When the best Martial Arts students are training their hardest, they need flexibility, strength and endurance, not only in their bodies, but also in the use of their minds. They need mind fitness.
What does the mind have to do with it?
Webster's Dictionary defines the mind as "the part of a person that feels, perceives, thinks, wills and reasons." In other words, the mind has a lot of important work to do! Some people describe it as the "steering wheel" of the body! Because it has such a vital job, you must prepare your mind as energetically as you prepare your body.
What is mind fitness?
The words flexibility, strength and endurance can also describe the way we use our minds. These qualities can mean the difference between feeling tense and nervous and feeling confident and relaxed. Martial Artists need to be calm and sure of themselves to be successful in their sport.
How do you gain mind fitness?
Once again, the steps are similar to those that help with physical Martial Arts training: you need lots of practice. Here is a guide to some of the basics:
1. Meditate: Understanding yourself and the way you think is a big part of mind fitness. Every few days, find quiet time to be alone with your thoughts. First, empty you head of thoughts: close your eyes or just look at the sky or a soothing picture. Once you feel relaxed, meditation coach Jon Kabat-Zinn suggests that you try "seeing your own life.....as a journey.....an adventure. Where are you going? What are you seeking? Where are you now?" He emphasizes that the "journey" belongs to you alone; you are in charge of the direction it takes, so think about what makes you happy. Visualize your success. Dream. Exercising or practicing your forms are excellent ways to get ready to meditate.
2. Challenge yourself with new experiences: Make a point of finding someone or something new to learn about or experience. It can be as simple as an unfamiliar food or as exciting as a new language. Pay attention to the feelings you have as you do new things. How do you feel? How do you behave? What do you learn about yourself?
3. Read!!: The great Martial Artist Bruce Lee had an extensive library and a deep desire to know things and he used what he learned in his reading to help him grow into a better Martial Artist.
As the beginning of the school year approaches and you begin to prepare for tip and belt exams, school projects and tests make developing your mind fitness a part of your everyday life. It is a great way to help improve your grades, your friendships and your Martial Arts performance.