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 Post subject: Habits of Highly Effective Fighters
PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 1:06 pm 
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Habits of Highly Effective Fighters
By Richard Blackmoore
From www.ArmourArchive.org

There are numerous traits common to effective fighters. Great fighters often have these traits in abundance:

1) Vision and perception control.
The ability to see what is going on around you in general to allow for strategic planning, while being able to pick out and focus on critical details needed for specific tactical actions of immediate concern. When fighters reach a certain level of ability, it is often because they are more aware of what is happening around them and more importantly, they are able to process it and make decisions quickly in an almost instinctive fashion. Fighters who reach this point will often describe it as everything seeming to slow down, they are able to see what their opponents are doing before they finish doing it, allowing them more time to react or to act. Their opponents will describe them as having gotten faster on attack or able to defend themselves more rapidly or worse; knowing what they were going to do but not be able to stop it in time. Typically they are not moving any faster, they are simply initiating defense or offense sooner so it gives the illusion of speed or simply throwing such a good shot from such a good position without telegraphing it so that it is very hard to stop. Being able to understand what is really going on and assess your opponent?s condition, fatigue level, skill level, weaknesses and strengths is part of this.

2) Patience.
The ability to not necessarily wait, but to not force an action. To put oneself in position to take advantage of an opponent's mistakes instead of trying to throw a blow before there is a reason to throw it.

3) Serenity and confidence.
Good fighters may fight with emotion and passion. But they have an underlying self confidence and faith in one's ability that gives them an edge over those that don't have it. They don't question themselves and what they can and cannot do. They know what they can do and fight in a way that minimizes their weaknesses and fully implements their strengths.

4) Adaptability.
Good fighters will find ways to deal with challenges and changing circumstances. They don't necessarily change their fighting style in response to a given situation, but they change the way they approach a given fighter as needed, almost like solving a problem. When something does not work, they determine why and make what are often subtle but very critical adjustments which result in victory.

5) Domination of the opponent mentally and physically.
Time after time you will see a fighter impose his will upon the other fighter. This ranges from intimidation to simply dictating the pace or style of the combat taking place by forcing the other fighter out of his game and into theirs. Many times a more athletic or even more skilled fighter is defeated in this manner. How many times have you seen a fat old Duke take out a young gun who is very skilled, faster and in better physical condition? Many, many times.

6) Fighting to live.
Good fighters who are overmatched will find a way to survive long enough to gain some sort of advantage. Whether it is as blatant as a rope a dope oriented defense to tire the opponent out or something as subtle as counterpunching in correct timing to take advantage of an opponent's one blow that isn't perfect.

7) Impeccable defense.
Nuff said.

8) Knowing one's limitations.
The biggest problem with fighters that have the skills to be good or great, but never quite make that leap, is that they know what they can do, but they either can't recognize or refuse to recognize what they can't. So they don't maximize their potential.

9) Equipment and armour.
Good fighters often have crappy looking or poorly maintained armour. But they almost never wear armour that they don't feel comfortable fighting in. If a piece of armour or a weapon does not work, they change it or find a way to fight around the limitation.

10) Pleasure & fun.
Very rare is the good fighter who does not really enjoy what he does. It is often what allows them to focus on the boring, tedious steps necessary to overcome mediocrity. If you really like what you are doing, it is easier to make the commitment to training, practice and study necessary to excel.

11) Pain.
This is a motivator in so many ways. When you are trying to become good, one of the bonuses is knowing that you will feel a lot less pain if you learn to hit the other guy first and learn to block. When you realize that most blows won't hurt you and if they do, you will heal (probably), you stop being afraid and don't think about it. The majority of fighters think about getting hurt too much and it stops them from focusing. It also lets them be intimidated. Good fighters don't want to get hurt, but they don't waste time thinking about it.

12) Heart.
Most good fighters simply don't give up. They are competitors and don't like to lose or quit. They would rather shoot themselves than not try to win. There are plenty of fighters with potential that give up if they are tired, depressed, had an argument with their girlfriend, think it is to hot/cold/wet/dry or whatever. They come up with every excuse under the sun to not practice or fight. Worse, they will be in a fight, decide they can't win and basically give up, they stop trying their hardest or looking to stay alive long enough to have a shot. Good fighters find a way to win.


13) Why.
Good fighters want to know why something happened so they can either replicate something good, avoid replicating something bad or improve upon it. When a mediocre fighter does something and is successful, his general reaction is Cool I Won. When a good fighter does something successful, his reaction is How Did I Do That And How Can I Improve.

