In the aftermath of the fight, those who witnessed it all told me that the punches landing on my gloves and arms sounded like bombs exploding.
At the time, I had no idea all the others in the room had stopped fighting and had moved to the walls of the room to watch us trade blows. Nor did I know that the staff of Krav Maga Worldwide had left their collective posts – banding together into a tight ball, as they peered through the glass doors of the Krav Maga Worldwide training center.
I was in a fight all right. The other man was an angry, powerful, Israeli that had (the day before) recounted stories of his time in the military engaging in close quarters combat on the streets of disputed and/or occupied territory. He was a multi-level Krav Maga black belt, and I was a green belt trying to make blue. Somehow, I had ended up fighting this square-jaw, muscular, near cartoon-like character – and I had found a way to inadvertently spark his anger. Maybe he didn’t like my face. Based on the way he was trying to pound it flat, that made the most sense. It wasn’t long before I realized he was genuinely trying to hurt me. Maybe I was meant to be his personal punching bag or a proxy for his last several months of anger management classes he’d clearly missed. I’m not sure why. And, this is your first lesson on the path to the flow state, If it’s not your “WHY” (your motivation for operating…your MO/OP), it doesn’t matter.
Why something is happening or someone is acting, in that dangerous moment, is irrelevant. The only thing that matters is WHAT. What are you going to do about it? This requires powerful focus and determined intention.
Don’t spend any time pausing or wasting resources on another persons “why” when you’re in a fight. Fix the problem – immediately. I recall the moment in time where something inside me, about me, changed.
The switch had been thrown, and I had entered the flow state. My blue belt was on the line, I was being battered around by a bully who clearly wanted to hurt me, my place and burgeoning stature was in jeopardy in my new-found Krav Maga tribe…and I wasn’t going to allow myself to fail. I was going to fight. And with that compete commitment, I entered the flow state.
In looking back on that fight, I vividly recall an integration of my physical capacity, mind, emotions, intuition, and spirit. The integration became a kind of singularity – like a laser concentrating on a single target. I wasn’t afraid in the slightest – just utterly resolved with sense of decisive clarity.
My concept of time was gone – there was no past or future – only the moment in which I was operating. I felt totally free, unencumbered, and filled with a powerful, immediate purpose. Thought and action became one. The Samurai called this “mu shin” (no mind). It seems as though this is both another place entirely and a powerful state of being. I was going to overcome and overwhelm this fighter – period.
In the moments after I entered the flow state (what I often call “dialed in”), I landed a powerful counter right straight punch to my adversary’s jaw. As my left hook followed, I caught only air. The man had crumpled to the ground as my first punch landed. He was already piled up on the floor – gone completely down for the count – as my left hook arrived.
That fight changed the course of my career as a Kravist and established my place in my new tribe. It was, as they say, a game changer.
How do you dial in the flow state?
Some cultures engage in “death practices” that bring out this kind of integrated focus. Fighting is one such practice utilized for this purpose. There are many others. As an example, the movie Fight Club was based upon this premise (and a host of other things).
Most importantly and in the context of this article, how much more effective could you be in life if you could dial in the flow state?
Can you turn the flow state on and off like a switch?
The answer is a resounding affirmative. But, to do so, you must be clear about your priorities, what you believe in, and the stand your taking in this life. This clarity will lead you to your MO/OP (motive for operating) and spark a fire in you that is the flow state when the time, place, context, and stakes demand it.
Think about that…
And, as always, walk in peace…
Excellent piece. Compelling writing, Chief. Are any of the current KM training modules specifically designed to get us into the flow state?