I have always found personal success in the physical-arena: fighting, sparring, combat, violence, resistance, pressure due to a number of intangibles that have until now given me an distinct advantage – that rather huge thing that I see so few addressing in the field.

1. Stamina. Gas-in-the-tank is a huge weapon that’s builds confidence to pull-off whatever training and experience one has accumulated. And one that, when not present, creates a psychological bug in the back of one’s mind that one needs to get done what needs to get done within a timeframe or…(or your skill/speed/power/smarts will become irrelevant and, yes, I know that in real-life everything should be terminated fast, but…)

2. Being (or learning how to be) comfortable in changing circumstances. Surface, range, implements, changing-dynamics. And I do not mean diving into formal specialized classes (BJJ-ground, FMA-weapons, boxing-punching) I mean being able to adapt to altering stimulus. “Horizontal-fighting” is the same as vertical if understanding the dynamics and having exposure to/experience within them.

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3. Pain tolerance/threshold, and I’ve always, always, stated that these two are different entities. Yes, it’s an intangible to an extent but can absolutely be cultivated. Some are blessed with an intensity, certain physiological advantages, and a will that others simply don’t have so I always laugh at this “3-1 for me!” or “In real, that would’ve taken you out” mentality I see many sparring with. It’s comical because that is an element you simply don’t know and cannot build your house upon.

4. The ability to shift and intensify aggression levels. All, every single one of my students, past and present, have heard me say “Everyone -everyone- has 2,3, 4 levels more of aggression than they ever show in class. In sparring. In resistance-training. In pressure-testing. Everyone. Now whether they know how to access or trigger those levels and access that animal-inside…is a different thing entirely. And, yes, there are ways to do and teach that as well. Do not think that whatever you see me doing in the videos I put out is the same creature that you’d be facing if you presented an immediate and direct threat to my family – it’s not. (and many other experienced people in this industry undoubtedly – and justifiably – would say the same thing about themselves) This, again, can absolutely include fear, adrenal-stress response, innate resistance due to a number of intangibles as well.

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5. The attention to those “micro-movements” that “our group” so often discuss, what an industry-friend terms so well “naturally-occurring technique”. Figuring out what it is that you, the individual, does to super-charge your techniques, or whatever it is that drives your personal success and works specific to you. Systems so rarely teach this as it tends to go against their syllabus, chain-of-command, or mechanical-reproduction and assembly-line mentality.

I so very rarely see these 5 being addressed, which would seemingly reflect the rather universal view of systemic (over-) reliance and a false sense-of-security in formalized training. Just my take, if needing ask for change back from my .02.