I always look for an "unbeatable" thing, I sometimes am unrealistic, and I come up with things such as "What if the opponent is stronger than a normal human?" or "How to fight an opponent when my hands are tied" or "what to do if attacked by God." Every problem has another problem and every solution has another problem. How do I stop being a What If Monkey and how do I stop trying to be unbeatable/invincible/unstoppable in every conceivable scenario?

Note: I am looking for an answer that describes the source/root/crux of my problems as well as how to fix them without simply giving an answer of "you can't win everything." I am not asking for a fail-safe method, I am asking how to not try to get a fail-safe method, or even think about it. I have understood and accepted that I cannot win every fight, but I still am a what if monkey, as I cannot seem to actually stop my coming up with scenarios and trying to be invincible. Can someone please help?

  • I really need help with this, at times I feel like I am going to lose my mind. Sep 7, 2022 at 17:28
  • Well, there's the White Crane technique, which, when do right, no can defense. So I'd stick to that. Sep 20, 2022 at 16:50

2 Answers 2


A Misunderstanding

Martial Arts, in a very broad generalization, isn't about an "ultimate technique" or a single "perfect move." Being a "what-if monkey" and desiring a perfect, one-size-fits-all move stems from a misunderstanding about the art part of martial arts.

Martial Arts are about choosing the correct technique for the situation. Out of the seemingly infinite possibilities which arise from two people striving against each other, armored and unarmored, regulated and spur-of-the-moment, the art is choosing the actions which lead you to victory at minimal cost. Banish the thought that there is one perfect thing to do every time, but think instead that every action lies on a continuous scale of "good" and "bad" in that specific context.

The Martial Arts give us frameworks and understanding of what is good and bad in a fight, what to pay attention to, and what to look out for. They are guides. They cannot and do not account for every situation.

What-ifs are good, ish

Posing hypothetical questions is good when those possibilities are likely. Grappling someone who is stronger and more angry than you? That's likely and worth learning about. Grappling a giant squid while armed with crochet needles? That's unlikely enough that any investigation is simply not worth it.

What-ifs are good is they are likely to happen. Alternatively, what-ifs are bad if they prevent you from learning. It's better to learn something that applies 80% of the time than worrying about that other 20% and learning nothing!

When Analysing Fights

Think less on "what if things are different?" and more "why did they [a fighter] chose this?", "what are the strengths/weaknesses of this technique?", and "does this comply with ideas from my/their Martial Art?" These questions give insight and promotes understanding. These questions are also handy for when you are in a fight: it helps you recognize the good and bad in you and your opponent.

  • What do you mean? Sep 7, 2022 at 18:52
  • @FergusMacGavin I introduced some philosophy here, but let me summarize. There is no perfect move, only perfect for the situation. You cannot eliminate weakness, only move it somewhere else. Martial Arts are about choosing a good move at the right time.
    – PipperChip
    Sep 7, 2022 at 19:02
  • So basically, there is no ultimate, super, perfect, fail-safe, unstoppable, invincible, unbeatable, 100% effective, guaranteed move? I already know that, but I still try. Sep 7, 2022 at 19:05
  • Also, then why doesn't everyone lose, all the time? Sep 7, 2022 at 19:07
  • @FergusMacGavin There is no perfect move, only perfect for the situation. It's about what you do under which conditions.
    – PipperChip
    Sep 7, 2022 at 19:09

The best way to get rid of this mindset is, IMHO, the humility that develops through being beaten despite giving all you got and having tried anything possible, ie. experiencing the futility of this endeavour with all your senses. Again and again, thousands of times. And then you have those people you stand no chance against and they get beaten time and again.

There is one caveat though: You cannot experience what I described in a martial art (or training group - this does not have to be linked to a particular art) that does not allow for going all out. Those who do are not that numerous in general. And those who do not are frequently those who cherish in an "invincible" or "ultimate technique" mindset.

Over time, given you pressure-test what you do, you will realise that there is no absolute top dog technique. It is just not possible. And if you look at some dominator in a given sport, ie. Roger Gracie or Ryan Hall in BJJ, Mayflower in boxing or Teddy Riner in Judo, who did or do not lose a single competition match in years in their prime, you see how they combine genetical advantages (fast-twitch muscle fibres, hormonal system, etc.) with a refinement of the absolute basics that is just beyond words. In other words: They use what any practitioner learns within the first six-ish months but in perfection.

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