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Simulated Victory

Many self-defense, sports, law enforcement, and military experts advocate simulations in their training (e.g. Tony Blauer, "Training at the Speed of Life, Vol. 1: The Definitive Textbook for Police and Military Reality Based Training" (Kenneth R. Murray), and "Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience" (Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi)). Simulation prepares athletes, soldiers, and the lay person by recreating both the biological and psychological stimuli and responses of a real event, i.e. a competition, a battle, a presentation, or an assault. Yes, simulation is practice, but it is practice that maximizes optimal repetition of a specific event, rather than isolating technique, developing fitness, or learning new strategies. In essence we integrate what we do into the mold of the event the simulation is emulating. This past week has been simulating the IKF World Classic Tournament:
  • Geared rounds
    All our pad rounds, timing, and knee play has been done wearing competition head gear, shin pads, and gloves. In this way the fighter gets used to the sensation of the gear, its weight, its propensity for retaining heat, and its relative protective ability.
  • Warm-up practice into the shadowfight
    Fighters have gone through their 20-25 minute warm-up, using the method they like best to raise their core temperature, dynamically stretch their muscles, shadowbox, and prepare themselves cardiovascularly for the go-stop-go interval bursts of fighting with short 9~30 second), explosive rounds on the pads. Afterward they go into 3 x 2 minute rapid shadowboxing rounds with 1 minute intervals trying to recreate the shift from warm-up to fight.
  • Fight specific pad rounds
    As we approach the fight we taper our pad rounds to recreate the event as closely as possible. Thus pad rounds are 3 x 2 minute with a 1 minute interval. They are done in a (small) ring and focus almost exclusively on the offensive and defensive tools of the fighter.
  • 1st 15 seconds
    This is a timing drill, but the feeder is geared up with more head and body protection. In it feeder and the fighter are start the fight. They get called to the center of the ring by the "ref", are given their instructions, return to their corners, and the "fight" begins. The feeder can come out aggressively (i.e. charging across the ring), reluctantly (prompting the fighter to be more aggressive), with a touched glove (showing respect), etc. All of these are to get fighters used to the most probable actions that will occur in the first few seconds of the round as well as to get them used to different "energies" of fighters.
For me this training stirs the creature that roils in my heart, boiling for conflict. The creature that loves to fight, pitting its pure meanness against whatever odds set before it. It growls and hungers to battle, to emerge victorious regardless of the odds, despite the pain, and with blatant disregard for basic human decency. It is the bad intent, the mean streak, and the cruelty let loose in a socially acceptable setting. I can't wait.

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