Psychological Warfare...what motivates us to fight?...What actually motivates us to do anything is a precise concoction of a varied and diverse array of influences. Whether you believe we are simply born to do a certain thing or whether we are shaped and influenced by our environment into that role/event, the fact is that it's a very complicated issue. Understanding what makes someone get into an arena (mat , ring or cage for our purposes) and put their physical safety at jeopardy for the sake of competition, is hugely and deeply personal. There is no set of predetermining factors here. There is no one single motivator which can be switched. The basic fact is that what makes me get up and do things, is wholly different to what you makes you do things. Oh and that person sat staring at you right now...what motivates them is different again.
So what's this about? The bottom line is that to compete, whatever the arena, you must understand your 'why'. The 'what' is that which you do, footwork, speed, power, agility etc. These things are all acquired and developed capabilities. The 'why' is the emotional fuel that sits behind the development of these capabilities. Its no secret that fighters need a mental resilience, to both get through training and also compete. They need that ability to manage their psychological state ensuring that concentration, focus, determination and confidence remain high, whilst anxiety, doubt and fear are kept in check. Understanding the emotional drive that is providing you momentum is fundamental to ensuring your commitment in the long term and ability to endure in the short term.
Some people are truly motivated by the opportunity to demonstrate their worth. The opportunity to prove publicly that they have ability and can achieve something. For others it's the need to improve, continually develop, which spurs them on. Physically, its easy to identify a goal. "I want to be the fastest/hardest/best fighter ever...." Though when asked the searching question "Why?" many people just default to the "I don't know..." or "I just do..." response. Understanding the 'why' can be a very emotional and potentially upsetting experience.
Truly understanding what emotional needs you serve by getting into that arena and what caused these needs to be present may be an area of concern where many do not want to tread. It's not that everyone has a bag of negative experiences that have thrown them onto this road. The simple truth is that when you get to the real cause, the real emotional driver, people are exposed. The true driver is that one that exists devoid of ego, away from barriers and hyperbole. It's true and raw. The true emotional driver for people may well be a deep, security need that they have not investigated before and could even be consciously unaware of. It's because of these factors that they may be defensive about discussing and indeed identifying those drivers.
It is only through informed questioning, a supportive environment, trust, rapport and deep introspection that these drivers are found and yet they are some of the most powerful things that one can know about themselves or someone else.
Again, the path to understanding motivations is as individual and varied as there are eye colours and patterns of DNA.
Why we fight may well be down to some deep, dark evolutionary predisposition, although competition is a wholly different animal. Willfully and consciously choosing to place oneself in harms way when there is no genetic, hierarchical or physical advantage to be gained is motivated by something more than just genetic predisposition (in my humble opinion.) Understanding yourself is the predetermining factor for success in any given competition. Understanding your emotional drivers will give you both the wings to fly and the wind to ensure you keep doing so. Time of a bit of reflection? It's what we do!