Knowing Your Opponent’s Mind

(Disclaimer: Don’t try this at home!)

“Soft skills” are a part of real Martial Arts too.

You mean it’s not all about punchin-n-kickin, throwin-n-chokin, cuts-n-strikes?

“Soft skills” don’t really apply to competition fighting (see previous post, Hip Show), except perhaps in very small time-intervals (such as feints and combos). Yet, they are essential. Where they apply, is in most real-life scenarios whenever power-balances are still in question. Discovering, processing, and negotiating these balances tend to happen subconsciously and instantaneously through one’s emotions, body language, verbal cues, and personal biases. That’s why mindfulness (and being familiar with those involved) is so important.

Body language can be incredibly interesting to watch. Check out the videos below!

A big cat can kill an unarmed human at will. Yet in the first scenario, the human “wins” unscathed (walking on the razor’s edge), and in the second, the human “loses” (nearly forfeiting his life).

Man-Eating Lion vs Man with Toilet Paper:

Man-Eating Lion vs Man with Bible:

It’s easy to call the second guy an idiot, but everyone is guilty of self-delusion at times. Often delusion travels in packs.

Questions to consider:

  • What parallels are there in the martial arts (with human opponents)?

  • In what kinds of scenarios and mental states would “soft skills” be feasible?

  • How can one act in a way to minimize one’s opponent’s readiness, defensiveness, and offensiveness, while increasing smooth compliance?

  • Does earning or maintaining the opponent’s respect give you more control over the opponent? (ie. through a shared code of honour, if there is one.)

  • When should you show strength? When should you show weakness?

  • Seeing that “soft skills” require much more self-knowledge, self-honesty, and self-control, in order to influence the actions of another without them knowing, could one call this [insert spooky music here]… mind control?

  • How do YOU combine “hard” and “soft skills”?

Obviously, “soft skills” alone won’t get a fighter far in an artificial “real-fighting” arena like Hip Show.

But in the arena of “real-life”, “soft skills” are synonymous with how well you handle everyday human challenges and situations. And guess what? That’s where most of the action is, and where most wins and losses happen. Check out the woman in this last video!

Please send your thoughts and comments   8-)

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3 Responses

  1. Natalia says:

    I have a real strong feeling the toilet paper would not work against a female lion :D

  2. Natalia says:

    Anyhow, speaking seriously, I am reading a book that talks about hostage negotiations, very interesting. It’s not about confrontation and threats, but more about making the connection with the hostage taker, like talking about your mother’s death, or discovering that you both like fishing.

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