Ontario grappling Alliance
  Toronto Grappling Club
By Joseph de los Reyes (Toronto Grappling Club)

Every great fighter is said to have a personality conducive to fighting. It can be characterized in many different ways: ferocity, calm, determination, etc. While there is no absolute archetype of the perfect fighting mind, it is universally agreed that a fighter’s frame of mind is essential to victory. We will call this ssential part: Their “Fighting Spirit”.

Your Fighting Spirit is the frame of mind you use in order to get what you want. They are the thoughts and emotions, which power you when you have to get something done. It shows up in your everyday life in
different degrees (whenever you are trying to overcome laziness, fear, lethargy, confusion etc.). It shows itself the most when your physical safety is in danger and you must fight to preserve it.

Everyone has a Fighting Spirit. You can see this because everyone wants something … and they will use this internal energy to get it. Some people are born with powerful fighting spirits. Others are not. These spirits can evolve and change over time. It is dynamic energy where its sole purpose is to control its environment. Someone who is powerful one day can be weak the next, and vice versa.

A Fighting Spirit will react differently to different people’s combative energy (i.e. you may react differently to someone who is overly aggressive than to someone who is more passive aggressive). Which Spirit will win depends wholly on which one is stronger in its current situation.

So now we come to the question: How do we develop and train this integral part of our inner fighter? Everyone is unique, so the perfect Fighting Spirit for you is the one comprised of the thoughts and feelings that best help you capture your ultimate goal.

Here are 5 tips to help you develop your own Fighting Spirit:

1) Train Hard.

Usually, the person who wins the fight is the person who trained the hardest. Countless drills have made techniques second nature, and extreme conditioning has given the fighter seemingly boundless physical energy. The fighter knows his skills are sharp and his body is strong. This combination gives the fighter Confidence. Confidence can be seen in many great fighters Fighting Spirit. Confidence is the inner knowledge that you can make whatever you want to happen, happen. Confidence can be called up at anytime simply by believing in yourself.

But you must realize that confidence and training are equally important. If you have confidence and no training, then you are ignorant. If you have the training but no confidence, then you will still walk onto the mat emotionally weak.

Augment your spirit with confidence based in your training and you will be a force to be reckoned with.

2) Properly focus your Mind.

In order to develop the thoughts and emotions necessary to win, you must constantly center your mind on the things you want and what you need to do to attain them. If the Fighting Spirit is the source of energy that allows you to take action and win, then it is your thoughts and emotions that are the building blocks to it.

Imagine someone who has years and years of defeats. They will usually form a belief system that says they were meant to lose. Whenever they walk into a competitive situation they think that the outcome will be a loss, and it usually is so. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Now imagine the opposite, a person who expects to win. He walks is strong and usually performs well because of it. His Fighting Spirit is one that expects a win because it knows he can do it.The amazing thing is that you do not have to have all these years of experience to get that same feeling. The brain does not differentiate between what is real and what is imagined. If you focus your mind on how you will win and how it looks like when you win, your brain will assume that it already happened and begin to form a belief system based on it. Do this practice everyday and you will build an emotional core that will power you towards a winning lifestyle.

3) Body Training.

The Mind/Body Connection is the easiest way to develop Fitness and the Fighting Spirit.

You can see how your Mind affects your body simply by observing your facial expressions, posture and movements. Whenever you are happy, you will see yourself smile and move in a more relaxed manner. The opposite will happen when you are upset. But the converse is also true. How you hold your body will affect how you feel.

Now try this: Put the biggest most genuine smile on your face and hold it for 1-2 min straight. Observe how you feel. Most people feel silly at first, but then you begin to remember times when you smiled and then the feelings associated with that time. You have effectively summoned the feelings of happiness.

Knowing this, you can train yourself to call up your feelings of strength and power. Just change your facial expression, posture and movement to match those of when you felt strong and powerful. When you do this, you will have engaged the thoughts and feelings necessary. The more you do this, the easier it becomes to activate those thoughts and feelings at will.

4) Ask yourself the RIGHT questions.

Asking yourself questions triggers a part in your brain, which automatically gives an answer. Try this now: Calm yourself and ask your mind any question. It will automatically respond. You may not hear it right away, but it’s there. It may give the right answer; the wrong answer or it’ll just say, “I don’t know”. But the fact is, it will always respond to you. This is because your brain will always work for you. It’s built to help you throughout your day.

Questions trigger the part in your brain which automatically comes up with answers. The brain does not try to give the right or wrong answer … it simply returns information that matches the original query. If you ask for reasons why you will lose, it will come up with reasons why you will. If you ask it not to be afraid, all it hears is “afraid” and it will come up with reasons why you should be afraid.

Imagine that you keep asking yourself these wrong questions for one whole year. You will build habits and beliefs that will make you convinced you would lose and also turn you into a fearful person.

Now, imagine that you spent that year asking yourself the right questions. You asked yourself: What is the best way to train to win? What things about myself make me confident? Why will I win? All of a sudden you’ve built habits and beliefs that strengthen your Fighting Spirit.

5) Master your fears.

Fear is the biggest emotional obstacle to overcome. It is the opposite of hope. Fear happens when you focus on the outcomes you do not want to happen. Think of something that you cherish … then imagine it gone. Think of a time when you were emotionally crushed … then think of it possibly happening again. They are disturbing thoughts.

We all have fears. But fear is the root of courage. Courage cannot exist without having to face a great fear, and courage is another key quality to a powerful Fighting Spirit.

Once you accept the possibility of the negative outcome, let it pass from your mind. Continue to focus on the thoughts and feelings that will help you create your desired outcome. Know that regardless of outcome, you will have proven yourself courageous. Know that afterwards you will have made yourself stronger and more capable to fight any fight in the future.

Following these 5 training tips will not only help you on the mat, but will help you through life. Ultimately we practice and train combative disciplines in order to gain inner strength, happiness and peace. If these are not your goals, then your victories will be empty and your time wasted. Use these methods to become the best grappler you can be, and become the highest evolution of your Self.

Good Luck.