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Self Control And Anger in Martial Arts And Self Defense

Self Control and Anger Considerations in Martial Arts & Self Defense

Self-control and anger have to be a consideration in Martial Arts and Self Defense. A state of calmness in any high-stress situation is a critical factor. It does not matter if that high stress is caused by someone's aggressive behaviour, a self-defence situation, a test, Randori, Shiai or any other high stress or emotionally charged situation, remaining calm is vital.

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Never Get Angry

I used to believe that I should never get angry. Self-control was one of my highest aspirations. Mr Spock in the TV show (original series), was a hero of mine. I wanted to be just like him. Emotions to me were abhorrent. I was drawn to songs like Simon and Garfunkel's "I Am A Rock". Except unlike Spock and the song, I only wanted to be rid of the negative emotions. As in the song, I didn't want the pain of loss or rejection but I still wanted to pursue love.

I had a Sensei that used to get quite frustrated with me, that no matter what he did, I would just smile and take it. Don't get me wrong, he would never hurt me, just constantly throw me. I could never understand his frustration, as in throwing me I was never hurt so I didn't see any need to get angry.

Emotions Got All Pent Up

The problem was that when the emotions got all pent up, as they are want to do when you refuse to let them out, they tended to come out in a way that had a detrimental effect on me as well as everybody else.

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Nowadays I can get quite angry. I still think I have a lot more control than others but I feel the need to let it all out as it were, much more often than I ever used to. In the Newport Judo self-defence program, I spend a little bit of time talking about the importance of calmness but I also spend a lot of time talking about managing strong emotions such as fear.

Uncontrolled negative emotions are very destructive and very unhelpful in a contest or self-defence or any other high-stress situation. I have a saying: "The untrained person is a danger to themselves and others but the trained person is just plain dangerous".

Strong, Emotions Has Some Positive Effects

Controlling the release of strong, emotions has some very positive effects on one in many situations. The chemicals released in your body, from the flight of fight response can when controlled, make you:
  • A little stronger
  • A little faster
  • Think a little more clearly
  • Make you less sensitive to pain (The most important)

But that is not all because it also helps you gain power over yourself and (as I regularly see in my other job as a Life Guard at the local swimming pool) correctly managed anger, exercises power over others.

It Is Empowering To Let The Anger Out

It is empowering to let the anger out in a controlled manner. But sometimes, I look back with nostalgia, on the time when I thought that, not getting angry was the best thing to do. I think that despite some things getting pent up inside me, I was a much calmer person.

I think I am going to work on being calmer instead of not getting angry. But I will never go back there completely. There is a great deal of power in managing anger.

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