Cheat Codes

18 Jun 2019 by gebhard, No Comments »

Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, Start. It’s one of the most widely known cheat codes, known as the Konami Code. It’s been used in more than 30 video games, but most notably it gave you 30 extra lives in Contra. This video game was fairly difficult and took a bit of time and practice to complete. Having 30 extra lives certainly expedited that process.

Most of us in the SCA are familiar with video games like these, and are aware of the concept of cheat codes. Sometimes it seems as though we are quick to start looking for the easy codes to let us quickly unlock our goals, without staying the course and putting the time required to develop them at whatever rate is we are able to learn?

The path can be super frustrating, and we all wish were better. I certainly do. Even recently I’ve left events and fight practices saying to myself, “Why do I suck so bad at this?”.

Worse yet, the better we get at a thing, the more flaws and mistakes we can see. We start the see more missteps, more opportunities we should have taken, opportunities we did take, but shouldn’t have. Every misstep, mistake and blunder can be haunting.

Moving forward on the Path?

As much as we might hope for “god mode”, a cheat code, or a download directly into our brains, matrix style.

We just have to keep at it. It seems simple, but it’s true. The harder part is not letting mistakes hold us back. Learn what there is to learn and move on.

Dwelling on the frustration doesn’t help. I know that’s way easier said than done, but it’s true. But there are ways to review fights and to learn from them.

I’ll share my thoughts on how I work to improve fighting.
Maybe they will help you as well.

I spend a fair bit of time after an event or practice thinking about my fights. After a set of passes, I’ll stand on the side and try to replay a shot I was hit with.

What could I have done differently?
Could I have stepped differently?
Would a different block have worked?
What led up to that shot happening?
Why did my opponent think they should throw that shot? If I had pressured less (or more), would s/he have done something else?
What adjustments can I make?
Is this issue happening often?

Setting priority of what to work on can help.

There is no point putting in a lot of work shutting down Duke Uberness’s weird trick shot #2 if I can’t get out of the way of his flat snap.

Focus on the simple things, the complex things will work themselves out.

Look over the entire set of fights, was there a common theme? How was the overall aggression too high or low? Was there too much or too little movement?  How was my weight centered at all times? Was I leaning into things?

After reviewing each set of shots, I start to put them into buckets. If I was hit three times in the leg, but only once in the head, and once with a thrust, I should at least, in the short term, put more thought into picking up leg blocks.

3rd Party Advice?

Now it’s time to start thinking about what those leg shots look like coming in and how I might adjust to pick them up.

Video is good for this. Ask someone to record your fights. I know, I know, I HATE looking at myself fight. I’ll see 200 things I’m doing wrong that I didn’t notice at the time. I think it’s important to try to push through that and just focus. If I’m working on why a leg shot isn’t being blocked/avoided, I want to focus on that. Forget the rest, for now.

I caution against looking for a lot of advice from other fighters. If you have one or two people you trust, it’s fair to talk it over with them – preferably people who have a similar fighting style to you.  

Choose a change to try, stick with it for a week or two.

Once an alternation is planned, it’s time to go test it out. I focus on only one thing at a time. Maybe others can do two or three, I’ve never been that smart.

Don’t let people alter what you’re doing. If someone gives advice that contradicts what you’re doing, smile, thank them and keep working on what you’re doing. They don’t have your plan.

You are going to have to stick with this alteration for awhile, because you need to have enough data points to know if it’s working or not. Sometimes that means “losing” more in order to perfect a new skill. I know a lot of people struggle with this idea. For me, winning is based on skill building.

If I’m working on a new skill and I miss my goal, but win the fight, it’s still a loss in my head. Likewise, if I pick up what I’m working on, and get hit shortly after – Victory dance time!

All are worthy!

Tomorrow, few will remember who won and who lost a given fight, but the skills you gain will always be yours.

I’m always thankful to my opponents for showing me my flaws and allowing me the opportunity to overcome them.

I challenge everyone to take a look down the long road and be encouraged.  What you’re doing is worthy no matter the outcome of the fight. What has lasting value is that you’re out there doing it: learning, growing and improving.

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