“Patience is the companion of wisdom.”
– Saint Augustine
I have never been a patient person. And my wisdom has suffered because of this.
Growing up in the West, especially America, we have a sense of urgency that comes with the privilege of our standards of living. This urgency goes beyond the impatience of youth with the old; and irritability of the old who have to suffer the young and fools….and instead becomes a force that eats us alive, a force of rudeness, even-keeled politeness overtaken by situational impoliteness.
I learned this early on in combat, and early on in running a martial art organization…as my father would say, ‘Everybody wants to go to heaven, but no body wants to die.’
Which is the reason it sometimes seems the only peace we will find in this world is inner-peace…that lack of patience, the perpetual negative connection to the right now – it drives us to far more ill-will than good-will.
To me, patience is ½ experience, ¼ forethought, and ¼ being able to shut up long enough to actually let things happen as they will.
Fighting is no different – fighting is simply a test of patience. Patience in training, patience in healing, patience in learning, patience in testing….becomes patiently waiting for your enemy to make their mistake, overcalculate, over or under commit. Ask an EP professional and they will tell you that fighting truly is 90% mental, and 10% physical. If you end up fighting, 90% of the time you did something wrong.
You must be patient….I must be patient.
The patience to overcome your enemy or opponent. To act or not act based on the situation. To calm the adrenaline, to control the autonomic nervous system, or become comfortable with injury to achieve an end, to become comfortable with the injury you are going to inflict it achieve that end. To see the plan through with smaller adjustments, rather than create a new plan that is no plan at all.
The truth is, fighting is not that difficult once you learn that patience..
Once you know how someone stands up you can make them fall down – if you know how and why they breath, you can stop their breath – if you know how someone moves, you can move them the way you want.
It’s the patience to hold back and do these things that is the most difficult test and where most wisdom in fighting is gained. This requires a few things:
1) You have to detach yourself from the personal nature of fighting – you are not Arturo Gatti versus Mickey Ward. You are fighting for your life. Once you remove yourself from the emotions of fighting, you are no longer letting your heart guide the fight, but your head. A simple training method in this is in class, do not refer to your opponent by their name – look at them as a machine, called them a machine, detach yourself from the personality and look at the partner as a problem to solve.
2) Do not fight against the style, but against the person using the style. A style can be frustrating – if you are a boxer fighting a wrestler, or a kicker fighting a boxer, styles will simply confuse you, or make you apply extra effort. Instead, take the Pramek approach and look at the human you are fighting, not the style. That human has a structure, systems that guide it, psychology that make it act a certain way. You have to look at the delivery system and the launching pad – not the weapon. Fleeing from a bomb about to drop is not nearly as efficient as attacking the base it’s launched from.
3) Do not be afraid to disengage – people make stupid mistakes because they won’t disengage and reevaluate their strategy, tactics, methods. They fight against a style and become irritated, they get emotionally attached to the fight because they get ‘pissed’…and then make mistakes. You can’t be afraid to disengage, , switch contact or your means of contacting the opponent, move to a controlling contact point while you reevaluate. This is not to say in real life you have 3 minutes – but disengaging if you become overwhelmed allows you to regain patience, not lose it.
Fighting isn’t easy – but we tend to make it more difficult than it is because we become impatient. Try out these three tips, and see if you can adjust your view on patience – but beware, it might require some patience on your part.