You didnt start your study of the martial arts to go through the motions of it all, did you? Of course you didnt, but look around you in your next class and Ill bet you spot a number of your classmates doing that very thing, going through the motions. Its human nature to get distracted, to multi-task, and wander off course.
To deepen and strengthen your practice so that you stay on the mark and make reasonable progress, I offer you these 10 time-tested:
1. As often as you can remember to do so, say to yourself I am aware that I am training (kicking, punching grappling, or whatever it is youre doing at the moment). For me, that never fails to get my head out of the clouds and back into my practice (I am aware that I am writing this!).
2. Use a training partner (or partners) to hold you accountable to more intense, more focused, and more present practice. Friends are a good thing.
3. Eat better food before and after ever class (and, of course, that translates into ALL THE TIME). If youre bodys jammed full of food-delivered chemicals, cups of corn-syrup, and crates full of unnecessary carbs or fats, youre going to find you dont function like the well-oiled machine you"re supposed to be. Contrary to the way a lot of people live their lives, what you eat IS important to your performance. In fact, what you eat IS self-defense.
4. Breath deeply, focus on breathing deeply, think about breathing deeply, and maybe, if you have a habit of forgetting, write BREATH DEEPLY on the backside of your hand. To see just how much this helps you, do it. Youll feel the benefits right away.
5. Take your practice off of the mat. Courtesy and respect for others isnt something thats practiced in the school with people youre semi-afraid of. Its for that ding-dong at the supermarket (you can tell what someone is made of by how they treat the people that mean nothing to them). Its for your Mom, who sometimes bugs you in a big way. Its for the substitute teacher (yes, even for him/her).
6. Practice at home, a minimum of 10 minutes a day on the days you dont attend classes. Little things add up, so even 10 minutes of practice can help you grow. Oh, and if you dont think 10 minutes matters, try to hold your side-kick out out for 10 minutes or try and hold your breath for 10 minutes. Yeah.
7. Read age-appropriate philosophy. Champions, whether in science, baseball, chess, jiu-jitsu, or cross-country skiing, all have belief systems that make them rise above hardship and overcome obstacles. They all learn to cope with defeat --and victory. Reading the words of someone with experience can be the next best thing to talking with them face-to-face.
8. Go crazy. Yes, act in a way that most people would consider very odd indeed. For example, when things start getting really hard, you pretend theyre getting easier. Crazy! When everyone else complains --and for good reasons too, you find the good in the situation and jump up to be the first person to turn whatever is wrong, right. Insane! When everyone else quits, you stick to it! Youre a nut!
Actually, youre a martial artist. 9. Measure your own personal performance on a scale between 1 and 10, with 1 being your worst performance --and 10 being an all out, focused, beautiful-to-behold effort. Try to operate as close to level 10 as you can during your classes (whether youre standing still or doing difficult maneuvers). And while youre at it, try to LIVE at level 10, whenever possible. Its a good thing.
10. I hate to drop this one on you last, as its a bit of a let-down after all this glorious focus on you and yours, but maybe the best way to deepen your own practice of the martial arts is to help other deepen theirs. Yes, thats right, in the end, its not about you at all. Funny how it always works out that way.
About the Author: Tom Callos bio and project portfolio may be read at http://www.tomcallos.com/
Mr. Boggs - Sensei
Goshin Karate and Judo Academy
6245 E. Bell Road #120
Scottsdale, AZ. 85254
http://www.YourWorthDefending.com/ ---- Woman's Self Defense - February 19th http://GoshinKarate.blogspot.com/
Providing Instruction/Lessons in Martial Arts, Self Defense, Judo, Jujitsu, MMA and Karate, for Kids, Teens and Adults in the Cave Creek, Phoenix, Scottsdale and the entire north valley of Arizona since 1991.
SAME LOCATION FOR 20 YEARS
Scottsdale Arizona, Phoenix Arizona, Taekwondo, Karate kids, Ju-jitsu / Jiu-jitsu, Grappling, Kickboxing, Hapkido, Judo, Kung Fu, Bruce Lee's Jeet Kune Do, Escrima, Kali Arnis, Wushu, Aikido, Judo, Kempo / Kenpo, Yoga, TaiChi, Self Defense Training, Practical Street Defense, Women's Self Defense, Stranger Danger, Bully Busting, Bully Prevention, Workplace violence, School violence, Personal Training, Executive Self Defense, Boxing, Weapons, Extreme Martial Arts (XMA), Black Belt Training