a martial artist uses a kali stick to strike an opponent's hand
Photo by Robert Reiff

Read Part 1 of “10 Universal Truths of the Martial Arts” here.

Read Part 2 of “10 Universal Truths of the Martial Arts” here.

Read Part 3 of "10 Universal Truths of the Martial Arts" here.

Read Part 4 of "10 Universal Truths of the Martial Arts" here.

Read Part 5 of "10 Universal Truths of the Martial Arts" here.

Read Part 6 of "10 Universal Truths of the Martial Arts" here.

Read Part 7 of "10 Universal Truths of the Martial Arts" here.

Universal Truth of the Martial Arts No. 8

Nothing beats experience.

Seeing Rickson Gracie when he dominated his matches in MMA, watching Eric Knaus of the Dog Brothers when he would stick-fight an opponent to the ground or witnessing a boxer come back to win a bout after getting knocked down shows grace under pressure.

It is the ability to remain calm in the worst circumstances. The best fighters make it look simple because they have been in such situations so often.

Some martial arts teach students to use meditative techniques to enhance relaxation and increase their performance under pressure. As useful as meditation may be, if it is not combined with realism-oriented competitive drilling, it might not be able to override the emotional response you experience in a life-threatening situation.

Read Part 9 here.

About the author: Erik Petermann teaches martial arts in Cape Town, South Africa.

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