Friday, September 26, 2014

On killer instinct

Let's face it. We don't need to train our "killer instinct". Every animal has that killer instinct - aroused most for the two most important survival elements: food and sex (not necessarily in that order). One important point, however, we sometimes seem to forget in our discussion of the subject: survival is above food and sex (excepting those species die after the act of copulation, yet they won't act suicidally trying to achieve impossible copulation).

Now for martial art training. Some schools are fond of advocating the training of "killer instinct". They have a point and they do not have a point.

Let's face it again. An animal's response to conflict situation is either fight or flight. When an animal, for example a lion, is in a strong position, its animal killer instinct will be aroused. It will fight! When the situation is not clear as to who is stronger, for example contending for the lucrative position of being the dominant male, a contender will try its luck, testing its own strength against its opponent, and "kill him" when the situation is favorable, and "fleet from him" when the situation turns out to be unfavorable. A contending lion will not fight "to the last drop of his blood", that would be stupid. Contrary to the claim of some martial artists, an animal will NOT fight to the last drop of his blood.

Running away, in the natural order of things, is not cowardice. It is the best option in the animal world when one is in a weaker position. And we humans have such instinct too. Here comes the "trainers do have a point in cultivating killer instinct". In contact or combat sports, our natural instinct will be "flight" while a facing a (much) stronger adversary. A coach will therefore be needed to instill a "killer instinct" at all times - whether or not his trainee, the fighter for example, is going to face a stronger or weaker opponent. Afterall there are rules and referees, the risk of injury will be minimized. A weaker opponent (in strength or technique) may actually win through luck! And we applaud, the best moment of spectator sports, the underdog wins.

And how about self-defense in the street? I would say it is not a good idea to arouse "killer instinct" under all circumstances. Oftentimes, walking away will be a much better option. Needless to say, it shall be an informed judgment after the testing of strength (and techniques), either in real or mentally. As lions know about it in all ages. A final words, it pays to train ourselves to increase our strength and techniques, both physically and mentally. Worst case scenario: one might need some strength and techniques to walk away from a conflict situation. Who knows?

The stake is high

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