Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Random attributes - adaptability

Let me say right away, the term "random" in the title simply means that I will be randomly addressing the subject of some attributes in the development of one's fighting prowess. Obviously, some of them will be physical, some mental etc, and while I have no intention of ranking them by any particular criteria, it seems fitting to start off with adaptability, as that one (as I see it) seems to be the "central governor" and really is the key of whether other attributes you have will serve you right.

The funny thing is that although it may seem at the first glance that having a high degree of adaptability makes somebody able to operate well in most situations, I believe it is more specific than a lot of people would think. Namely, although some underlying psychological mechanisms and physiological processes are certainly same over a wide span of situations, the very fact that it is possible to train in order to develop one's adaptability indicates it will be improved over the range of trained stimuli and encountered environments/situations. For example, being easily adaptable to temperature changes does not necessarily entail having no problems adapting to a ground fight if you are only trained in some sort of kick-boxing system, or adapting to the new working environment.

That said, let's get to the main point. Really, the bottom line is that if you want to improve you adaptability in fighting, you simply have to expose yourself to as many related challenges as possible. Now, simple does not mean it is easy, right? In seeking to be functional in various phases and ranges of combat, you need to address all of their pertinent challenges and problems, and there are different ways to do it. First, while it is easy to fall into the trap of "ultimate universal fighter" and thing you need to train everything (or dismiss the point of training altogether as you will never have enough time to do it all), it is more rational to ponder on the specific demands of your specific situation. You know, the commando underwater scuba fighting may sound cool, what is the probability of you ever ending up in that kind of situation? So, do not miss the tree for the wood, and focus on what is most likely for you...if time and energy permits, you can then expand the proverbial "toolbox". After all, having a laser cutter is nice, but you won't need it as a carpenter or a shoemaker, or a mason. A hammer on the other hand...

Can you even fit it all into your box?
Having many tools may also be counter-productive. See, sometimes they cannot all be squeezed into the toolbox you have, i.e. if you do not train properly in the utilization, some "gear" will just clutter and eat up your valuable space. So again, be very about what you take and where do you put it.

OK, so you have identified your needs. How do you choose proper tools for those tasks? Now, there may be (again) more than one way to address this issue, but here's my take. Everybody will have some sort of preference when it comes to how we tend to fight (if able to choose in the first place). see what it is, and by that I mean train and REALLY strive to be objective about what your natural good attributes are, and then build on those. Do not base your decision on how you would like to look like in a fight. Also, yes - I am all for  working on your weaknesses, yet... Neglecting your "holes" is risky, but disregarding your strengths is plain stupid.

The way I see it, set up a nice, strong "game" based on your natural preferences, and then work to "plug the holes", so the water keeps flowing where you want it. To be less metaphorical - develop some strong combative aspects and then seek to find the way to tackle the weaknesses in such a way to support your strong aspects. For example, if you are really good in the standup striking range, your main grappling focus should be on defending the takedown, escaping the ground holds and getting back up on your feet, not hunting for the submission of some sort. Vice versa, if you forte is clinch, then you really need to develop good distance bridging approach, not working on your high kicks.

If you do it right, all your tools come together to form a sturdy structure, instead of just being a heap of unrelated pieces of material. In other words, if you have a right training methodology (engineering), it will be easier to find out which peaces fit together and how to make them into formation (building).


Once you have some kind of structure in place, you will need occasional work on it - cleaning, renovations, redesigning etc. However, the main thing about the adaptability is that once you have your "residence" you just need to modify it depending on the situation, not change it altogether.

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