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Monday, January 16, 2012


I heard two stories recently about how the skills of improvisation comedy apply to everyday life and business. One of those referenced Tina Fey’s book, Bossypants, specifically the section, “Rules of Improvisation That Will Change Your Life and Reduce Belly Fat”. This struck a cord with me. I feel a few of those points can be applied to martial arts and then back to life. Let’s go down her list and compare.
“Agree and say yes.” In Fey’s words, she means to keep an open mind and start with yes and see where that takes you. You may not agree with what is happening, but it is a place to start. To me, this means accepting what is happening right now and acknowledge it is occurring. An apt analogy could be, “man that looks like a fist coming my way. And it’s getting bigger.” It may not be physical either. The verbal equivalent could be if someone is getting in your face, check yourself. Don’t escalate the situation. Keep control of the situation by repeating back what they are telling you, let them know you hear what they are saying and attempt to de-escalate the scene.
“Yes, And...” Ms. Fey suggests at his point, we add something to the conversation. In the case of the fist above, you could see it and (re)act (to)on that stimulus with something you have practiced for just such an instance. With de-escalating, you may agree with what they are saying and offer a way to defuse what’s going on.
“Make statements.” Ms. Fey suggests now is the point to offer your opinions and be part of the solution. In the case of a non-verbal confrontation, you will be hitting and doing damage. Verbally, you can state clearly that you are going to make things right by leaving.
“There are no mistakes, only opportunities.” Here, Ms. Fey states that you have to make to best of the situation you are in and recognize that things could go wrong. In a physical confrontation, actions performed by you may not go off they way you had hoped, but you can’t linger on that. You need to keep plugging away to get out of the circumstance. In the verbal situation, you may say the wrong thing at the wrong time, so you need to accept that, apologize, and move on.

As is true with improvisation, the same goes with martial arts: practice. The more you explore, the more you are able to adapt to the moment and just flow with it to get what needs done, done. Join us at Kapatiran Suntukan Martial Arts to learn the skills you need to get out of a situation when you have to.

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