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Thought Exercises For the Modern Martial Artist

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A training method that is often neglected by modern martial artists is meditation or thought exercises.

As modern day martial artists, we often focus solely on the physical aspects of our training and neglect the training for our mind. It is just as important for us to sharpen our minds as it is to work on our physical training.

"Inner mental technique is more important than the physical one: - Gichin Funakoshi Sensei

Training only the body over the mind can be detrimental and ultimately hold you back from reaching your true potential in your martial arts journey.

Most, if not all, high-level instructors of any style within the martial arts preach mind, body and soul, and there is good reason for this! An unsettled mind cannot perform the proper physical applications that a settled mind can achieve.

A calm mind can be achieved from proper mental training, such as thought exercises and meditation.

"Karate-do strives internally to train the mind to develop a clear conscience, enabling one to face the world honestly, while externally developing strength to the point where one may overcome even ferocious wild animals. Mind and technique become one in true karate." - Gichin Funakoshi Sensei

Your thought exercises should focus or incorporate a mind over matter mentality that promotes a strong fighting spirit.

I'm sure you can all remember a time during training where your mind was flooded with negative thoughts about giving up. This is generally a case of needing the mental strength to push through your limits!

No matter how many times you work on your physical strength, you will always be presented with tasks that require your mind to carry you through those obstacles. You can try a variety of different thought exercises and meditation styles to achieve the results you are striving for:

  • Sit in silence and empty your mind in a meditative state called Zazen.
  • Recreate fight scenarios by playing them over in your head.
  • Visualize real life scenarios that are created through performing Kata.
  • Make sure during all exercise sessions to push yourself to do one more repetition and never allow yourself to quit!

You can even try some meditative exercises that you may find on youtube for guided practice!

The key is to train your mind to overcome mental barriers and allow yourself to break through your physical limits!

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