14) Stagnation and the pursuit of excellence.
Good fighters tend to be looking to improve, innovate and avoid stagnation. They may not make large changes in what they do, but they seek to correct deficiencies and improve upon strengths. They are not satisfied with the status quo. Mediocre fighters will do what they consider 'good enough' and stop at that. Good fighters set a higher bar for themselves. That is why you will see a good fighter often unhappy with himself after a given bout, even one that he won; he did not meet his own expectations. Good fighters tend to push themselves to meet and exceed their own standards; they are not satisfied with being 'good enough'. They want to be better.

15) Why do they fight?
Most good fighters have reasons for fighting that drive them to excel. For some it is simply the joy of competition and wanting to be the best or at least the best they can be. Others wish to be the closest thing to an actual medieval knight they can, even if it means fighting in armor that will reduce their win/loss ration under SCA rules. Some want to be the toughest son of a * out there with a sword. Some want to get laid, a lot. Some view every fight as a way to gain renown, to honor their inspiration, to get a taste of what a real knight would feel in a tournament.

Regardless of a given fighters motivation, the bottom line is that most good fighters are strongly motivated. To be a good fighter, you need to find what motivates you and use that to keep you focused on your goals.

16) Overcoming obstacles.
Most good fighters are the types that will find a way to avoid having anything stop them from achieving their goals. This is part of the reason that unlike in many sports, SCA knights are often not the best physical athletes. There are often fighters that are very smart, athletic and have natural attributes that lend themselves to SCA fighting but they don't succeed; because they let something get in their way. Obstacles include injury, health problems, financial/real life issues, unsupportive significant others, needing to get to practice even if you are tired, etc. Good fighters find ways around their limitations. Sir Kief is a great example. He only has one leg for crying out loud, but he is a kick * fighter and he makes me feel like a wimp every time I let a little boo-boo get in my way.

17) Consistency.
Good fighters can do the same good thing over and over an over. And they can identify and isolate things they don't do well and either remove them or at least learn to control them. Inconsistent fighters are screwed, as they cannot easily work to improve to get from level A to level B.

18) Who you choose to fight.
Almost without exception, good fighters are the ones that spent their early days fighting the best fighters they could find and consistently tried to fight, practice with and learn from those who they perceived as being good fighters. You don't learn as much from fighting those at or below your level and you end up reinforcing bad habits or picking up new ones. This does not mean you should not practice with or train others; it does mean that you have to be careful in your choices and what you do. Good fighters also polish their skills and maintain an edge by fighting other good fighters, who are good enough to defeat you if you make a mistake.

19) Automatic/Preprogrammed actions.
Good fighters have what some people refer to as muscle memory or the ability to fight without thinking. It isn't that you don't think. What happens is that you get good enough at doing certain things, than when you need to perform a certain action, several things happen. One is that you can make the decision to do something so rapidly that it is almost reflexive. Such as deciding to throw a flat snap; it happens so fast you did not really take time to decide to do it, you just did it. More importantly, you body is so used to throwing it, that your mind does not waste time coordinating footwork, arm and body movement or targeting; it just does it. Sort of a fire and forget system. So a good fighter will initiate and perform a particular attack and defense set of movements without wasting a lot of brainpower; once he sets it in motion his mind is free to decide what to do next/to analyze his opponent/to change the action mid-step if necessary. It is like chess. You are moving your pawn and your hand does it for you while the brain is one or even several moves ahead of that, but able to constantly react to the opponent's counter.

Ask a good fighter what he was thinking about when he threw a flat snap and he will likely say something about his next blow or what he thought the opponent was doing to evade it, etc. Ask a less skilled fighter and he will describe what he did to set it up, how he stepped, how he moved his hand, pulled his trigger finger, etc. The second fighter was using a tremendous amount of his brainpower in the moment going through every detail of the action he was performing. The first fighter just did it without having to think much about it.

This frees you up for tactical thoughts and planning and even strategic level planning. The good fighter will know a lot more about what happened in a given fight, because he didn?t have to concentrate on his own actions so much that he could not see/feel/hear/sense what was happening around him. It isn't that you are not concentrating; it is that you are able to concentrate on the bigger picture. A good fighter decides when to block a blow, but does not have to waste time thinking about how to do it or overseeing the details; his body just makes the block for him once he initiates the action.

Perhaps more importantly, a good fighter?s brain is now free to analyze what he did right and what he did wrong. Often a good fighter can tell you exactly what he did wrong; it is almost like watching yourself in a movie. Lesser fighters often have no clue what they did right or wrong. It isn't that good fighters have better memories; it is that they 'saw' what happened where a lesser fighter really did not have a full appreciation of what they were doing while they were doing it. Being able to see your own flaws is a huge plus in being able to correct them.

