Over the years, we’ve tried many different ways to talk about “the attitude” you have to have to enter into violence and violent conflict. Most recently, we’ve talked about “intent” and “cause-state.” In the former. you have to want to do it, and in the latter, we give you all the reasons why you want to be doing rather than getting done.
In the end, all the different ways of talking around the subject swirl into the singular drain of ego. Namely YOU.
Violence is all about YOU, all the time. It’s about what YOU want, what YOU’RE doing to the other guy, and getting all of that done to the exclusion of all else.
The other guy has no say in the matter. If he’s busy doing something, that’s his problem, not yours. You are here to commit base acts of savagery on him, and he’s just here to provide motive and venue. His only hope is to escape or kill you. If he gets away, it’s merely annoying. If he kills you, well, by definition there was nothing you could do — so don’t sweat it.
This leaves you free to concentrate on YOU doing things to him. If he tries to block or counter, he’s just delaying the inevitable. If he gets in the way or screws with your technique, then do as my brother says and “take it out on him when you get him on the ground.”
Whatever you worry about is the most likely thing to happen when it comes to violence. If you’re worried he’ll hit you, he will. If you’re worried he’ll “counter” you, he will. If you worry about blinding him, you will.
And then things simplify all by themselves.
Now I know we say to leave the ego at the door when you step out onto the mats, and this whole discussion sounds like we’re going back on that ideal. It all comes down to which definition of ego we’re using. The ego that you need to leave at the door is the stupid one that gets you dragged into stupid confrontations, the one that says you’re invincible, and that smaller, lesser people can’t touch you. It’s the paper mache version of you filled with hot air and arrogance. That’s the ego you can’t train with, because you’d find it laughable that Perfect You should deign to take turns.
The ego I’m talking about is the unique perspective that is you, the meat in your head.
Look at is this way, if there’s a YOU and a HIM in this situation (or many other hims), what’s most important?
a) YOU doing things to him, or
b) HIM doing things to you?
You can really only pay attention to one at a time… and the obvious answer is a).
The common retort is, “Well, you better pay attention to what he’s doing if what he’s doing is bad news for you.”
Guns clear that idea up: if he’s got a gun and is shooting at me, what’s more important, the fact that he’s shooting at me, or me shooting back and putting a bullet through his brain?
If I train to be first, and better, then I win. You train to be first and better by making your desires your outcomes on your turn. By making YOU the most important factor there.
This is not the false ego, this is the self backed up by skill. And then exercised for two turns each on the mats. This is why the most dangerous training situation is two instructors who both think it’s their turn. Someone always gets it first and better and the other guy has to lay down. Or go to the ER.
Going defensive, blocking, countering, backing up, “fighting” stances are all a sucker’s game. All of those things are about the other guy, and not about YOU. Your thumb in his eye, your knee in his groin, your elbow in his neck — these are what matter. And the one thing they all have in common is YOU.
Anything the other guy does is just another opportunity for you to hurt him. If he throws a punch, he’s poking targets at you and throwing himself off balance. Where some people see danger, I see a crippled arm and an easy throw. If he brings a weapon, then in three to five seconds, it’s mine. Problems are merely invitations for solutions.
It all starts — and ends — with YOU.