Kill Face vs Kitten Face

This is the first time I came across “Enter the Dojo” which is an online mocumentary-style show about martial arts. I am thoroughly entertained by it. First the funny stuff and then I’ll write a couple of related but more serious comments that this video reminded me of.

“Having a good ‘kill face’ is like walking around with a loaded gun in your pocket, only it’s not in your pocket… it’s on your face.”

That pretty much says it all right there. My favorite part of the above video is the one guy who is completely unaffected by the “kill face” and the girl that says she “likes kittens”.

In all seriousness, I think facial expressions and general attitude are very important in competition. I believe there isn’t one correct way to carry yourself. What’s important is that you maximize the focus, minimize distractions.

For me, the most effective “face” is a relaxed one. No matter how tired, angry, or excited I get in competition, I try to maintain a calm expression. This isn’t so much for anyone else, but for myself to help relax and ride out the storm. I’m not sure why but it helps me to almost meditate when I’m doing something streneous like grappling, sprinting, etc. It lets me watch the “pain” and let is pass over me. That’s sounds like hippie crap, but it helps.

One problem I have is that I get too friendly before the match. I think being friendly (for me) is a distraction (if it’s right before a match). I’ll shake hands. I’ll nod. I’ll even say “good luck”. But having a conversation is just not a good idea for me, at least not at this stage. I’ve seen high level black belts that are casually joking around right before their fights, and that shows me that being ultra serious is not essential for everyone. So you have to figure out what works for you. I think ultimately you have to get serious when the match starts, and if you’re the type of person that can go from smiling and joking to serious and focused in just a few seconds, then by all means, do it! Joking around will probably make the time pass faster.

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