The Mindset of a Fighter

BEIJING - AUGUST 21: Servet Tazegul of Turkey (blue) fights Gessler Viera of Cuba (red) in the Men -68kg Preliminary Round of 16 held at the Beijing Science and Technology University Gymnasium during Day 13 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 21, 2008 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Imagine waking up in the morning knowing that later in the day you will be stepping into a ring and willingly fighting another man that has trained for months in hoping to inflict more damage to you than you can to him. Hopefully at this point you will have trained equally if not harder than your opponent to endure 15 full minutes if needed of aggressive and exhausting hand to hand combat.

Now imagine trying to remain calm and concentrate on having to fulfill that task ask you walk through an arena with 20,000 screaming fans, half of which are hoping to see you get knocked out cold, the other half counting on you to do the same to the other guy. You must remain focused as minute after minute passes, anticipation building, as the announcer profoundly exclaims your opponents undisputed record of impressive wins. Then the bell rings…

There isn’t as much of a discrepancy in understanding the relentless dedication it takes to physically prepare for an event of this caliber. Mental training requires the same dedication, but takes on an entirely different path as it requires, in some cases, significant reconditioning to compete at the level of a professional fighter. By default, humans inherently have instincts to survive in a way that makes us protect our bodies. Every person is ingrained with instincts and therefore doesn’t require anyone to ever to tell you not to walk into a fire, and especially not to train for months to prepare to walk into it.

So how do you condition your mind to not fall down when someone has just broken your nose causing blood to drip into the back of your throat causing difficulty in breathing? Or when you are being choked out, nearing unconsciousness, to relax and tactfully think of your next move. Well, like everything else it takes practice.

If you are a fighter, this article isn’t going to provide your mental training routine. However, if you want to live like a fighter and do what you can to mentally condition yourself to handle difficult situations with calm and control, this may create some insight into thinking like fighter.

Mental toughness doesn’t happen overnight. Like physical conditioning it requires regular training and a routine that offers stimulation of the entire body (or mind in this case) while balancing it with some alteration that keep things fresh. If you are bored, it is very difficult to remain focused and perform at the level that will allow for success.

Mentally stimulating exercises should test reaction time, decision tree thinking, and stress management. Ultimately, you don’t want to have to think about your next move, it should just be a continual flow of consciousness. Analyze all of the possibilities in certain situations, not just the ones you are deciding to enact at that particular time. If you do things the same way each and every time you lose the dynamic ability to keep your opponents guessing.

This can be practiced in everyday life. The same quick thinking you may employ in the ring should be practiced by accepting tasks during your day job, or even at home. It may sound silly at first, but even daily chores such as cooking, require a specific timing to ensure all of the components of a meal come out on time. Pay attention during these times to make sure you continually improve and lessen the time it may take to plate a meal or time other household chores. It all builds up to a healthy mind that can react on a dime and deal with highly stressful situations. Remaining calm in life means remaining calm in other stressful situations, which ultimately leads to a healthier lifestyle.

Dealing with stress can sometimes be very difficult. With every aspect of life, there is some level of stress married along with it. Understanding how you deal with these situations can provide you the roadmap to intercepting the components that trigger unnecessary emotions. Negative emotions lead to heavier breathing, irrational thinking, and unfocused thought. Identifying and acknowledging when to ignore emotions that will lead to stress will assist in keeping your mind sharp and clear. Self-centered analysis of how you react to situations can help you identify patterns and ultimately prevent repetitions that lead to elevations of stress.

If every time you are confronted by a certain individual they annoy you, you avoid them. Similarly, if you can realize that every time you feel a certain way it only leads to unresolved circumstances, avoid those unnecessary feelings – let it roll off, so to speak. Realistically you have gone through the same pattern, but skipped to the end because you already know the pattern will lead to something that cannot be resolved. Removing these steps leads to much more rapid processing of erroneous thoughts. Being able to think quicker and more efficiently translates into more possibilities being processed. Having this ability gives fighters a much larger toolset in deciding the appropriate next move in split second reaction times.

It also takes a great deal of focus. Thinking like a fighter means understanding that everything leads into, in one way or another, the goal of being on top of your game. A loss is only a loss if you take it as one. A true fighter understands a loss as a set-back with a lesson attached. It means that all of the training that led up to this point in time wasn’t enough for what you were asked to deal with. Identifying that small part, and focusing new training techniques on overcoming that will add to the well-roundedness of a fighter’s skill set. Now one less thing can take you down. Perseverance is a quality trait towards your success.

In summary, live your life with consistency. Respect others as you would an opponent. Respect the rules as you would in the ring. Thinking like a fighter allows you to endure like a fighter.