Martial Arts Psychology – Remaining stable in the face of conflict and knowing when to walk away

In unarmed combat psychology is a huge factor, it is a huge factor in life in general but how does this tie into to competing professionally in some type of combat sports? Well today at the MMA Gateway we are looking at Martial Arts Psychology specifically with regards to remaining stable in the face of conflict, staying calm and knowing when to walk away in certain situations to psychologically benefit yourself as a fighter and a living being.

In day to day life the true martial artist is always calm, ready for combat in any moment, yet never needing to start any situations of conflict, but simply use our techniques in response to the attack that is happen to someone in front of us, or to us directly: Self-Defence.

Walking away from situations of conflict is seen as a cowardly thing to do by some who are simply lost in their pre-programmed ideas of what martial arts is. but of course in professional cage fighting, in the world of MMA there is no walking away from conflict, when the cage door locks you must take on every conflict that is brought your way by your opponent.

So in life remaining stable in the face of conflict and knowing when to walk away are admirable honourable traits – yet even within the world of MMA remaining stable is always important, but there are also moments where walking away will benefit you in the actual fight itself.

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Shit talking is a big part of the game

529px-McGregor_London_2015_Andrius Petrucenina_FloydvsConor_Boxing Results MMA UFCRemember while you can be the most morale, honourable martial artists in the world, when you are in the world of MMA you must realise that you are in an industry of entertainment – that is why people pay for tickets to watch MMA and buy pay-per-views at home, they want to be entertained.

now the act of fighting itself is a part of our human nature, we are inherently drawn to watch and take part in some type of conflict – this excites people, but a big part of entertainment is the hype leading up to the fight, the build up, the story, the grudges, the psychological interactions and the shit talking.

I say shit talking as a loose term here and as a professional MMA fighter you have to get used to potential opponents saying purposely spiteful things towards you in order to try and throw you off your game psychologically and to build more hype for fight fans.

Probably the best MMA fighter to date that has used the power of psychological shit talking to throw off his opponents and sell more tickets is Conor McGregor, the man has shown expertly how to do this on multiple occasions and it is no surprise that he gets paid more then any other MMA fighter, granted he has had a whole nation help him with that, but still he is the top in this respect.

However at the same time look at a character like Rose Namajunas who in the lead up to her title winning fight against Joanna Jedrzejczyk was stoic, unflinching, confident and completely stable as breathe in the face of conflict – an opponent that was trying her hardest to get under Roses skin.UFC_217_Results_MMA_MMAGateway Review Analysis Rose

Rose walked away in many situations where Joanna expected Rose to react and get emotional, this will likely have completely confused Joanna herself in the lead up to that fight – from what I can see it seems as if Rose has developed the immense calm precision before combat the likes of so many great martial artists in MMA history like Fedor Emelianenko, Lyoto Machida and Cris Cyborg for instance.

The Ice cold fighter, the combatant that is completely calm as a breathe in the silent moments before the storm can often defeat their opponent before the contest has even begun.

Then in the fight itself, breathe is all you have this will always keep you calm in the storm of the combat itself – you cannot allow yourself to get lost in the emotion of “destroying your opponent as quickly as possible” because if you come forward without regard on all opponents you will get finished eventually.

There is moments in the fight where you will have to take a back step, walk away for a second, pull out of the pocket for a minute take a breathe, reset and see the next strike, take down or counter to your opponent more clearly.

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When your stable here you can see clearly

So what I’m saying here is in a world where every fighter and there mum is trying to imitate Conor McGregor to get as much money as possible in MMA – you must realise that Conor was a perfect storm of many factors and unless you have a whole country of natural fight fans following you, then it is unlikely no matter how much shit talking you do that you will be able to make as much money as Conor McGregor in the current MMA landscape.

Now I’m not saying you should therefore never shit talk, that’s up to you and if you can do it well like Conor then more power to you and as long as you just do it to boost the show and not to just be an idiot then I don’t mind it –

but regardless as a fighter when you learn to be unflinching in the face of conflict, to not rise when you opponent wants you to rise, to breathe and always remain calm in and out of the fight, to walk away in and out of the fight when needed and only act when the time is here and your action is needed in a split second.

When you learn this, you will make wonders happen in your career against all odds just like Rose Namajunas did most recently – Never underestimate the importance of psychology in the world of MMA and life in general and hopefully today you have a stronger understanding of – Remaining stable in the face of conflict and knowing when to walk away.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post so please leave a comment or questions below – like, share subscribe and of course stay tuned for more from the world of MMA right here at the MMGateway.

See you soon!

Marley Dawkins


  1. You did a great job of describing why you need to be stable and calm in your mind when faced with conflict. My question would be how? How do you develop the calm and stable mind? I see fighters try, and more often than not, they fail when faced with the insults of someone like Conor.

    • Is that you again Daniel? Dude you posted the same comment twice lol, see my response to your first comment 🙂

      Also these gloves might be of interest to you because I think they are really nice.

      Drop in again my friend – but please dont post the same comment twice lol

  2. You did a great job of describing why you need to be stable and calm in your mind when faced with conflict. My question would be how? How do you develop the calm and stable mind? I see fighters try, and more often than not, they fail when faced with the insults of someone like Conor.

    • Hey Daniel, thanks for your feedback  – different things work for different fighters, but as a standard everyone can turn to breathing as the best tool to keep you stable in face of conflict, be that a verbal onslaught from someone like Conor or when your opponent is coming at you with everything they have in the cage.

      If your ever thinking of improving your striking in the comfort of your home, then check this out.

      See you around bro!

  3. Sorry to say that martial arts and especially MMA these days have become about shittalking.And it’s all about money. These days fighters and practicioners don’t compete in order to prove themselves.

    Look at Conor McGregor. He’s a reat fighter, no doubt, but he is after the money, just as Floyd Mayweather, but back at the good old days it was about ambition and personal challenge.

    • Hey Tyler, yeah your right man the dollar is running the game right now and the best way to get money in MMA is by being able to market yourself as a certain character.

      But ultimately there has to be real talent behind the shit talking other wise there is no substance and no real contest of skill like it always was in the old days, Conor can definitely back up his talk but he makes a lot of MMA purists cringe.

      We have to be careful that we look after our sport of MMA and make sure it goes the right way in the future, because we have to keep the sanctity of the sport intact and make sure that it develops globally in the right way.

      Have you read this post? I highlight more about this topic here. Also if you need a great new piece of training equipment at home then look at this!

      See you again mate!

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