My coach will often yell, “Punch through the opponent” — in training.
“Punch through it, don’t punch at it…”, my coach yells yet again in frustration.
Finally, my coach pulls me aside —
“You’re not punching through it, you’re afraid.”
To non-fighters this is an odd philosophy, once I learnt what it means to “punch through it”, I came to understand how to eliminate fear.
It’s not just in the art of fighting that this strategy pays off, it’s an odd law of attraction mind-set.
It’s not supposed to make sense if taken literally.
Of course, it’s not possible to punch through the opponent.
What my coach is telling me is, look behind the target — only then will I achieve something of substance.
Let’s say I am to interview for a job,
I’m stressed, anxious, I’m practicing my posture, my speech pattern…
I’m trying to perfect every trick I’ve been taught to nail the job interview.
Instead, really — what I should be focusing on is what comes after the interview.
I’m not trying to pass the interview, because that is futile — it’s a barrier to entry.
I need to “punch through it” and target the job, because that’s the goal which needs to be achieved.
It’s an intricate mind set that takes the fear out of the process.
In boxing, my fear is that I’ll hurt my arm or I’ll hurt the opponent.
The fear is what’s keeping me from achieving my full strength.
So, if I am to punch past it — only then will I succeed.
Window dressing for an interview is part of the act, but to sustain my job I need to be able to withstand the responsibility.
Looking past the interview, is a way of relieving the fakery, the act, the foolish answers, the pretentious behaviour — I’m looking at the job.
Hence, I’ll start acting as though I’m reaching for the job — not the interview.
There is a sense of logic, that deceives job-interviewers; which is why I prefer practicality tests over personality tests.
Personality tests are designed to see if one ‘fits’ the company’s culture.
When in fact, one could very easily put on a mask and train to give the appearance; the illusion.
Though the illusion might be of success, the end result is — if one can’t withstand the abilities on the job, they’re out.
The illusion would be their destruction.
In Writing, I’m often caught up in what’s in front of me rather than what I’m trying to achieve.
Do I want to sound fancy and use big words?
Do I want to get a message across?
Let me place an example of why people relate to President Donald Trump, because he plays the part of speaking unlike a politician; but rather as a marketer.
The marketer is attempting to sell an idea, he cannot sell it if it sounds too complicated.
Not to under-mine the average citizen, but people relate to what they see.
Though there’s nothing relatable to a Billionaire Reality Television show celebrity, yet there is a great deal of success behind reality television.
We know it’s fake, it’s all pretend — yet we fall victim to it every time.
Whether it’s Big Brother or The Apprentice, we live for those dramatic moments and the tension.
Of how the audience is so obsessed with the Kardashians.
There’s nothing relatable there, but the sense of viewing the life of another and exploring them in their fragile moments — creates a hook for the audience.
We become personally invested in the lives of people whom we do not know, realising that never would their “break-up” or “landing the apprenticeship” ever lead to anything of substance in our lives.
What it does create is, conversation.
It gets people talking.
We cannot wait to sit down with our friends and discuss the last episode, or what is to come set; who will be eliminated — we’re rooting for our favourite.
It’s how the media penetrates the audience, they punch through us and not at us.
Being told “I’m smarter than you”, will turn most audiences off.
Nobody likes a person smarter than them, nor do we like to feel inferior.
But, if we’re told “What’s wrong with this country? Look at my hair, it’s real.”; the audience laughs.
It’s a natural response, as a person in power is now alluding to what is ludicrous but infiltrates the mind of the audience.
“Hey, he’s just like us…”
Except he’s not.
He’s a Billionaire, and I’m not.
He’s the President, and I’m not.
He’s got a nicer house than I do.
He’s got a private plane, whilst most will fly coach.
Punching through, is capturing the attention beyond face value — finding a hook.
In the interrogation scene, in the Christopher Nolan’s brilliantly directed film “The Dark Knight”; Heath Ledger (Bless his soul) portraying The Joker employs the same technique.
He speaks the language that makes Batman feel responsible for the deaths of civilians, as he viciously proclaims — “You let five people die”.
He placed the responsibility for his actions, on the masked vigilante.
“You’re going to have to play my little game, if you’re going to save one of THEM”
He enforces doubt, throwing off Batman; making him respond out of character and reveal himself as he questions with doubt “Them?”.
Throwing Batman into a rage, he then undresses his mask as he reaches for behind the man in the Bat-suit; remarking “The way you threw yourself after her”.
It’s no longer Batman anymore, it’s Bruce Wayne.
He taunts him, “Look at you go…”
The Joker sends him into a frenzy, as Batman violently throws him around.
Laughing it off as he knows now full-well he’s infiltrated his opponent, taunting him — “You have nothing, nothing to threaten me with. Nothing to do with all your strength”.
In that moment, The Joker has penetrated Batman’s mask — he won’t be able to hurt the Joker, he needs to know where the woman he loves so deeply is.
He wants to know she’s safe.
It is in this moment, he’s asking the masked vigilante to decide —
Does he value saving Harvey Dent, the white knight of Gotham.
The love of his life, Rachel.
Forcing a decision, which ultimately leads to her death — truly penetrating and demolishing his masked barrier, psychologically breaking the bat.
Challenging his belief to protect the city, by enforcing a personal choice.
“Choose to save the girl you love, and eliminate the competition (Harvey Dent)”.
Batman falls for the bait, exposing his vulnerability to master of deception.
Ultimately shattering his delusion, that he’s out to protect the city — but will almost always choose the one he loves over them.
In politics, the same trick helps garner the attention of the audience; a mechanism through which the leader creates a hook.
Placing a personal choice rather than a broader one.
“Do you care about your jobs? Or helping the immigrants? Do you care about your own children and their security? Or the people infiltrating our borders”.
It’s forcing two extremes; using one that is personal and directly affects someone by presenting another which won’t directly hurt them.
This hook is what coaches try to embed in the mentality of a fighter,
“Punch through the opponent. Don’t aim for the body, aim for the ropes or the ground behind your adversary, on which where you wish for the opponent to land after.”
Thank you for reading!