even the master is powerless in this respect.

Nor is this confined to the study of Zen."
 

Bill Mattocks

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The best way to tell if someone can fight is to fight them. Whether they are good at it or not, whether they can beat you or not, you will know that the person can or cannot fight. I don't believe it has anything much to do with strength, skill, or even courage or willingness. They put up their dukes, wade in, and get to work. It's all and none of the those attributes. They can fight. You know it. So does everyone else who sees it. It's just a characteristic. How wet is rain? It's just rain, wet is a characteristic. If weather doesn't possess that characteristic, it's just wind.

I will say that I've seen people change over time and with training, from someone who absolutely could not fight to someone who could. We've noticed it. We talk about it. It's a simple acknowledgement. "Remember that guy so-and-so?" "Yeah, I remember that dude. He could fight."
 
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