Opponents Are People, Too

I noticed something about my SCA fighting recently: I don’t seem to take into account the person I’m fighting.

During a pause in our bouts, my knight said something to the effect of me “knowing what shots he has,” which I interpreted in two ways. First, I should know what shots he’s able to throw from his usual guard position. Second, that I should know what kind of shots he personally uses. And that’s when I realized: I don’t really keep track of what other people do during their fights.

Maybe it’s because I don’t tend to think much when I’m fighting, but I don’t really tend to account for my opponent’s abilities or habits. I go out there, do my thing, and hopefully come out ahead. But I’ve been fighting long enough you’d think I’d have started making a mental Rolodex of the various people I fight, because I’m pretty sure they’re doing it for me.

And maybe I do do that to a certain extent. After all, I’m at least aware of someone’s relative skill level, or how hard they tend to hit, or if they’re left handed. But the idiosyncrasies of their personal styles? I don’t really think about that much. At least, not consciously.

So I found myself with an interesting proposition: maybe in my quest to not think too much while fighting I’ve become too mentally disengaged. Maybe if I take the time to do a bit of research and planning I can get over some of those last few hurdles. After all, I’ve been fighting long enough that I’m sure I do some of this on an unconscious level. Maybe it’s time to start thinking a bit more while I fight.