Quick question on a long standing problem of mine.
When I fight I lack aggression. In some fights I am very aggressive, but in all the fights I've lost, its been for the same reason, lack of activity and lack of aggression. What's wrong with me? Why can't I channel aggression on command, when I need it? I'm very new, 9-5, been training only four years. But I don't see why some of my peers that started at the same time and have even fewer fights than me seem to have more control over this aspect of their fight game.
Any advice is greatly appreciated.
I identify with this problem as well. My good friend Robyn taught me a really long time ago that aggression has to be trained, just like any other skill. That doesn't make it easy and I'm still figuring this out, despite being told and kind of understanding it so long ago. But the larger problem that you mention in your question isn't the aggression issue - don't compare yourself to other people. I used to go nuts over these guys who would come to the camp and train totally half-assed but were super gifted and seemed to be way more fluid, trying more things than I do, fighting in a more advanced way than I was despite having way more experience than they do. I finally figured out that the difference was confidence. Men have a natural gift for confidence, like actual cockiness is a true gift. That's what makes them seem more free. But some of them are made out of paper; building confidence out of not-natural cockiness is like carving stone. It takes a fucking long time and it's frustrating, but it's solid and you keep what you work for.
So, step 1: stop comparing. It doesn't help you and it feels shitty. People have different learning arcs, different paths, different drives, different strengths and weaknesses. If you see something working for someone else, figure out why it works and try to steal it for yourself. But don't think, "why them and not me?" It's a worthless line of thought. Believe me.
Step 2: practice aggression the same way you practice any skill. You have to break it down, find why it's difficult for you: are you too polite? Are you afraid? What does aggression actually look like? Moving forward, blocking, not backing up, striking more... if you know what it means to you then you can break down the elements and work on bringing them into your training in small pieces. For me, aggression is not be affected by mistakes. So I make a point to laugh if I flinch so I can correct that. Or staying closer to my opponent. You can practice this stuff outside of the ring, too. For me, I'm super shy and feel like I'm bothering people or imposing myself to ask anything - like, very normal stuff: asking directions, asking someone to show me something, ordering a coffee... I'm very unwilling to interact. But I push myself to do those things, because that's part of assertive, confident, and aggressive tendencies as well. I'm not a jerk about it and in the ring you shouldn't feel like you're being a dick just by being aggressive in training. You're helping your training partners by being aggressive, by "acting like" an opponent who does want to hurt them, even if you, personally, don't want to make your training partners and friends uncomfortable. But we've talked a lot on this forum about what a disservice it is when our training partners go too light on us or don't challenge us. Think of it as that you're helping the team, but also know that it's not easy. It feels weird. But do all those small things that, to you, feel and look like aggression: staying close, hitting more often, not backing up, blocking strong instead of kind of as a flinch...
Again, I'm still working on this on a daily basis. It's not easy. But it's also not impossible.