Fears


W
hen interviewed, there will always be a number of prospective students who express a genuine concern about being able to defend themselves. Under combative duress, fears are emotions that are aroused by impending dangers. These fears, primal in origin, exist within all members of the species known as “homo sapiens sapiens”. It should be noted that the existence of fears are not dependent upon humans being cognizant of their intellectual origin. These primal fears, associated with our species fight or flight response, are natural and can not be eradicated. Generally speaking, primal fears can only be displaced through the adoption of non-fear based concepts and non-fear based processes. As an example, a series of combative processes that enable learned practitioners to cope under extreme duress when engaged in battle. 

Question, when engaged in unarmed combat, what happens to combatants when they experience fear? When engaged in battle, one of two things are most likely to occur. First, when being experienced, fear will impede the combatants ability to process in an efficient manner. An inefficient process makes it very difficult for combatants to achieve their combative objectives. Second, if consumed by fear, combatants can become overwhelmed to the point that their processing simply shuts down. As a general rule, combatants become extremely vulnerable whenever they are unable to process. When combatants become this vulnerable, their only hope of survival lies in their opponent’s willingness to exercise an act of compassion. Unfortunately, a combatant’s demise will always be certain whenever an opponent is unwilling to exercise an act of compassion.

Another question, how important is it for martial art students to address the fears associated with engaging in unarmed combat? In martial preparation, the importance of systematically addressing martial related fears can never be overstated. Throughout martial preparation, the students attention is continuously directed towards learning about martial related fears and the associated reality based solutions. In the beginning, students have no idea as to how many martial related fears actually exist. It should be noted that there are far more martial related fears than those initially realized by novice practitioners. Over time, some students become increasing more fearful as they become aware of these martial related fears. There are also times that these fears are re-enforced, like when they experience fear based responses in their two man exercises or in sparring.

As students proceed through martial preparation, they should become quite concerned about their training whenever they find themselves becoming more fearful. There are some educators who will attempt to help individuals through this problem by explaining some ideas that are associated with learning. More specifically, ideas associated with what is commonly referred to as the “Bell Curve”. As an example, when learning, “things often seem to get worse before they get better”. Their students are informed that this is the nature of learning and that these negative occurrences are quite normal and to be expected. As a general rule, when imparted to martial art students, this understanding does not seem to displace their martial related fears. This negative aspect of the “learning curve” can be minimized by mindfully making and retaining correlations between the martial related fears and the associated reality based solutions.

Unfortunately, there will always be a number of students who, for whatever reason, are unwilling to complete the mindful body of work associated with creating mindful correlations between the martial related fears and the associated reality based solutions. The unwillingness to create and retain these mindful correlations makes it extremely difficult for practitioners to cope when they are engaged in unarmed combat. This is a serious problem, and the unwillingness, inability, to create and retain these martial correlations is the root reason why their martial choices and actions are arbitrary. As a general rule, arbitrary choices and actions will not always align with the combative conditions needed to achieve combative objectives. Keep in mind that having a mental discord between a combative objective and combative condition can result in a combatant’s demise.
The unwillingness, inability, to retain mindful correlations between the martial related fears and the associated reality based solutions usually results in students creating and developing a martial facade. As a general rule, students are not cognizant of how an aspect of their mind makes things up in the absence of factual, real, information. A martial facade is an aspect of ego that is unknowingly used by students to help them cope. As the martial facade is developed students believe that they are increasing less fearful. Unfortunately, these students fail to realize that these delusional based beliefs govern their non-actions and actions. When the these non-actions or actions fail under combative duress they become overwhelmed and experience fear based responses. It should be noted that reality based confidence can not be attained from processes that are governed by a martial facade.


In martial preparation, novice practitioners believe that they are supposed to be afraid of their opponent. Initially, the idea of being afraid of one’s opponent seems to make a lot of sense. A very logical approach, considering it is your opponent who is trying to harm you. The problem with being afraid of an opponent is that there are never any mechanical solutions or psychological solutions. As a combatant, you will never have control over an opponent’s thoughts or actions. Should you choose to be afraid of your opponents then you will never overcome that fear. Experiencing fear based responses throughout martial preparation is very confusing to students who have trained for a lengthy period of time. Although difficult, mentally you have to learn to respect an opponent’s abilities instead of being afraid of what he/she is doing.

A real shift in thinking is usually required before students come to the realization that success lies in becoming concerned, insecure, fearful, of their inability to engage in an effective and efficient manner. As an example, imagine for a moment that an opponent is decreasing distance towards you. Initially, logic dictates that you should be afraid of the opponent and his/her ability to decrease spatial separation. Unfortunately, there is nothing that you can do to prevent the opponent from decreasing distance. Keep in mind, that there is no mechanical solution or psychological solution to this specific problem. What you need to be concerned, insecure, fearful of is not having the ability to increase distance, which is a fear you can control and manage by learning how to increase spatial separation. The ability to increase distance in an effective and efficient manner is an example of a reality based solution.

Warning; should you decide to become a White Lotus student then you need to understand that your ability to proceed through combative preparation is, in part, dependent upon you have a correct conception and perception of the martial related fears. Learning what an opponent does in battle is meant to provide you with an opportunity to examine the fears associated with your inability to engage under random combative conditions.

 

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