I've always been a fighter. If you tell me I can't, I'll die trying to prove you wrong.
R. A. Salvatore
Before we even start, remember that gentlemanly manners originated in military traditions. Combat training and social training were an integral part of each other. Even the old-school Gentlemen who didn’t belong to the military would still train as fighters. It was part of a man’s formation to train in some form of fighting, be it Boxing, Savaté, Fencing, Wrestling, or whatever other combat style was available. Colleges and Social clubs would have boxing halls.
If you ask someone why that was, they might say it was to be skilled enough to defend a lady’s honor. That is a huge misconception for several reasons. If a lady is in peril, the worst thing you can do is to actually get involved in a fight with her aggressor. Your priority should be to get her as far away from danger as possible, as fast as possible. If to do that, you need to deal with the aggressor, so be it, but the most important thing here is to get her out of danger, not to prove how Macho you are.
Becoming a fighter is not about beating people up, but about beating discipline into yourself. And here is where most people who have never trained in fighting get confused. Keep in mind there is a huge difference between a Fighter and a Brawler. A fighter trains to be able to fight. A brawler just wants to fight. For those who have never practiced any martial arts seriously, let me break it down. Keep in mind that all these lessons translate directly to your everyday life.
- You become a student.
When you fight, you fight to become better. So being confronted with a worthy opponent challenges you to fight better. At that moment, he becomes your teacher. The better the teacher, the more the student learns.
- You become a teacher.
The fact that you got hit means that your opponent is learning and becoming better. You understand that it’s not all about you, but about how you help others become better. You start to worry about your opponent, and understand that there is no lesson to be taught by abusing someone.
Each opponent is different, and even the same opponent is different every time you meet. You have to learn to read their fighting style; they body language and their rhythm. You must adapt and adjust to what works best against them. As they do the same with you, you must constantly be re-evaluating your strategy and changing it.
- You learn to control your temper.
Fighting is a physical and mental contest. You will get hit, you will get hurt. As soon as you accept this, there is no reason to get mad about it. You learn that as soon as you start fighting angry, you start making mistakes.
- You will appreciate when you get hit.
I know this sounds strange, but getting hit when you fight is a learning experience. You get hit because you made a mistake, because your fighting became predicable, or simply because your opponent was able to get past your defense. Whatever the reason, it is a learning experience.
- You learn humility, fast.
Nothing is more humbling than having your ass handed to you. You learn that it just takes one lucky shot to knock you down, one that can come from even a beginner.
As I said at the beginning, you will get hit and you will get hurt. You have to learn to get past the initial hurt, the sudden shock to the system and the fear and self-doubt that comes from being knocked down, and get back into the fight as soon as possible. That act alone makes you a better fighter.
- You learn that winning is not about hitting hard but by never quitting.
You learn that it’s not the strong fighter you have to respect, but the determined one. Anyone can hit hard, not everyone can fight with determination. What is a determined fighter? The one that fights focused the one that never gives up.