A particular dilemma that many inexperienced fighters are often faced with during a bout is the proper control of “pain management” under stress.
This first becomes apparent to a novice fighter when facing an unpredictable opponent they’ve never fought before. This opponent, having more experience, is elusive and is able to score at will upon the vulnerable areas of the body. The repeated punishment the opponent inflicts causes a loss of composure, and as the pain becomes too uncomfortable for the novice fighter to bear any longer ... he may falter.
I’ve personally witnessed dozens of amateur fighters in both Boxing & Martial Arts arenas that, even though sufficiently pre-trained and in good physical condition, literally fall apart once they receive even a minimal level of direct pain-causing abuse while in the middle of a competition. This is mainly because many fight trainers have not made their students properly aware of the physiological effects of certain levels of extreme pain to be expected in those circumstances.
Martial artists need a firm desire to become a complete warrior when they're under the gun. Certain individual contestants may simply learn they do not actually possess the mental toughness or enough true grit to compete in earnest.
In addition to the mental stress and high level of anxiety often associated with the fighting game, the most severe uncontrollable effects of certain involuntary bodily reactions (I.B.R.) can wreak havoc on the fighter's body and resolve to continue. This may be true even if he already has many dozens of hours of training in a gym.
Gaining a better understanding of the limits of your body’s parameters of pain management and learning to maintain control of its effects on your nervous system may actually become the deciding factor in a fight!
One of the only known methods of learning to sufficiently control pain is to simply expose oneself to it more often. This does not have to be as masochistic as it might sound … the desired results can eventually be achieved by controlled experimentation during regular training sessions with the help of a highly trusted partner.
You may try having your training partner apply slow and steady pressure to basic joint-locks up to the breaking point or welcoming a series of increasingly solid strikes until the pain is too great for you to bear any longer, thus testing your ability to resist or gauge the level of the effects.
Proper pain management can be developed through many similar training drills…
Like extreme stretching, which is often reported to be the least favorite and most painful part of many martial artists’ training routines. Wilingly bringing on such pain upon oneself is fairly difficult to bear...until the body’s muscles and tendons are limbered up enough to welcome it.
However, by continually doing so, most athletes report that, at a certain point, it does become easier to do and produces a greater range of motion and flexibility; the resistance to pain slowly begins to dissolve. Advanced stretching is a good way to gauge and learn to better control the effects of pain to your brains neural-receptors.
There are martial artists in places around the world that train like extremists!
In certain regions of Thailand there are entire villages that are devoted to raising and developing generations of Muay-Thai fighters. There, all students are forcefully instructed to train everyday for hours, relentlessly kicking extremely resistant bamboo trees until their shins begin to bleed. By an early age, these full-contact fighters will have fought hundreds of rounds.
Thai-Boxers are renowned for their ability to resist intense pain while delivering severe punishment to their unfortunate opponents.
They take great pride in this reputation!
To have them learn how to keep better focus and concentration while blocking out pain, there are legions of well-trained Filipino (Kali / Eskrima / Arnis) "Stick-Fighting" instructors who drill their poor students so intensely that their hands and knuckles often become blistered and bloodied during the training. Although, certainly considered a brutal ritual, all of this training affords the deadening of any instantly disabling pain stimuli and may someday allow the eskrimador to survive a confrontation.
In America, there are laws against undue physical abuse to prevent much of the aforementioned types of martial arts training, yet, it does still occur in some areas of the country. Some practitioners may even prefer to train under such menacing methods. They may like to call themselves "tough guys" in front of their peers? Others publically use the term "Old School" as reference.
There are further examples of pain management outside of the martial arts...
In Holland, tourists in Amsterdam's "Red Light District" are frequently astounded by a sadistic circus of brightly tattoo'ed and overly-pierced cultural street performers often seen suspending themselves by their genitals on metal hooks and chains along the some of the seedier streets to please the patrons, sometimes only for meager tips…now, that’s extreme!
Some cite the seemingly pain resistent ability of certain individuals who appear to over indulge in body arts or extreme tattooing to their own skin to be duly noted as impressive pain management.
Becoming more familiar with pain’s effects on your own nervous system will eventually bring you a higher level of comfort and may even save you in a fight!
If you are a student of pugilism, a Boxer or Kickboxer, a Mixed-Martial Artist, or any type (style) of a professional sport fighter...you must train for pain.
To facilitate a better percentage of successfully surviving a serious physical confrontation, you must first devote enough time to train yourself to withstand the greatest degree of pain to your system than you may ever expect to experience in your life.