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Awareness is knowing what is happening around you. In a fight, you would think that you would be aware that you are in a fight, but sometimes that is not the case. You may think the situation is just a disagreement, but the other person may see the situation as an affront to his manhood and that the only way to correct the situation is to beat you down. You must learn to be aware and change your tactics to fit an evolving situation. In the ring, you must be aware of your opponent’s mental attitude, physical condition, and skill level so you may change your tactics to suit the situation.

Stages of awareness

Wait and see

This refers to the fighter who waits to see what will happen. Many fighters will always be stuck here; bogged down in analyzing specific techniques for specific situations, always waiting for adversaries to move first, and looking to see what they should do after being attacked. Waiting to see what happens leads to anticipating something that doesn’t happen. Fighters who are good at fakes and feints easily beat this type of fighter.


This is an improved form of Wait and See. The fighter may seem to move quicker, almost as if moving "with" the opponent rather than in response to the opponent’s movements. The fighter is more aware of the opponent's weight distribution, not just relying on movements of limbs to initiate a reaction. The fighter watches for a shoulder dip or rise, eyes widening, cocking before strikes, bodyweight shifting to one side before a kick is delivered, etc. The attitude is defensive and there is still the danger of anticipating.


At this stage, the fighter has learned to be aggressive and have a fighting spirit. Perception owes itself to touch as well as vision. You must be close, and feel and sense, as much as you see. This makes it easier to perceive when there is an "opening," either physical, mental, or both, and to exploit the opening and finish the fight. Attacks are often neutralized with the natural use of the forearms, elbows, etc. Some argue there is more danger of being hit when in close, but there is more danger in staying away. At long-range. you are a target. At close-range. you are a threat.


If you know conflict cannot be avoided, then strike first. This gives you the element of surprise.  It’s dangerous to let an adversary you do not know strike first. The opponent may be faster, stronger, fitter, etc. You must attack to win, so you might as well attack first. This requires a heightened state of awareness and control of the emotions. You cannot give away your intentions. You are completely relaxed, non-threatening, but ready to attack first, fastest, and hardest.

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