20) Whining, complaining, and blaming others for your problems or losses.
Good fighters are human and sometimes do these things under stress or when they are really pumped up. But for the most part that is not the case. The good fighters simply fight or try harder in the face of adversity, analyze what went wrong and find ways to fix it or improve. It is kind of amazing how lower level fighters will find a million reasons why they lost a fight, besides the truth, which is usually that they made a mistake or the other fighter simply fought better, smarter or harder. There is a line from my daughter's dojo wall, something to the effect of "Winners never quit and quitters never win.? The good fighters are typically good because they are very self-critical and able to understand why they lost and how to avoid having it happen again. If you blame others for your losses, you will never be able to see what you do that needs improvement. Not that there won't be some numb SOB who decides to ignore sturdy blows you land, but they will be the exception to the rule. And if you are good enough and they can't hit you but you keep hitting them, eventually you will win.

21) Hubris & Pride, Intelligence and Wisdom.
Most good fighters received a lot of advice and instruction while they were learning and were not too proud to listen to it. They were smart enough to be able to do decide what advice was good advice and had the wisdom to try to implement other's suggestions where appropriate. Many fighters get to a certain level and stop improving because they stop listening to others. They think they know what they need to know and will continue to improve as long as they keep practicing. This does work for some fighters, but they are the exception to the rule. Most good fighters spent a lot of time fighting other good fighters and listening to what they had to say. Just because you can beat someone, does NOT mean they don't have anything to say that might not be helpful; some very, very good teachers don't fight well anymore due to age, illness or lack of practice. This does not mean they don't know more about fighting than you ever will. Ignoring advice from experienced fighters just because they are no longer able to beat you, is foolish, they often know what to do and can help you quite a bit, they just physically cannot do what their brains know to do.

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Last edited by Winfang on Thu Nov 02, 2006 1:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 1:10 pm 
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Great "article", seriously its full of the things that everyone knows, but no know realizes.

I think im gonna print it out and keep it for a while, im sure it could be of assistance to anyone.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 4:30 pm 
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florentine
archery
I changed this to a sticky. Good reading!

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 5:15 pm 
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Interesting.


Last edited by xiao on Wed May 02, 2007 1:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2006 11:17 am 
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this is true in more than just fighting. You can apply this to many things in life

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2006 4:56 pm 
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Very cool. And very true. I'm stealing this to post in my forum. My people need to read it.
Thanks Fang.
FB

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2007 6:32 am 
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Id alao like to put this in Dun Abhon, lots and lots of young new fighters, awesome work

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 6:06 pm 
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Dagganoth wrote:
Id alao like to put this in Dun Abhon, lots and lots of young new fighters, awesome work


Some of our elder fighters can benefit greatly from this as well, myself included.

Hat's off to you, Winfang.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 8:25 am 
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Wow, just wow. This is by far the most usefull thing I've read on the boards. I am going to adabt some of these points of view into my unit. great job finding and editing that article
!!!!!!!

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2008 3:17 pm 
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It seems redundant to heap praise on a sticky post, but I'll second all the positive comments above. Spring War definitely proved to me that I'm still as impatient for kills as ever on the battlefield. :-)

-Beren

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 Post subject: Re: Habits of Highly Effective Fighters
PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 7:09 am 
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The guy who wrote that is the real deal.

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 Post subject: Re: Habits of Highly Effective Fighters
PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:12 pm 
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seeing these makes me wonder how Alexander the Great didn't die much earlier in his campaign...

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 Post subject: Re: Habits of Highly Effective Fighters
PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2008 2:22 pm 
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PLEASE check the dates before posting

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 Post subject: Re: Habits of Highly Effective Fighters
PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 10:43 am 
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Wow, this is amazing. I can tell you've been fighting for a long time. If you don't mind, I copied and pasted it on an email and sent it to my cousin, who does martial arts and is a blackbelt. He really wants to do Belegarth, but there are no realms in or around Houston. He is only 13 years old, and wants to start his own realm in a few years. He will thoughroughly enjoy this.

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 Post subject: Re: Habits of Highly Effective Fighters
PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 4:50 pm 
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Demox wrote:
PLEASE check the dates before posting


Cripes you guys, don't you listen?????

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 Post subject: Re: Habits of Highly Effective Fighters
PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2009 3:23 am 
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lawl you just did the same thing, as I'm doing.

I didn't know it was inappropriate forum etiquette to post in a sticky.

The more you know.

Let the yelling about necromancy begin.

Thoroughly enjoyed the read btw, I love the almost 'philosophical' side of fighting.

~Noik

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Elebrim wrote:
...I question why lately it seems like we must do everything that Amtgard does or else we are no longer the best fighters. I don't think it's right or necessary.


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