Question from a visitor
I am currently 1st dan in taekwondo and train 3 times a week (mainly sparring) and I used to fight at national level but now I just fight in the occasional kickboxing fight (because it's easier). But in the past few years (regrettably) I have been involved in a couple of fights in the street and I seem to freeze in the initial confrontation and took a couple of blows before reacting. I fought back but with not much enthusiasm. I don’t know why this happens because when I am in the ring I am confident and very aggressive. Yet in the street, I freeze, and after the fight, I beat myself up for not defending myself properly. Any idea why this happens and any tips on how to deal with it?
Answer from TKDTutor
There is a reason the military actively recruits 17, 18, 19, and 20 year olds. Young people have nothing, so they have nothing to lose. When you have nothing to lose, you tend to take more chances. Young people heal quickly, so they think they are invincible; they don’t think about their mortality. Young people are impulsive; they tend to do things without thinking about the consequences. When they do think about the possibility of making a mistake, it doesn’t bother them since they think they have a lifetime to correct the mistake.
For these reasons, they make good warriors. They tend to follow orders without hesitation to consider the consequences of the orders. When the leader says, “Charge that hill,” they charge without considering they may die.
However, as people get older and acquire money, property, and families and have something to lose, they tend to hesitate before entering into a risky action. As people age, injuries heal more slowly and become chronic, so people are hesitant to incur more injuries.
As people get older they tend to hesitate and think about the consequences of their actions before entering into risky behavior. So as you get older, you may still enjoy the thrill and the challenge of a controlled fight where your chances of serious injury are limited and where a referee is there to help prevent serious injury in the case you are incapacitated. But in a street fight situation, which may usually be avoided, you tend to think about the consequences. A true street fighter does not care about missing teeth, a broken nose, or other injuries. And, since they have little money, they just go to emergency rooms and never pay the bills. Once you have a family and a job, you think about the dental bills, the busted face that will discourage customers, and the possible loss of income. This means you tend to hesitate before doing something stupid.
However, this doesn’t mean that people with something to lose will not fight. If there is an actual threat to family, property, or livelihood, people will fight to protect them. They will fight a level higher than that of the street fighter. The street fighter fights for fun because he or she has nothing to lose. When people fight to preserve what they have, they will fight to the death and nothing will stop them short of death.
So, in answer to your question, you are probably older and probably think you have something to lose, so you hesitate before entering into a useless street fight. However, if you were in a fight to protect your family, property, or livelihood, you would probably act instantly and with a passion.