However, this is a difficult topic to talk about as so many people have their own ideas about what martial intent actually is, these can then get in the way of looking at it differently. But also, I probably have a different take on it for a variety of reasons I won’t go into just now. What I will say is this:
When I was a young man, I read something about KGB agents in training having to go to the zoo and stare big predators in the eyes to learn what a true killer is like. Now I have no clue if the Russians actually did this or not but I did find it an interesting concept and tried it out. There could be a long blog post about those experiences alone but again, not today. The key is this: I learned a lot about intent, fighting and myself by staring down tigers and panthers and them being totally unimpressed. But when they did pick me up on their radar, things got interesting… It sounds too woo-woo even to me and I was there so I’ll save that for another time as well (there’s a theme here…)
Anyway, I highly recommend you try it out when you have some time. If you’re lucky, you’ll experience some amazing things and gain important insights. If you can’t, here’s the next best thing, a couple videos of animals in action.
The thing about animals is this: animals are as close to “no mind” as it comes when fighting and violence is concerned, so you can take a cue or two from them. You don’t see them second-guessing themselves when they attack. Nor do they delude themselves that deadly violence isn’t happening. That’s what we humans do.
Warning: It is possible to get lost in this type of training and do some serious damage to your mind and if you believe in it, your soul. I consider some of this training part of the “dark side”, for lack of a better word. Those of you who have experience with this know what I’m talking about. Those who think I’m full of it, I wish you well.
That said, here are the videos:Make sure you play this in full HD on an HD screen. Then, look straight into the owl’s eyes, especially the last 5 seconds. You get the best results at night, with nobody there, no sound and in a dark room.
Watch especially the last jump and imagine that’s you in the water. Focus on the helplessness you feel, how nothing you can do will save you…
We can talk about “charging the threat” or “attacking the ambush” as much as we like but it’s not like we invented anything (I’m only half joking here.) This lion gets shot and pops right back up again. He looks for the attacker and then charges in, and not to just say “Hi!” either…
Here the mindset is not “I’ll take you with me, even if I die in the process.” but it is “Even after I’m dead, I’m taking you with me! Diedieidieeeeeeee!!!” Snakes have a nervous system that lets them keep going after they die. If I recall correctly, they can still bite you hours after they’re dead.
This one is slightly different. You can watch the lion but that’s not really as important here. Watch the reporter as it suddenly dawns on him things are getting out of hand and he might actually die. Look at his face and how he’s unable to speak, let alone do much but try not to fall over and become the lion’s lunch. Try to imagine what he’s feeling.
There’s a lot to say about this topic but I’ve always found it an incredibly difficult one to handle correctly. But martial intent is also a key issue in your training so you do have to look at it sooner or later. If you’re lucky, your teacher/style covers this (in)directly from the get go and things become clearer as you progress and get more skilled. If you’re not lucky, your training turns you into a bullying asshole at best and a sociopath at worst. Which is why I prefer to stay a bit cryptic when discussing it here.