Mick S wrote: what are your views on alcohol, and do you drink.

BN wrote: My question would be if you think leading an abstemious lifestyle is something you think is necessary for a martial artist to do. I asked the same question on Nick Hughes site, as it’s an argument that interests me a lot.

Geoff Thompson, for example, advocated leading a lifestyle in which one eliminates “vices” in order to be a stronger, more disciplined person.

In one sense this seems unnecesarily harsh, and would seem to border on self flagellation. On the other hand I firmly believe that training doesn’t end at the end of a training session.

I’m not sure if being disciplined in one’s lifestyle would lead to a stronger character which would them be applicable in a fighting sense. What are your thoughts?

Steve wrote: Does this discipline make you a better fighter?

It’s part of your training regime; you can’t drink like a horse and then get in the gym the next day (unless you’re really young, but even then you’re not going to do it many days in the week!)

For me the most important thing is your training. Adjust your lifestyle to that, whether that means some drinking or no drinking. But don’t get obsessional about it. It’s more important to get your training sorted out than anything else. There’s lots of people out there abstaining from alcohol, but they can’t fight. And there’s lots of people who drink more than they should, and can fight. The key for you as a martial artist is training. If you want the character of a fighter then your training has to be more punishing and challenging than the fight itself. That will bring it out of you. That’s what you need to focus on. That hard training will produce the necessary mindset and strength of character as well as physical conditioning and skills.

When it comes to abstinence as a general principle, for me personally, I don’t want to be virtuous. Drinking is like a lot of things. You’ve got to have control of it and not the other way round. Having to avoid it altogether, to make an issue of it, to me suggests there’s a problem.

But here’s something else. When I was younger I performed some supernormal feats of strength when I’ve had alcohol in me and I’d been aroused by a fight. I found myself at a level that I normally wouldn’t have gone to without alcohol inducement. But here’s the thing. Now that I’ve been there, I don’t need the alcohol to get there again. I’ve got the impression of it. For whatever reason, physiologically or psychologically, the drink helped me to get there.

That’s not me advising everybody to go out and get pissed and get in a fight. That’s just the circumstances of my life when I was young, not an intentional choice. And I’ve stored it in my memory and I can use it.

The link has some points concerning alcohol use, pro and con. Makes interesting reading.