HomeSparringHow to become a Martial Arts Champion

How to become a Martial Arts Champion

Are you Fit? Nice!

Are you Skilled? Cool!

Are you Fearless? Awesome!

Wait… are you sure these three factors are enough to explain how to become a Martial Arts Champion? Before getting in the depth of this answer, let’s be honest:

if being fit, skilled and fearless was enough to become a Martial Arts Champion, gyms would be packed of Winners.

…and since this is not the reality, let’s analayze the remaining five factors that draw the difference between a High Skilled Athlete and a Martial Arts Champion.

Factor number 5: Dedication

Perseverance and Tenacity are the first two factors that tell the difference between a Professional Athlete and an Amateur. They are not just two randomly-picked words: Perseverance is the ability to be committed, not to just doing something for a while and then stopping. Tenacity: training every day, training hard, training as long as you live: a promise not everyone is willing to make.

Factor number 4: Body structure

Regardless of the time you invest in your daily training, if your body – your car – is designed to be a rally car rather than a formula one car (meaning versatility versus pure speed, metaforically speaking), there’s not much you can do. Yes, explosive training can definitely improve your car – whatsoever way your body performs like – but in the end you have to deal with the type of car you are driving (you) and which tracks that car of yours is best designed for (Speed..? Mass..? Short or long distance..?)

Factor number 3: Reaction time

You know why catching a fly is a damn hard thing? Because flies can predict your movements by the tiniest volume of air generated by your movements. This is possible because the body of a fly is covered by air-pressure sensors, and humans don’t have this feature installed – sorry –

The above “tale of the Fly” wants to be a simple metaphor to show that both Focus and Reaction Time, which can be lower or higher according to each of us individually, play a fundamental role in the strategy of a fight, and sometimes does not matter how physically and technically prepared you are: flies don’t need any training to fool us!

Factor number 2: IQ (Intelligence Quotient).

Martial Arts Intelligence IQHave you ever assembled a Personal Computer? Even you haven’t, try to imagine to purchase the most recent and expensive Computer Hardware on the market, but with just one big difference: you are going to install an obsolete Operating System on it.

The OS you decide to install, which you already know is not the last version on the market, won’t possibly unleash the full potential of this brand new set of components you just bought, voiding in less than one second both the effort and the money you have invested. The Operating System of your body can ultimately be seen as your Intelligence Quotient (IQ).

Problem solved: having a high IQ means to play at the best of your human possibilities.

It’s a shame that, if we think of us as Computers, our operating system is installed with no option for us to change it: we are just given a small margin for improving it. Which means (and it’s sad) that you can kill yourself with hours of brain training exercises everyday, but you will never become a genius.

This IQ thing also means that physical training and brain training are mutually involved, as the smarter your are, the higher the chances you strategy will work on the battlefield.

Being smart translates into things such as:

  • quick adaptation to new situations
  • being able to chain complex techniques as you are in full control of them
  • multi-tasking abilities and, ultimately…
  • …a higher level of intuition, which is super-good news in combat.

In the end, being naturally smart is a clear advantage, as whatever technique you think you have mastered, you know it will be supported by a powerful strategy.

“being  smart” can be improved throughout our life, but when it comes to our IQ, that is basically our chassis number: there’s not much we can do.

How to become a Martial Arts Champion

Fabio MarcassoliFactor number 1: Lacking Empathy.

This one is tought to digest: do you know why good guys never win? Let’s put it in another way: have you ever seen (or met) a Martial Arts Champion that is also a good hearted person? No, period.
Even if you have, he probably hasn’t gone too far in his career. Why? The reason is that lacking empathy boosts your fighting abilities for a series of reasons:

  1. you just want the other to be knocked down.
  2. you just don’t care of any consequence.
  3. you just want to win.

The above three reasons can be summed up in just one word: having no emotion.

On the other hand, there’s a downside of having empathy:

If you are equipped with even just a tiny amount of humanity – sorry to say – that loving side of yours will be your defeat.

Ego and Arrogance, as often seen in past and modern fighting sport tournaments, is a widespread component. Don’t get me wrong guys: one thing is having a fearless and warrior-like martial spirit, another thing is crossing the line of mutual respect and self control as seen multiple times before, during and after modern martial arts matches.

A compassionate and humanity-based personality, unfortunately, just works against the outcome of a match but – hear me out – this can turn out to be the most effective and lethal weapon in real life, where fighting will be no longer an option to competition, but a matter of obligation for YOUR SURVIVAL.

In a scenario like this, your love and compassion will boost your strength because you KNOW that there’s a deeper reason why you are fighting.

It’s easy concept to understand: pretend that, before an UFC match, one of the two fighters deliberately hits the other opponents’ girlfriend (or wife, or sister, or any of your choice), whom ironically has been invited into the cage: you will probably see a different side of the bout, along with its most gruesome outcome.

The deep Morale of all this writing.

Some people have the luck of receiving the gift of a Fast-Twitch body, a high IQ brain, perfect genetics, and an environment supporting their personal goals: they clearly are more facilitated than others with same aspirations. These others don’t have the luxury of having this blessing, yet they work their butt off the same way for reaching their goals.

Don’t judge the outcome of a fight or a competition merely on which arm is raised in the air: Nature does her selection and, like it or not, some individuals’s cards are better than others’. Such is life.

What counts, in my honest and most passionate opinion, is how we decide to use our cards. Training and living at the best of our capabilities, no matter how bad our cards are, makes us Winners regardless.

Fabio Zambelli
Fabio Zambelli
Founder of the Shunlian Shenghuo Kungfu Academy - Master Craftsman of Heart of The Orient - Designer of Martial Arts Explained



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