Watching my students go over their patterns in my Taekwondo class one would give me a tentative glance another would let out a cursory ‘err... ’ as they would perform the exercise. I advised my students that martial arts are not a team sport, to never worry about what anybody else thinks but focus purely on the execution of their flow. Glancing at a judge in a patterns competition is almost always an indication of uncertainty; likewise when facing an adversary in sparring the winner is the one who focuses on his own attacking strategy and dictates the pace of the bout. Martial arts are one of those activities which are all about you, where the focus of the training is on enhancement of the self.
I discovered on a practical level how this focus and stoicism can be used in real life when working as a doorman; where aggressive and abusive dialogue was a frequent occurrence. I quickly found that disgruntled patrons would often look for ways get you to react emotionally. Staying focused on the job and not getting into a tirade showed higher value. This higher value is evident when others react to you rather than you react to them, thus you are the one controlling the frame. Often I would be aware of the nearby threat but I would not even acknowledge it, knowing only that as a martial artist I had the skills to deal with unsolicited violence.
I remember watching a documentary where someone was filming a lion with his pride; the lion was aware of the humans but he would not even give a cursory glance to acknowledge them. It was clear that anybody straying into the vicinity of the pride would be torn limb from limb. However to the lion the human visitor was so irrelevant that he did not want to even acknowledge the human. The editor commented that this was probably why the lion earned the title of king of the beasts.
My aim is to foster this attribute in my students to be the ones in control, the guardians amongst their peers; the alpha males/females. This character is something that can only be fostered through discipline and correct attitude and maturity. Without this discipline and attitude martial arts would simply be a series tricks and gambits like some kind of violent hip-hop dance.
The name of my school is Indomitable Mind Body Combat Academy not Indomitable Body Mind Combat Academy; that is because attitude and what we focus on dictates how we perform as martial artists. I have been fortunate to have been in situations where I was able to see how the skills learned in the training hall can be applied to real life situations. People enrol in my classes eager to learn skills that give them control over their environment. They learn techniques, physical conditioning, drills and patterns but by controlling their emotional state, how they think and how they react is what ultimately leads to success.