Just as actors portray characters, emotions, or intentions that may be totally different from their own, martial artists must be able to deceive their opponents. Using slight movements or gestures, a good fighter will be able to make an opponent think one thing is happening, when actually something else is happening. A good fighter will make the opponent react to an incoming low, left side attack when the actual attack is a high, right side attack. A good fighter can use small gestures or sounds to indicate a false injury to trick the opponent or hide actual injury. A weak kiai may be used to indicate exhaustion and cause the opponent to weaken his or her guard, while a strong kiai can indicate strength even when you are exhausted.
Many times stage actors, who are used to large movements, find that they are unable perform well on the screen, while screen actors, who are not used to exaggerated movements, find they are unable to perform well on the stage. However, martial artists must be able to perform both ways on the same day at a tournament. To do this well requires a lot of training time and a lot of tournament time. While training in class or performing at a tournament, martial artists must keep the concept of acting on their minds so they may perfect its usage, remember to use it, and become better fighters.To be a great sparring competitor, you should also be a great actor. Actors are adept at convincing others that they are a type of person that is contrary to their real selves. The following are some ways to use acting in your sparring.
- Before attacking to one area, convince opponent that you are attacking to another area:
- When kicking high, look low, drop the shoulders, use less footwork, and lower the stance to cause opponent to lower his or her guard.
- When kicking to middle, look high, stand tall, raise you guard, and use more footwork to cause opponent to raise his or her guard.
- Set up balance to attack toward the right, and then use an off balance attack toward the left.
- When attacking with a punch, convince opponent you are going to kick.
- Act injured to draw attention away from an attack, such as favoring a leg as if it were hurting and then using it for a quick kick.
- Overreact to a foul, such as a low kick, to draw judges' and referee's attention to you.
- Act fierce when facing a weaker opponent to intimidate the opponent.
- Act meek when facing stronger opponent to cause him or her to become overconfident.
- Act nonchalant and lackadaisical as if you do not really care, while inside you are determined to win.
- Do not overact. If you appear to be acting, you will lose the respect of referee, judges, and your opponents.
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