The most important skill in combat

What is the most useful fighting skill?

Not without a bit ‘of irony, we want to ask a question rather absurd:

What would be the ability that “potentially” (brought to the highest level conceivable) could be sufficient (eg. for an old man or a child) to win against every kind of opponent?

We all know that each skill has its own percentual importance but we are at the game and we ignore these details to reflect.

What is the best skill for a fighter?

Let’s try to answer eliminating one by one the possible options:

  • Strength – What can serve to have the ability to break the stone, bend steel or tear the most elastic fiber if we fail to employ this power on an opponent faster than us?
  • Speed – What can serve the (alone) maximum muscular speed if we are not able to cause serious damage to our opponent, if we are not in conditions to avoid his attacks?
  • Reflexes – What can serve the reflexes of a panther if we are not technically able to have consistent, reasoned and technical reactions? Reflexes are not speed (read Speed and quickness) and furthermore, they can always be fooled by a good technique
  • Technique – What can serve a good technique if we do not have reflexes, enough speed of execution and power to release on the target? A powerful and faster opponent would put us on our knees in a few seconds

What skills are we missing?

Many but one stands out over the others: spatial intelligence. Even with the strength of a child or an old man, it always brings us to a higher level of attack and defense.

Prior to speed and reflexes, spatial intelligence allows us to understand:

  • Where we are, where our body is in relation to the other combat scenario’s elements (trees, ditches, obstacles, the stakes of a ring, etc.)
  • Where are our opponents and especially where they want / can go

In our strange game, without wasting energy, who owns a “perfect” spatial intelligence could:

  • Never be caught out, even without speed or reflexes outside the norm because a “perfect” spatial intelligence would allow to know in advance all the physical possibilities that a body has to move in a specific circumstance
  • Wait for the opponent’s disadvantage to hit him with the minimum sufficient strength to prevail (the one that every healthy man / woman owns, directed to the more sensitive areas of the human body)
  • Even use the passive elements of the scenario (the ground, the edges, etc.) as attacking tools

A note by Master Kongling – Let’s take the example of penalty kicks in football: the goalkeeper with an impossibly “perfect” spatial intelligence could, in the same instant in which the footballer performs (or alters) his kicking movement, understand where the ball will go.

Is it possible to possess a perfect spatial intelligence?

Of course, there is much to contest against this simplistic and theoretical reasoning but it is not this that interests us, we are not inviting practitioners to stop the development of all other skills to focus only on spatial intelligence.

The point we want to stress is that the absence of spatial intelligence developing is the weak point of the vast majority of today’s martial arts workouts, this is “that something” that leads us to say that a style (even after many years of study):

  • Is not working
  • Is not effective

To obtain the fruit, the tree must first be grown

What is the point?

The crucial fact is that, alone, spatial intelligence cannot be coached, it borns in tiny droplets from the experience of years and years of profound (and daily) painful practice.

Spatial intelligence must be our point of departure and arrival but by itself: it does not exist.

The combat effectiveness is given by the harmonic and consistent multiplicity of each skill (read All the skills of 6 Dragons Kung Fu) and spatial intelligence is their ultimate nectar (read also Introduction to the idea of Precision Control).

In the next aticle of this series, we will deepen what spatial intelligence truly is.

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Reply in the comments and share your experience:

  • How would you rate your spatial intelligence?

Author: Master Kongling

Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.

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