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Learning to Fight is an Attitude

by Moogie

One of the best ways to improve your fighting is to take the attitude that every time you are on the field it is a learning experience. Taking away the pressure of "winning" and seeing each encounter as a chance to learn can benefit you in a number of ways. Below are some ideas to help you fight with a learning attitude.

Learn to observe.

Watching other players fight is a wonderful chance to improve your game. You'll see what works and what doesn't seem to work for different people, and get to evaluate many different fighting styles. You'll also learn more about your potential opponents' quirks, favorite moves and weak spots. Perhaps most importantly, you'll learn how to watch an opponent and see the shots thrown and the weak spots while you're fighting. (Seeing your opponent's shots as actual shots, not just "sword coming towards me!" is one of the breakthroughs in thinking that will make a real difference in your fighting).

Set concrete goals and challenges.

If you have a problem with frustration, which is something pretty much everyone encounters at some point, setting concrete goals for a fighting session is something that can help tremendously. Shifting the focus off of "winning" or even "fighting well" can open up the chance to work on goals that are more defined and realistic. The goal can be something you have been working on, such as getting off a specific shot well at least six times, taking two steps for every shot, or one of my favorites: " block the first two shots from the sword knight." Instead of berating myself about how much I suck, following a set goal allows me to have a good day fighting, on what might otherwise have been a bad day. I may not actually hit the sword knight, or make two steps every single time, but if I have improved a little from the beginning of the session, I usually feel pretty good.

Setting good challenges is also important. Seek out the best fighters, and face off with them as an opponent, and as a student. You will learn the best fighting from the best fighters. You may win more often against those of skill levels closer to your own, but you learn less, and therefore risk getting stuck at that level. The best fighters may kill you often and effortlessly, but they offer an unequaled opportunity to learn. The shots and technique you learn from the best fighters are what you need to become one of the best fighters.

See every fight as an opportunity to learn.

Viewing all of your encounters as learning opportunities also helps with frustration. If you are getting killed by the same person again and again, pay attention to what is happening. If they are killing you with the same shot, work on blocking that shot. If they are forcing you into their range, or knocking your shield out of the way, focus on ways to combat that problem. You can also stop them and ask them, "How are you doing that?" They may not have much to say, but they may have some helpful insights on your fighting technique. Also watch what they do successfully with an eye toward using it yourself. If they have a wicked wrap shot, what better way to study it than to watch it and fight it over and over. They may also take the time to show you how it's done.

Teaching is still learning.

If you're fighting someone less skilled than you are, you can still learn. Look at what they are doing and try to figure out why it doesn't work. Try to figure out what would work. Teaching new fighters can be very good because not only does it help with their introduction to the game, but it offers you a chance to analyse your own moves. Thinking about what does and doesn't work, trying different approaches to teaching a shot or a concept, looking for ways to help them improve; these things often provide an insight into your own fighting. Thinking about how you throw a certain shot, and why it works for you, and trying to explain it to another person takes "this is how I do it" to the level of "this is how I do it and why".

Your own skill does not have to be the highest to teach new people, as long as you are able to teach what you can and seek help for the rest. My example: I was working with a fighter practice for new women fighters. I worked on beginning stuff, and asked friends who were advanced fighters to work with those who had passed what I felt comfortable teaching. I would say that 1/4 of what I know about women's fighting came from learning myself, and 3/4 from teaching others, watching to see what was working and why, and applying that back to my own fighting.

This page last updated 11/20/00

This site is owned and maintained by Moogie of House Lionesse and House Morrigan. All works copyrighted Laura Brashear 2000 unless otherwise noted. To request  permission to reproduce any works on this website please send email to moogie.