Repost: defensive sparring

defensive sparringWhen someone is projecting some need of theirs into you, you ought to know that this situation has more of the physicality of actual boxing than it relates to shadow boxing. Shadow boxing is just metaphorically akin to dealing with your own anxiety. But if someone is projecting something into you, it feels — regarding the physical nature of the sensation — more like a jab. The thing to do then is to keep moving, not to become transfixed. I know this sounds highly figurative, the way I’m saying it, but it was not until I actually started to learn this process of evading a pursuing opponent in the non-metaphorical sense — that is, in the gym — that I really understood the process as it relates to psychology. It’s really similar, because you endure proximity with the psychological opponent, and that alone is likely to get your nerves working and your gut responding to the sheer viscerality of the situation. Yet it is so important to distinguish between the proximity of aggression and a direct hit. I heard one of the main instructors giving advice to somebody he was training to spar today. He said that the important thing, when confronting an agressive opponent, is not to tense the muscles. Even if you are hit in the face, just relax the head, because the hit will do less damage when you are relaxed and you can recover more quickly from it. But the one way to do this, I have found, is to put it into the mind to keep moving, no matter what happens. So long as your opponent is unable to stun you with his or her blows, causing you to be transfixed upon the spot (and thus be a steady target for even more blows), you can probably evade most of the punches. It’s when the mind becomes transfixed or stunned because of the power of the hits, that resistance starts to break down, and you start to lose control of the situation. So when a person says, “you should really get in touch with x person” you can say, “yeah, sure, one of these days,” or “no, not just yet, It’ll have to wait,” in fact anything that doesn’t commit you to a particular chain of behaviour and reaction. That way you keep the other person guessing (boxing is a kind of mind game), and you get to keep and set your own agenda.


By the by, he main thing that hinders women’s creativity is repression of their aggressive instincts. WE are conditioned not to be aggressive in any way, and effectively what that means is that we can’t say anything that hasn’t already been said before — nothing that will upset the applecart. This could be why, historically, there are so few female geniuses.

I found a way to break out of that conditioning was by employing a technique that we call in sparring, “feinting”. Actually, this was more for my own benefit than to achieve any actual effect, although it does serve to throw the enemy off his game. Feinting sets up a psychological wall of defence for you. The more you use it, the less you will feel that your enemy can read you like a book. 

But you must harness the kind of aggressivity that goes beyone mere gender role thinking. The way you would do it in the particular instance you described is to give an indication of having intentions that are the exact opposite of your intentions. As we say in sparring, “get them thinking about defending their head, and then kick them low. Or get them thinking about defending the lower body and then hit them on the face.”

You could give the enemy the impression that you fully intend to see x about your Spanish, whilst sitting back in your confidence that you never intend to. The audacity of telling a lie can bring a lot of awareness of your own aggressivity into consciousness, which is a good thing, too. Just by being aware of this resource of aggressivity, you will feel less vulnerable to attack.

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