I was interested in Brad Scotts comments in the media some weeks ago about how he expects his players to demonstrate cold aggression when playing a game of AFL. The North Melbourne coaches comments came in light of the bump and intimidation of Barry Hall by the North Melbourne backmen. I was interested in the idea of cold aggression in athletes and so went looking for a suitable definition. It seems cold aggression is premeditated. The aggressor’s accompanying emotions are positive. Cold aggression can be characterized as proactive, instrumental, planned, and predatory. Compared to hot aggression which is unplanned. The aggressor’s accompanying emotions are negative: sadness, anger, and fear. Hot aggression has variously been described as reactive, instrumental, defensive, and impulsive. The distinction between these two types of aggression are important from a medical point of view when it comes to responses to medication and therapy. However, I believe that cold aggression is also a suitable description for a state of mind to be encouraged in combat athletes. In the same way as Brad Scott expects this from his professional athletes in a high stakes contact sport like AFL. I’m sure he chose these words carefully from the Sport Psychology field.
But if we are to compete or fight or wrestle we need to have a switch for cold aggression when required. And the sign of a good martial artist is someone who can turn it on when required and off when it is not needed. Be nice until its time not to be nice. So when the goal is to go hunting for a submission or a finish, the other factor we need to keep in mind is cold aggression. Now I can have all the cold aggression in the world but there is no way I can apply it to another complex sport like AFL because my skill set is in martial arts. So to certain extent it is largely skill dependent. But when it comes to something more primal like fighting if you have a young, conditioned and aggressive opponent you have can your hands full; regardless of their skill set. And I think that is what happened the other night playing shark bait in that the guys who were less skilled and had less options still made a good account of themselves through being aggressive and conditioned. Compared to the guys who have lots of options and experience but forgot to add cold aggression, until I started yelling at them to turn it up. This type of aggression is encouraged fro an early age in a sport like wrestling, which is another reason why wrestling makes such a good base for MMA. BJJ on the other hand tends to be more laid back in its approach at times and we can fail to include the important ingredient of aggression unless reminded occasionally.