When we think of fighting techniques, we usually only consider the physical actions.

In this article I would like to talk a little about the psychological techniques used for combat.

Not only are these techniques something you may never have heard of, the source of the information may also surprise you.

Psychological well-being is very important, not only if you are a professional competitor or using self-defense against a surprise attack on the street, but also in life in general. The most successful people are said to have “winning mindsets”, and in fact, a small rainforest has given way to a mountain of self-help books, DVDs, and even decks of cards that purport to give you this “winning mindset” in exchange for a certain amount of profit.

Good performance comes from experience, knowledge and of course a reduction (or control) of fear.

A certain amount of fear is healthy. It keeps wild animals safe and alert, always on the lookout for predators that may be lurking in the bush.

In a self-defense situation, it keeps you alert and helps you avoid unnecessary confrontations that could endanger your life. In competitive matches, it helps you to be alert to your opponent’s attacks and to maintain a good defense. But unnecessary fear can overwhelm you into inaction, whether it’s fighting, communicating, or even holding you back from taking action on all aspects of your life. Controlling that fear and not letting it control you is a crucial step towards psychological well-being. (Don’t let the tail wag the dog as they say).

One person who has controlled his fear to a massive degree is Charles Bronson, not the actor but “Britain’s most dangerous prisoner”. He has a good reputation when it comes to fighting.

A surprising revelation from Mr. Bronson is that he uses a yoga technique he once learned from a fellow prisoner who was a martial artist. Charles said he once used it to psyche himself up before jumping off a prison landing to beat up a prisoner and kick a steel door off its hinges. He now claims that he has controlled his temper and improved himself using the same technique but with a different application. (Phew!)

The Kapalbhati Pranayama as it is called is a breathing and meditation exercise that has been used for centuries in the East and has been tried and tested by many. Without going into the entire technique in this article, you can find many examples of Kapalbhati Pranayama via an online search engine.

It may well be that this technique if used by more competitors could be another ingredient in MMA to find the best martial art as the potential benefits of using it in competition are huge and also the long term benefits to your mental (and physical) well-being and not just “beating up the nonce on the g-wing!”

When it comes to punching power, he also talks about the ‘cow punch technique’. What he is saying is that you must have thought your punch to do power and damage, no half-hearted swings, but a punch that intends to to hit the target with maximum effect.

This is one of my favorite fighting techniques and very good advice. If you are punching focus pads, the heavy bag, or another target, make sure it is intention behind the strike. By focusing on each attack, you will see the results for yourself – immediately!

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