Updated: Feb 1
The POWER of COMPOSURE. "Composure" - the state or feeling of being calm and in control of oneself.
During my professional fight career I was told by many of my opponents after our fights that I scared the crap out of them! Now understand that these weren't little punk fighters. They were world class pros and champions just like me. Fine tuned, trained, courageous and not easily intimidated especially by a threat of violence from any man, because just like me, violence was their expertise.
Even though the ones who said this to me did not fight me as if they were afraid, (like I said, brave men) I was still always curious as to what shook them off balance about me. I didn't talk crap before the fight and I wasn't one of those guys who did the angry stare down. I never tried to force any type of fight expression either. When I asked they all responded in the same manner similar to this answer,
"You scare me because of your composure of calm. Even when I hit you your expression didn't change. It's was like I was fighting a robot or the Terminator!"
I recall a fight that I had with Brett Alawazzi during the beginning days of MMA when "Striker" versed "Grappler etc... In this fight I was the "Striker" and Brett was the "Grappler". Strikes weren't allowed on the ground so this advantaged the Grapplers if they could manage to get the fight to the ground. Sometimes the Grapplers would come straight into the fight and just fall or lay on their backs on the ground so they didn't have to strike. Strategic but boring. I despised when they did this. To me it was avoiding fighting. Fighting was BANGING!
In this fight Brett fell to the ground immediately to avoid having to bang with me. His strategy worked and I went to the ground with him where I begin to grapple. He was a Jiu Jitsu expert so his grappling was great when I wasn't allowed to hail down punches and elbows on his head. Even though I overpowered him, he was able to get me in a "Triangle Choke". And it was a good one. But not good enough for this bodybuilding powerlifter!
I picked Brett up by the one arm that he was wrapped around and slammed him to the mat. He held on tight until the 3rd time. The 3rd time popped him off and I backed away and stood in my guard. Brett remained laying on the ground. The ref looked at me and ordered me to go to the ground and grapple with Brett. I looked at the ref and said, "No! You tell him to get up and fight like a man!" I knew throwing the "like a man" part in would convince the ref to push things in the more macho my way.
The ref stared at me for a few seconds shocked at what I had said. After considering it he turned to Brett and ordered, "Get up and fight!" I turned my gaze to Brett and took my stance. Brett argued for a second with the ref but the ref ordered him again to stand up and fight. I held my gaze on Brett. Brett looked at me and TAPPED OUT! He submitted right then and there. He was not going to stand up to fight me. I won.
After the fight Brett and I met up in the locker room. He came over to congratulate me on slamming him out of the Triangle. He had been taught by his trainers that it couldn't be done. He told me that he had that Triangle Choke on tighter than he'd ever had it on anyone and he couldn't believe that it had absolutely no effect on me. He said, "After you slammed me and stood up ready to fight, I couldn't believe it. I looked at your face and you looked like nothing had even happened to you!" I hugged him and then gave him one of the best pieces of advice that I had ever given another fighter. I told Brett...
"Brett. That Triangle Choke was locked in like a mug. It took everything that I had out of me to slam you out of it and I mean that. When I stood up and put my hands up in my stance, I was DONE! I was 5 seconds from falling over. If you would have gotten up and fought me I probably would have dropped just from trying to throw a punch. I had no air and was dizzy. Your Triangle Choke was superior." Of course Brett looked at me stunned after being told that he could have won if he just hadn't given up.
In this fight against Brett it wasn't my skill that actually "won" the fight. It was my "composure". Regardless of how bad I felt I WAS NOT going to let my foe know it. I wasn't going to give any tell-tales about how weak I was. And it worked.
I teach my students to never show weakness especially when they are weak because it won't help. It will only harm. Losing our composure won't make us recover quicker and it won't make our enemy back down. In fact, it will motivate our enemy to attack! On the contrary, when we maintain our composure, it can intimidate our enemy to feel weak and possibly make them give up. Composure is a power that requires no strength to use. It only requires calm.
And THIS, ...is a "way" of the "Warrior's Edge"! -Jermaine Andre'