“Your mind gives up too easily.”

This is about a very simple but oh so powerful piece of advice that I was given to by my main practice partner and dear friend. I’ve heard and seen so much advice given to myself and other players like.. Oh, just space better. Watch x player play the matchup. Do this, do that. I’ve heard it all, from everyone I’ve talked to. I’be given advice like that. But a moment like what I experienced is rare. It was powerful. It might even sound completely absurd for someone who plays a competitve video game. OkamiBW is an extremely nice guy, so is Captain Faceroll, so is Armada, so are a lot of extremely good players of our game who can give really great advice on melee or life to just about anyone in our community.  but I had to be the one that heard “Your mind gives up too easily..” during a practice session. It struck a chord, man. Do you think I remember the dozens of times I heard “space this grab that don’t Bair over there, run up and shield”? Nope, it’s all noise. Something that penetrates the noise and funk of what everyone says to you to improve really sticks with you, and I got just that on that night. Real raw shit, it actually blew my mind up, even though it really just meant “when you get combod you still have some control over your character”. But my mind gives up too easily? I live for these moments. The’s profound penetrations of my perception of what’s really going on in front of me and how I play the game. I love it. I hate the basic. It was simple, but powerful. I understood what he meant because I felt exactly what was going on. It was obvious.

I don’t think I personally would have gotten the message harder had it been worded differently, and since I’m crazy, I instantly made connections to his phrase to my own life. WHEN SHIT HITS THE FAN, DON’T LET YOUR MIND GIVE UP TOO EASILY WHEN LIFE COMBO’S YOU, is how I’d say it to a smasher. It makes sense to me now though, I knew what it meant when he said it, but the impact it had on me was big, and I’m extremely glad I heard it that way, because a great mentor knows, just like how he knows the game, how and when and why saying “Just DI up”, would ever be different from telling someone “don’t let your mind give up”.

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Reflection on The Inner Game of Tennis!

Recently I made a vlog on some of my favorite books ever. I want to go more in depth on how I feel about some of them here soooo:

Inner Game of Tennis: As I’m opening up random pages, (page 113 to be exact) and re-reading the material, it’s such a…strange feeling I’m getting, I’m not quite sure how to describe what it is. I basically began reading this book somewhere around 2015, around the time I was hired at my very first job, when I didn’t have a car, and I had to either Uber or walk to work. I was basically fresh out of high school too, and in this period of my life, there was a lot of muck in my mind about what I wanted to do with Melee, and what I wanted to do with my life. Despite all the muck and feelings of complete emptiness and directionless in my mind at the time, I was a complete sponge to this sort of material, and I have no idea why. I just felt like I had to read it, so I did. I guess I was just born with natural EQ to material like this. 

Despite the directionless feelings, despite the confusion, despite feeling that a lot of my competition being ahead of me in skill, I read the book. It wasn’t that I even just read the damn thing, I tried to live the book. It took practice to understand and internalize the book, and make the most important parts, a part of me. I’m extremely glad that 2015-Kopaka read and re-read this book as many times as he did, because it’s been well worth it right now. Months and months after reading the book however, (and even very recently) I would still get very upset over tiny little things within the game. The book couldn’t completely change my entire view of the world, that I had to learn much later. On my part, it took a ton of real effort, real forced effort, to practice the material. Now I look at it just as I look at physical practice. It’s mental muscle memory. You practice something until you can do it with tons of certainty! Thats the way I see it now, it just took me in particular a lot of time to practice it, since it didn’t really come natural to me, unlike playing video games, which always has. I think that’s super important so I’ll say it again. Playing video games has always come natural to me, but winning the mental, human battle we have with ourselves, never did. Actually, now after reading some other books that I’ll mention soon, I dont even look at it as a battle! You dont want to fight two battles at once, right!? It’s hard enough to play to your opponent! Don’t make it a 2v1 if you don’t have to! And if you don’t know how to do that, check the book out! It may help you get started.

I’ve thrown my controller, cried, yelled, slammed my fist on tables, slammed doors, thrown my car keys at full force onto the ground having it shatter to pieces, cried, broken down and cried, walked out of a venue and shouted into the air, “what’s wrong with me?” after losing. Despite all of that making me feel helpless, depressed, directionless all distraught, I wanted to learn how I could really play the game that I wanted to play.

I had to put a tremendous amount of more work into that sort of thing than anything else. People would tell me advice, like, really great simple advice, I had people giving me really great help honestly. I’ll never forget the night that Oats said to me, at one of the early San Diego Melee Donut Panic bi-weekly locals, “Don’t be so hard on yourself!” after I had thrown my controller for the very first time. Why was I being so hard on myself in the first place? Probably because I was trying to be Armada in a week, probably because I wanted to prove, more than I wanted to learn. Oh, I wanted to learn alright, but even the mere action or thought of learning means so much more to me now than it did back then.  

The process of working at that whole thing never really stopped, it eventually just faded away into my subconscious. To me, a lot of people discuss the book, but few seem to be practitioners from my experiences. You can read about how a wave dash works one-thousand times, see it that many times, but you’ll never understand it yourself without trying it one-thousand times.

It isn’t all that special.

So the last three tournaments I attended all happened last weekend, but I wanted to write about them anyway so here I am. I beat people and lost to people at all three of them, 2 San Diego locals and one SSS #59. One thing I noticed at all three events, is that in bracket, whenever I started literally thinking about “I’m winning/losing” , I started playing sloppily. The crazy thing to me and basically the whole point of me writing this, is that these “problems” or whatever you want to call them, can happen and has happened to anyone ever in any sort of competition period, probably just in different ways for different people. What I’m realizing is that I’m no longer alone in these sorts of things as I compete and learn more about clarity of the task at hand. Like, no matter how engaged you are, and I was really engaged in some of these tournament sets, like REALLY engaged, i dont think you can ever stop thinking, its impossible, you just have to refocus your mind on the task however you can or something about motivation, I have no idea it’s different for everyone lol.

Something else that’s really blowing my mind right now, is as I’m reading through the “ask ppmd about the tiara guy” thread on smash boards starting from page 1, which dates back to 2008, literally 9 years ago, I’m seeing that a lot of ideas or stuff I do even unconsciously in the game, people have been doing for 9 years. Like, to me it feels like I’m no innovator right now, I’m sort of just dusting off the ways the ways people (Cactuar) established things nearly a decade ago, and adding ME to the mix as in my own style and expression. Which, to me, isn’t all that special if that’s the way it’s been done in any sort of art that takes years of practice.

 

I’m no innovator. I’m just taking what works, and adding me to the mix.