Thursday, 17 June 2010


This weeks article is about Control, or more specifically, Self-Control.

Self control is the ability to control one's emotions, behaviour and desires in order to efficiently manage one's future. In psychology it is sometimes called self-regulation.
No truer is this than when faced with a tough sparring partner, who seems able to place his gloves on your face at any moment he so chooses.Whilst your deficiency in technical ability may have no answer for this barrage of attack, your own self control can determine how you respond and react to this unwelcome punishment.

Many will have heard the phrase, “Being able to take a shot” and most of the time this is centered around ones ability to receive a heavy blow and not buckle or slip into unconsciousness as a result.

I prefer to consider ones ability to be able to take a shot is someone who will not react emotionally or have their following course of action directed and governed by this temporary defeat.

"As strong as my legs are, it is my mind that has made me a champion."
- Michael Johnson

As a fighter, the best thing that can happen in a fight is for your opponent to allow your connecting punches and strikes to effect their emotions, enraging them or frustrating them, because, when this happens, they become even easier to hit.

When an opponent loses their temper or becomes annoyed with your ability to tag them, their technique becomes less important than evening up the score and so their form becomes more scrappy and more open.

It’s this simple lesson that we can all take and apply to all of our challenges, whether that be a more skilled and talented sparring partner, or life’s punches and kicks that never seem to end and always seem to find their target.

Developing the self-control to refrain from reacting, enables us to be able to think rationally and therefore Act rather than React. As a result, when we take conscious action, it will be more focused, decisive, functional and controlled.

When I think about control I only have to look at my other day-job to see just important this is.
As you know, I work for a formula 1 team.

The formula 1 car being the product this team design and then race. This vehicle is fantastically astonishing and impressive in many ways, none more so than the sheer power and performance it can generate.
With an ability to accelerate from 0 to 100mph in less than 3 seconds, and top speeds of nearly 200mph, it is an extremely powerful machine.

And so, with all of this power, it needs great control in order to harness is, direct it and not let it go spinning off the track.

Control comes from many elements, one of which being the steering wheel, which is estimated to cost around £30,000 to manufacture and over 1 week to assemble. A complex and obviously, important piece of equipment, essential to the control of the car.

It’s this analogy, the value placed upon the need for total control, that I relate back to my martial arts and those skills developed in sparring and other areas of training.

As we become more talented and gifted martial artists, we develop more power, and this power needs to be controlled. Not only when on the mat or in the ring but also when we are out and about in our everyday lives.We are learning to become fighters and with that comes great responsibility to control our emotions, our behaviour and not allow situations to dictate our reactions.

Self control can be developed in many ways, not just in sparring and being able to take shots without responding inappropriately.
How about taking yourself into the gym when you would rather be supping beer down the pub?
How about pushing yourself for another round on the bag when every inch of you wants to call it a day and hit the showers?

And if you can do that in the gym, then why not in every other aspect of your lives?
Sparring is not just teaching you how to avoid being hit – there are far greater things to be learned in this simple exercise.

Who’d have thought that being hit in the face could deliver such wonderful lessons?

“The happiness of a man in this life does not consist in the absence but in the mastery of his passions.”
- Tennyson

Stay safe, have fun


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