Sunday, 27 January 2013



As a fitness trainer and combative instructor, I am often asked a plethora of questions regarding training and self protection. A question that has commonality between street survival and weight training is,”Can I be a good fighter by fighting in the club? or can I become stronger by just going to the gym?”.

My answer is,”of course you can”. But it depends on what you’re doing at the dojo or in the gym. The most important element lacking in the both areas is MINDSET. Everyone concentrates on conditioning, exercises, reps, and skill development. Although those are all obvious things you need, the mindset seems to be voided by most though. But this area is particularly important for the people who strive to get better on a daily basis, be it fighting or pushing more weight, ignoring this will leave a person with “victim mindset”.

Many fighter I know, including myself have the mindset and the intensity to make even the simplest things work in a violent situation. And because of this, they are effective combatants. I am also safe to say most power lifters or strongmen can tell you that its 90% mental and 10% physical when it comes to pushing inhuman weight.

The mindset is the hardest to achieve if you don’t have it already. This is probably because either your dojo is more skill development based ,which in theory people think can help you against some real violent predators. “THINK” being the operative word. Or the instructor hasn’t gotten way to connect to his own killer instinct or teach it.

With my own clients, I make the mindset the primary point of training in all my sessions. It’s probably the most important lesson I teach all my students and clients. I educate them on focusing on performing movements with intensity. Not passively. You can either “move” the weight or you can “push” the weight. You can either just punch a pad, or punch it violently.

If my client or students have a hard to performing this way. I encourage them to watch high level athletes in different areas of performance. It can be anything from Mike Tyson training to watching strongmen contest. This method of training will help the person watching to emulate the energy and controlled aggression to perform at a world class level. Another method using your imagination. For example when Deadlifting , think of it not as a bar with weights on it, but maybe something else like a car. Imagine someone you love being trapped underneath it and use that as fuel and motivation to lift. In this way not only are you lifting with your body, but mind. Continually doing this will make every weight feel lighter. Remember, your brain doesn’t know the difference between reality and fantasy, it only knows what you give it. I have designed other drills to really arouse everyone’s killer instinct. These drills allow the individual to just let “go”. Once they do this often enough they will be enable to switch their intensity “on” or “off” at will. Which is conducive to lifting more weight or surviving a violent encounter.

An individual who has good command of his intensity can perform with more confidence which can lead to more gains physically and mentally gains. The spiritual side also comes but through the physical doors first. Most street encounter is lost due to not a lack of physical techniques, but a lackluster to finish off their adversary.

To summarize the mind leads the body. Not the other way around.

About the author,
Edward Wong has been in the fitness and self protection industry for over 10 years.You can contact him at his or

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