Monday, 24 November 2008

Dealing with Fear

You can be the greatest martial arts fighter that ever lived, making legends such as Fedor Emilianenko, Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson and Randy Couture look like amateurs, with a fighting record of 100-0 and be in the prime condition of your life, but if you claim to never get afraid during unfortunate self defence encounters then your lying.

Rickson Gracie famously put it during Choke (a feature length documentary leading up to a Japan Vale Tudo Tournament, see the DVD’s to right for further details), that if someone says he is not afraid, then to him he is a stupid man. Rickson then says “im afraid of everything” and this is coming from one of the greatest fighters to ever walk our planet.

How can someone justify themselves of not being afraid during self defence encounters. With all the news of gun and knife attacks to bombard our televisions and fill our newspapers, its impossible for someone to say it does not bother them and that there 15 years training in the deadly art of blah blah blah will get them through it.

Fear is in everyone but for most is not fully understood until it is felt. At one point in time, every martial artist will think to themselves “does the techniques im learning really work in a street fight”. Some even go as far as to actually put themselves in situations where they may have to defend themselves and it is at this point that they will experience fear. The unfortunate reality is, that by then, it may be too late.

The best and safest way for a martial artist to deal with this type of fear is through his/her actual training. As mentioned in a previous article, Reality of Street Fights, training in many gyms and dojos today is completely different to what you may expect on the street and dealing with fear is not practised to the level that is possible. By incorporating some street style training, (multiple opponents, weapon attacks, full contact sparring, occasional bad language etc), we are preparing ourselves a little more to deal with fear which will help. Also by sparring at other gyms with people you have never even met is a great way to deal with fear. It can be very daunting to train at other schools of different styles to your own and by facing this challenge it definitely helps in building confidence and minimising fear.

Fear will always be around and there is never a guarantee of victory in a self defence encounter, but with good preparation in a realistic manner you will always have a better chance should you ever find yourself in that situation.


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