When I talked about this with a friend who is pretty much interested in martial arts, he mentioned this fact. When you look at the eastern martial artists and western martial artists (and the ones who engage in martial art like sports such as boxing) there is a main difference when it comes to the #1. In eastern world; the best is always the best and never get beaten. Moreover, they never even face a threat when it comes to maintaining the #1 spot.
The secret behind this is the way they train. In the western world, they train to beat the one on the top and train to take the right stance and to hit the place which gives a good score in a tournament. So the focus is kept on outside things and they even use the flow. They check their stance and adjust it to use the techniques and forget that the stance comes naturally when you it right. After becoming the best, the best stays as the best and someday someone manages to beat him. Mohammad Ali was the #1 but got beaten at the end.
But in authentic eastern martial arts, they train to beat themselves. #1 spot doesn’t get taken away because the #1 doesn’t stay the same. Even after becoming best of the best, legacies like Bruce Lee and Ip Man didn’t go bragging. Instead they kept on training. For what!There was nothing for them to prove anything anymore…right? The thing is they never tried to prove anything or beat the best. What they beat was their best. When you keep beating yourself anyone who could have beaten you in your best falls down. You always get an easy win like this and you get addicted to this endless journey.
In some martial arts you get a wooden dummy to fight with (watch Ip Man if you like). This might look dumb. But it is the very essence of the competition. Being ahead of the rest doesn’t make you any better. If you try to beat the best you will tread a path of depression just to get relaxed in the end and you will reach the end. But when your focus is on beating yourself, every achievement makes you ecstatic and you never lose the reason to be in the game and you never get depressed.
When fighting a dummy you have to do all the moves. There are no opponent’s moves to analyze. What you get to analyze is your own moves. Your own pros and cons and the very essence of yourself. When you keep doing something over and over, you get bored and tries to release all your energy to give out something else. This leads to finding your own new tactics. This prepares you for anything unprecedented. You will cease to analyze what you are up against like a monkey and start understand what you can do at any given situation like a bird who is gonna land on a branch.
Start beating who you were the day before and start seeing the “you” who were few months ago as some naïve crap. Do this several times and you will keep it doing naturally, like an everyday routine. You will naturally escalate in the ladder and you will feel awesome about you. Direct your fight at your own self and tackle down your own self. Know your own moves and know your own skills. Learn to utilize them and know where you are gonna screw things up. Your understanding on your cons will save you from critical hits and your understanding on your pros will give you critical hits.