One of the most important things you can have, if you want to be a good fighter, inside the ring or out, is the gunfighter mentality. The best fighters, like Chuck Lidells and Anderson Silva, have this intuitively in their personality. The losers don’t.

Interestingly enough, the Gunfighter Mentality used to be central to learning the classical martial arts. I remember training back in the sixties, and everything we did was pointed towards building this ability. While there were many factors involved in the death of the Gunfighter Mentality in training, people like Bruce Lee probably drove home the spike. Bruce added the circling strategy of boxing to kumite in the martial arts. The Gunfighter Mentality depends on creating an inner stillness, being set like a black mamba, and here was this fellow acting like Mohammad Ali, circling and jabbing and destroying the mindset of the Gunfighter. Now Bruce Lee would have won most any fight anyway, but everybody wanted to fight like he did, and they gave up the deadly zen stillness of the Gunfighter when they did so. Now stillness is the heart of true fighting, when it comes to the martial arts, and there are several good reasons or this. There was much interchange between karate and zen principles in Japan, and people who sat in the zen position for long hours began to see the benefits of sitting, waiting, and cultivating silence. In the silence one could better perceive, could empty themselves enough that their intuitive nature would take over. When one is silent, just sitting, when one does nothing, the senses begin to work better. Try it, just sit in a chair comfortably and do nothing for a while. The world will start to intrude on you, tell you things, become brighter, louder, more obvious. Once the student begins to appreciate that his perceptions will work better, the true martial arts can be developed. In the silence we learned how to set our stances, to sink them into the ground, and search for the angle set of the leg, the best position to spring from. In the silence we would examine the position of the foot and the turn of the hips, trying to make every single part of our bodies into responsive and explosive machines. Freestyle matches, instead of bouncing around and wasting energy, would be subtle shifts of weight and edgings forward. Instead of throwing a hundred punches, we would set up to throw one, but every ounce of our might would be instilled in that one punch. And, most important, we walked away from that training different people, aware people, patient people. The Gunfighter Mentality in the martial arts has fallen by the wayside, and it is unfortunate. I believe that if the fighters of today began developing the attributes of a good Gunfighter the Martial Arts would take a turn for the better. This might not be good for mixed martial artists in such places as the UFC, however, as the techniques might become too deadly for the ring. 

Al Case has analyzed martial arts for 4O years. A writer for the magazines, he is the originator of Matrixing Technology. You can get his free ebook at Monster Martial Arts.

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