Baki's latest endeavor has drove him to hurl himself off a cliff in order to "cross the line." The "line" to which he is referring to is the point at which a human comes face-to-face with his own demise. At this point, we come to see, there is a point of immense concentration that a human can draw upon. Some who have come out of life-and-death scenarios describe scenes in which rapid events appear to be moving in slow motion. Baki's mother says that, in order to become a true grappler, Baki will have to be able to use that concentration on command. In throwing himself into this ravine and forcing his body into an intense state of "fight or flight," his mind sharpens to the point in which he can act to save his own life.
I do not recommend putting yourself into harm's way in order to achieve some heightened awareness, because, if you fail, you will probably die. What we can take from this however, is putting yourself into semi-danger by sparring and competing on a regular basis. By doing this, you can become used to the endorphin and adrenaline dump associated with combat and can gradually work on bringing that focus out. You can also build your focus by repetition of your techniques, mental imagery, and meditation.
Repetition: Through thousands of repetitions of punches, kicks, takedowns, throws, and submissions, it is possible for these things to become second nature, meaning you don't have to think about what you are going to do when you fight, you will merely do it.
Mental imagery: By focusing on your techniques, your opponents, and situations you may end up in during combat, you are able to prepare yourself beforehand for things that have yet to occur. You also put yourself into a constant readiness to be able to use your weapons, should the need actually arise.
Meditation: Meditation has been shown to drastically improve focus. One of the simplest ways of meditation is merely to focus on your breathing. Sit quietly, breathe in and out deeply, and only focus on the rhythm of your breaths. This is the beginning of meditation. If you are seeking a deeper understanding, look for a good Yoga instructor or Zen master (less likely, lol).
I heard someone say once that nobody learns as fast as someone who's being shot at. When we, as humans, are put into high-stress scenarios, those scenarios are imprinted into our memories. Therefore, your sparring, should reflect that and should push you (although, not too much).
Yasha Ape- Round II
After this last bit of training, Baki goes off to fight the Yasha Ape. He catches the Ape off guard with an impromptu ring made of fire and a full force attack, head on. This first attack goes straight for the beast's eye and other vitals. The Ape retaliates with biting, scratching, and tearing moves, with little to know regard for damage done to it. It's a wild animal, of course. It fights with no rules. This first exchange imparts something very important about real combat. By real combat, I mean, life and death combat. In real fights, there are no rules and there are no holds barred. Biting, pinching, hair pulling, attacking the eyes, groin, throat and whatever else--it's all fair game! Real fights aren't boxing or mma matches and they aren't pre-arranged drills where "street techniques" are practiced against a cooperative partner. Real fights need all the intensity and athleticism of sports combat and all of the weapons available to "self-defense" schools. It is my opinion that there are very few in either of the branches, "sport" or "street" (sorry to separate it so cleanly), that could hang in the world of real combat. Not to say that these people aren't tough, but let me explain.
If two people are even remotely similar in skill and they enter into no-rules combat, generally someone is going to be severely injured, or perhaps killed. On the flip side, just because a person wins such a fight, doesn't mean that he won't severely injured in the process or die afterwords. Real combat is a road littered with pain, injury, and death.
Moving deeper into the fight, Baki abandons combination attacks against the Ape, because the animal is nothing more than a pile of muscle. Thus, in order to win, Baki begins throwing full power strikes to vital areas, such as the eyes, throat, and even directly to the animals brain through its open eye socket (that's just gross). Even though both are injured in the battle, both fight until they can fight no longer and one is declared victor. Baki lands an earth-shattering punch down the beasts throat, directly to its wind-pipe, ending the battle.
The last half of the fight can possibly be a commentary of the difference between sport combat and street combat in terms of striking. Baki seems to be referencing some saying about combinations being a cheap trick used by foreigners. This, I think, is more of a contrasting of martial styles, whereas one fights by hitting more often with less power (boxing mentality) and another is more concerned with finishing a fight in as few strikes as possible (kenjutsu or karate mentality- ichigeki hissatsu- one hit, certain death). This is more of a personal choice, I think, on how one wants to fight. However, I will say this: if met with several opponents, it is far better to incapacitate an opponent with one or two strikes and move on, than to waste time and energy trying to beat him to a pulp, while being attacked in multiple directions.
In the end, Baki pays his respects to the Yasha Ape and returns the head of its fallen wife. He thanks the Ape for making him strong and leaves to return to humanity.
That's all for today. I'll try to post another episode later this week and another workout for you guys.
Good luck and happy training!