Learning lessons from the “hot stove” example

26 Mar

I’ve mentioned numerous times in the past that in addition to the Lama Pai theory I learned from Chan Tai-San, another major influence on my strategic thinking when it came to fighting came from US sanshou pioneer, fighter and coach Jason Yee. One of the examples he used, when in international fighting, many of the fighters (especially the Russian and former Soviet Union fighters) had to be treated like a “hot stove”. You touched them (scored points) quickly and quickly retracted. Over the years, this example proved very useful, and thinking of the “hot stove” expanded in my own mind into a wide number of useful examples in training my fighters.

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I frequently pose this question to my students; why do you not touch the hot stove? With a facility in New York City, my student population is literally international. However, regardless of where you were raised, in what country, in what culture and in what language, that answer is remarkably the same. Your mother told you not to touch the hot stove, but you touched it anyway! The burn, the pain, the NEGATIVE EXPERIENCE is why you don’t touch the hot stove!

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I use this example of the “hot stove”, the negative experience, in explaining the psychology behind what the Fairtex camp used to call “nothing for free” (or “don’t get mad, get even!”). We don’t just block, we ALWAYS counter! We don’t just block and counter, we use blocks that “destroy”. Your opponent should quickly learn that anytime they attack you, any time they come near you, there are very real chances of pain. Psychologically, you become that hot stove.

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Another example of the “hot stove”, very much in Jason Yee’s original vein, is the idea that when we do touch the hot stove, we don’t stand there, analyse the pain and ponder a response. WE ACT QUICKLY! WE RETRACT QUICKLY! That is why we must drill out counter attacks until they are second nature. They must be quick and natural, just like we retract from the pain of a hot stove!

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