Fighting Spirit

A tenacious fighting spirit.

A tenacious fighting spirit is something that is generally developed through the circumstances of life. It is generally found most abundantly in the people that have undergone hardships and sometimes the more severe the hardship the more tenacious the people. If you look at the world of boxing throughout modern history, you can see how the Irish, Hispanic and black athletes have fared well in their time. When it comes to developing a fighting spirit, I believe the sword saint of Japan had the most direct advice.

“In fighting and in everyday life you should be determined though calm. Meet the situation without tenseness yet not recklessly, your spirit settled yet unbiased. An elevated spirit is weak and a low spirit is weak. Do not let the enemy see your spirit.” Miyamoto Musashi

It seems that when a person has undergone hardship, up to but not beyond the breaking point, the resolute will to win becomes an ingrained part of that individuals psyche. On the other hand, people who have been beaten down, abused, and dominated generally cower; that is until something snaps and they no longer care what happens to them. Then these individuals seem to possess almost supernatural strength and a fierce tenacity born of rage.

The second method of developing tenacity is by undergoing hardship on purpose and achieving at least a measure of detachment. This detachment from your emotions in combat come from a willingness to risk your life to achieve your goal. In Japanese martial arts undergoing shugyo (harsh training), is the primary method for developing tenacity. Depending upon the art that you practice, you may either be punching, kicking, striking with various body parts or doing throws or receiving throws.

You most likely will be practicing with various weapons; again this depends upon the art that you study. The thing that all of these arts generally have in common is that there is usually a high number of repetitions involved when performing shugyo. On top of this, practitioners often find themselves training in the heat of summer, or the cold of winter to amplify the strength of will. In my opinion and speaking from personal experience after having utilized both methods, I recommend the latter method as the better way.

It has been my experience that not having any intention to do harm to an aggressor makes one’s defenses harder to read. It takes a bit of training and relaxation to be able to achieve this level of comfort in combat situations. Most people have different distances that they feel comfortable with in dealing with situations, but as you become more accustomed to the dangers of combat you can gradually overcome your fear of physical and emotional confrontation.

“If you want to strike first, to gain advantage over someone, that is proof your training is insufficient, and it is really yourself who has been defeated. Let your partner attack, and use his aggression against him.” Morihei Ueshiba

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