Intuition and martial arts
Intuition and/or instinct? One thing two names? Significant for all living beings or only human? The animals definitely have instinct. But do they have an intuition as well?
There is a big difference between intuition and instinct! The latter is embedded in genetic code and therefore an inborn complex pattern of behavior existing in every species. It should be distinguished from a reflex - a simple reaction to a specific impulse composed of learned lessons that are wired in brains and based on chemistry and electrical signals through synapses - connections that fire when an impulse comes. And it fires unconsciously.
Intuition fires the same way as instinct but supposedly only in human brain. If it is based on the previous knowledge how come everybody agrees that even a very small child has an intuition? Okay, you can have a different understanding of the intuition as I do, as there are at least two avenues of pursuit when dealing with intuition. One is psychological and the other is spiritual. The spiritual one starts with beliefs, and we are not going to discuss about those issues here. The other avenue is on the psychological level. And this one is, in my opinion, more productive. Research suggest that part of the intuition is that one quickly forms a context using one’s ‘base of experience’ to draw parallels and turn that nonverbal or tacit evidence knowledge into decision-making knowledge.
Intuition and martial arts are way apart. In martial arts, there is just a brute reality. Reality for which you have to prepare through practice so that ‘your body knows’ (instinctively) how to react. If we could solve fighting situations with intuition, there would be no one practicing martial arts! In martial arts there are embedded skills or learned skills that are formed during hard practice and repetitions of basic punches, kicks, blocks, etc. With merging them during practice into sequence(s), one does conceptualize them as rapid pattern matching. It can be said that ninety-nine point nine percent of the time, what martial artists call ‘intuition’ is actually a mix of subconscious processing of acquired data (reflex) and information that every so often are not perfectly build on your gene sculpture (instinct for survival), and some real evidence which called explicit and tacit knowledge.
In my opinion intuition is probably limited to certain areas, depending on the experience and skills, and how these have been processed, filed away in an “accessible” format and learned at the cognitive level. It could be linked to a tacit knowledge that cannot be articulated. It is unconscious and intuitive. It can consist of individual information and experiences as opposed to the explicit knowledge that is articulated and, more often than not, captured in the form of text, tables, diagrams, procedures, etc. Later they can be written down, explained, and passed on to other people. So all those physical and mental training (and introspection) are designed to finely tune one’s ‘intuitive ability’ to assess the situation and instantly select among appropriate responses.