Gershon Ben Keren recently published a fantastic article about reading and masking intent in martial arts and self-defence. You can read it here.
It illustrated beautifully the importance of being able to mask one’s own intent while reading an opponent’s intent (or that of a potential attacker) as key to successful attack and defence. Everyone who has engaged in combat sports is familiar with the concept of telegraphing, both physically and otherwise.
We can conclude from this that intent plays a key role in success in the martial arts. Intent is what allows you to predict and avoid attacks, as well as land your own. But this does not relate only to physical movements.
Let’s take a detour and look at confidence, machismo, honour and respect. As the old saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Martial arts teach us confidence, honour and respect when done in the right environment, but can also come with a certain amount of machismo, or ‘fake honour’. Conflict over perceived insults or disrespect can arise, when intent is not well understood.
So how do we get better at reading intent?