Strategy and Tactics of a Warrior

Heiho is a Japanese word that stands for the concept of strategy and tactics in combat. I once heard the strategy is what you do in the war room and tactics is what you do once the combat begins, but what ever your definition is, as martial artists we just think differently than everyone else.

I think it is like successful people thinking of their goals and action plans like a game of checkers where they are trying to figure out how to jump opportunities and eventually get to say “king me”. Now I guess this is great since the average person doesn’t even know that checkers are there, what color the squares are or even the purpose of the basic strategy, but as martial artists, I think we think more like Chess players… 5, 10 or moves in advance.

With training we learn nonverbal communication and general behaviors and eventually get to the point where we usually know what someone is going to do before they do. This understanding of what to reaction to any action that is created is the key to martial arts training, where we know exactly how someone is going to react so when the initial action is implemented, the decisive action has already been achieved, it just may take several moves to get there.

This key principle of success was stated a long time ago by one of my late black belts Michael Moffett. In his statement of “Leopards Don’t Change Their Spots”, he was discussing that when someone had certain behaviors or traits, they are unlikely to perform different than that down the road. So if you find a man that runs around on his wife, steals or lies to people, you can almost be assured that that behavior is eventually going to turn up in your dealings with that person. Maybe that is why in days of old, martial arts teachers sent their elite students to other teachers by way of a letter of introduction, who very seldom just took someone off the street and trained them. They knew that if they took in someone that another teacher vouched for the chances were good they would turn out as great students while when they took in someone that had a history of doing the wrong things for the wrong reasons, they would probably get burned eventually. If you want to predict future behavior, look at past behavior.

This unique ability to see the future before it happens based on natural laws and an understanding of human nature has been handed down to senior teachers for generations. This concept of Zanshin in Japanese means perfect awareness and is the great predictor of success and failure. I guess moral of the story, is to pick you teachers and who you hang out with well, because it is in the watching of them, that you learn to predict and understand the future.

Well I guess a good homework assignment for everyone is to look closely at whom we are hanging out with and what their influence is doing to you. As my good friend world champion Lloyd Irvin says, if you hang out with 9 broke people, you are sure to be number 10.

Well for your information, tomorrow I head for Cozumel for 7 days with members of inner circle for a “business” trip. Now we have a meeting tomorrow night but the next one is not till Sunday, so I guess I will just have to kill some time doing kata on the beach and enjoying the sun at the all-inclusive 5 star resort. I am sure that all my friends out there do indeed feel sorry for my inconvenience and discomfort, and that alone makes me strong enough to endure. J

To You Success,

Terry Bryan, President

American Black Belt Academy

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Terry Bryan