The U.S. Marine Corps has, like most elite military units in the world, developed its own unique style of hand to hand combat. The keys to fighting in a life and death situation are to improve reaction time, develop a “killer” instinct, and once the engagement begins, do not hesitate in the attack. Marines are trained through Basic and Advanced courses to hone their natural aggression into a series of relentless and methodical attacks. The secret to success is, ironically, to master the control of the attack.
One way to master control is through endless repetitions of punching and kicking heavy bags and speed bags. There are no “easy ways out”. You must count your strikes to the bags in the hundreds and thousands until your mind literally becomes numb with the seemingly endless drone of numbers and by constantly consciously correcting your own technique. An important point to remember is to stop training when fatigue sets in…the reason being, is that you fight the way you train. The reason you are doing repetitions is to actually force your muscles to strike in a perfect way without having to think or having the luxury of preparing for an engagement, as when you are in a competition with judges and rules.
When fatigue sets in, you tend to lower the defensive fist that is guarding your jaw and drop your punch as you draw it back from its full range of motion. You can punch and kick at 50% speed during practice, and I assure you, in the moment of trial, when you are moving faster than your mind can keep up with, your technique will be flawless and their resistance will be futile.
Most people that first enter a sparring match in a classroom setting, actually hold their breath! I did it. I’ve seen countless others do it. The best way to overcome this odd natural quirk we all have is to train with an experienced partner, someone who can pause for a moment and simply say, “breathe”. Also, you can go to the local bookstore and gloss over some books in the yoga or meditation section. You will be able to find countless breathing techniques that have been practiced and proven true throughout the history of mankind.
Yet another method of mastering control is through the quashing of one’s own ego. There is always someone that is stronger, faster, and better trained; the key, then, is to better your opponent at the critical moment of confrontation.