First I want to sincerely thank Sifu Sarah for her contributions to the WKFA newsletter over the past couple of years and welcome Sifu Anne who will be taking over the Youth Student’s column. I also want to thank Sifu Lorna for writing the parents column and keeping our WKFA parents informed and to welcome Sifu Patti who will take over the Parent’s Column starting in December.
Distinguishing Characteristics of the Tiger
I like tigers; I admire tigers; but I’m cautious sparring tigers. Why? A true tiger personality may be predictable, but don’t let your guard down. Even before you enter the ring you know what to expect. The tiger will try to draw you into their style of direct action where, unless you are also a tiger, you may be easily intimidated by their direct aggressive techniques. You always need to be wary of the tiger and never become complacent or you will be overcome by power and aggressiveness.
If you are a tiger you need to work to control your aggressive tendencies so that newer or less skillful partners don’t feel overwhelmed. As an instructor I always keep my eyes on the tigers, especially when two of them come head to head. Neither one will back down; power and aggressiveness can often escalate quickly. The strength of the tiger can also be its greatest weakness. Often the tiger becomes frustrated with more calculating styles and can be forced into making critical errors, or evasive techniques can be used to attack the tiger’s endurance.
The characteristics that distinguish the tiger are:
- Power – The tiger uses its strength and energy to maximum potential, always preferring a direct fight with a clear outcome.
- Direct – The tiger has little patience and wants to end a fight quickly by taking its adversary, or prey, head on. The tiger is only comfortable when it is moving forward. That is where it feels comfortable and in control of the situation.
- Determined – The tiger is seldom willing to change its method of attack. It is committed to both the attack and perceived outcome. This can be seen as both strength and weakness.
- Aggressive – Once the tiger goes on the attack it only knows one direction – forward. It is usually on the offensive, viewing retreat or subtle tactics as a sign of weakness.
- Strong – The tiger wants to completely dominate and overpower its opponent. Endurance may not be one of the tigers strengths but it will attempt to dominate through physical strength and intimidation.
All of these elements combine to form the personality and techniques of the tiger. When you spar are you a tiger? Do you recognize those that are, and use a strategy that will neutralize their aggressive tendencies? Just like yin and yang, hard can be counterbalanced by soft; hard brute force can be offset by soft subtlety.