The Importance of an Uncooperative Opponent

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The practice gym is a great place to meet friends, but it should be, first and foremost, a place where you train and learn how to defend yourself. That’s why you need to be relentless and very tough when fighting your opponent, even if that opponent is a great friend of yours. Fighting him (or her) as hard as you can is what you have to do- this is the only chance the both of you will have a real chance on the street.

Ideally, an uncooperative opponent is the closest you will have in practice, to the real-life situations you might encounter on the street. Even if you might get hurt in training fighting such an opponent and even if you might break a sweat fighting them, this is the right way to train properly. Here’s why an uncooperative opponent is “good for you”:

1. So are criminals. Criminals are nothing but uncooperative. A criminal won’t stop and say “hey, we had enough of this, let’s call it a day”. A criminal will keep going as his only purpose is to see you down and defeated. A good friend might stop and say “we had enough, let’s go for a beer”. That’s a good friend, but that’s not a good opponent.

2. It’s how you become really tough. If you listen or read an interview with any big boxer or martial artist, you’ll hear the same story: they got more punches in training than they did in all their competitive games and that’s what made them great. Getting punched, kicked and downed in training will get you ready for the real world, where you will be punched and kicked again, but you’ll be able to take it in. Which bring me to

3. It’s how you turn zen. The thing is: the more violence you experience, the more immune you are to it. Call it training, call it endurance, but the fact remains that you become less frightened and less impressed with pain as you go through tough practice sessions against uncooperative opponents. Thus, getting into a fight in real life will stop being scary and will be a situation you will be able to maneuver through with a clear head.

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