You’ve heard it. You know how it ends. You probably even said it in the corner of your mind already. And you laughed, I know. As if behind these words there was nothing worth of your smarts. Just muscle.
Oh, the dumb traps of the unthreatened life…
There’s nothing brute behind that thought, I can assure you — and if you scoffed about it too, I’m sorry, but you know nothing about strategy. Real strategy, I mean. The kind that assumes the circumstances will strike back. That the opponent will resist. That chaos will be the only thing you can truly expect.
Having a plan, a good one at least, is never merely listing a sequence of steps to execute. When it is that easy, you don’t need one. In real situations of adversity, you must be prepared to scramble. To dive into the chaos and, like a diver sucked by a wild waters, flow with it. Or better: to roll with the punches, like boxers say.
Real strategy is made of clarity, albeit a blurry one, which I know is a confusing paradox, over what zones mean safety or threat. Of positions you want and those you don’t. Plus the readiness to mechanically navigate, without thought or instruction, between them.
Because under stress, our minds search comfort. They execute the programs they were thought through repetition. They play what they know, what they trained. No thought included. And that’s what most laymen miss. Strategy is vision, but also preparedness. It’s the ability to improvise between checkpoints, and to be able to see the oasis of safety amongst the chaotic nature of a bout. It’s having a voice automatically screaming at you to protect your face, even though there’s no one really saying it, and then, when the time is right, when opportunity presents itself, even if in the tiniest of all glimpses, you don’t hesitate. You go, for the kill.
Strategy, of the real kind, is being able to naturally seek the back of an opponent when his body is attached to yours. Or waving your head in a very specific way because your opponent won’t be able to catch your face too many times. Or deciding what situations you may consider because, despite being bad for you, they’re worse for the opponent. It’s viscerally knowing most situations, how the opponent think and reacts, so you can always be a step ahead, despite the fact you’re not putting a single thought into it.
Strategy is being ready to react.
For once the bell rings, the only thing you really know is there will be a big heavy fist coming towards your pretty jaw. And once it hits you, all those plans you have made are going to hit the floor, with the entire rest of you.
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