Questions for the Audience: Kill Mode

Say you’ve got a Champions fight, or just a tough opponent in a tourney (or, just, any opponent, in a tourney) — How do you get into the mental place where you are most ready to get some killing on?

4 comments to Questions for the Audience: Kill Mode

  • Dante di Pietro

    I pace a lot to get my blood moving. I have a very low resting heart rate (40-45 bpm) so if I go in 100% cold my reflexes aren’t especially good.

    From a psychological standpoint, 99% of the time I work to execute technique. I don’t have an opponent, but a puzzle to solve. I totally dehumanize my opponent, which allows me to maintain my composure and have fully settled nerves. It takes a lot to mentally take me out of my game. An obvious example was when I snapped Connor’s sword in the SJ semifinals. I was 21-1 before that and up 1-0 against him, but really couldn’t perform well in the next two fights.

    For Champions’ fights, I do more or less the same, but I let my natural inclinations of crush, dominate, and destroy have more sway. I’m usually working to keep that under control, so I hold back in most of my fights (thus the clinical focus on technique).

    If I get invested in the fight or there’s something at stake, I’m much more explosive and violent. In my 6 times as a champion (WoW x 2, Kingdom Crusades x 2, Pennsic x 2) there have only been a couple fights where I’ve only hit my opponent once, at least one where I landed 3 different kill shots just to the head, and one where I hit my opponent 5 or 6 times in succession just to be sure.

  • Jack Marvell

    I’m still working on the mental game. As I’ve gotten more skilled, it’s become harder and harder for me to go into automatic “I’m going to eat your face” mode. For example, I’m terrible at fighting people I’ve trained. The second best mode, though, is getting pissed when someone mouths off and deciding I’m just going to kill them rather than fight them.

  • Dominyk

    My philosophy on this can be summed up in one word: practice.

    When I was a young fencer I knew that I fought a lot better when I mentally “hulked up” so to speak(see Dante’s answer). I knew that in order to win, or to even put myself in a position to win, I had to be firing on all mental and physical cylinders. So I broke it down and had to figure out what exactly it meant, for myself, to be mentally locked in.

    And I realized that “fighting to get a win” was a skill that had to be practiced, the same way you would practice a lunge. I had practiced footwork and bladework 6 ways from Sunday. But I didn’t practice bringing all of the techniques I had learned together towards one goal. Sort of mentally gluing all the pieces together so that I could use whatever technique was called for. I would just do drills/pickup fights and then go to a tournament and hope for the best.

    So at practice I started taking about half of the pickup fights and PRACTICED getting in to tourney mode from a mental standpoint(I still do this at every practice). A large aspect of these fights is resisting the urge to get creative, if there is an opening I take it with the most efficient technique, if my opponent has a weakness I exploit immediately.

    As time went on it became easier and easier to summon this mentality. And I should note that while this was a mental state, it was not an emotional one. It is almost clinical in how it feels, like I am analyzing a puzzle. Emotion heightens my execution, I get worked up over the finals or Champions battles just like anyone, but now I consider it a bad thing to HAVE to be worked up in order to perform.

    So to answer you question I would say that instead of working my self UP in to a fighting frenzy, I worked and practiced to make “fighting mode” closer to my normal mindset. The results speak for themselves.

  • Alaryn

    I try to treat every fight as if it is a real life and death situation. I , as was said earlier, “kill rather than fight”.

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