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DATE : 17-08-22 06:13
Mental Training in Martial Arts; Part 2
 WRITER : usmai
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Mental Training in Martial Arts; Part 2

In this column we will take a comprehensive look at the methods of mental training. In mental training, it is critical to achieve a balance between three elements: motivation, relaxation, and concentration. Readers should keep in mind that only the fundamentals of training techniques are introduced in this column. Therefore, in order to maximize the benefits, each individual has to develop the basics into his own personalized training technique.


· Image Training

There are number of ways to elevate the level of motivation. Image training is considered to be one of the most effective. Just before a match or a practice, an individual closes his eyes and pictures himself in a competition. He imagines that a full potential of martial arts skills has been realized and that he is able to win every single match with the utmost ease, or pictures himself up on a podium at a medal ceremony. These are examples of positive images that are key to image training.

Image training can be utilized as a preparation for future events and plan ahead for viable solutions. Its purpose is to strengthen one’s self-confidence and to maintain composure under pressure.

Image training can be practiced at any time and place, and as often as desired. Whether at a waiting room just before a competition or while standing on a line at a store, a few seconds at a time is all that is needed for a positive reinforcement.

· Conditioned Reflex Training

Conditioned reflex training, also known as Pavlovian training, is an objective science of behavior training. It is another technique used for boosting motivation.

The renowned research, Pavlov’s drooling dogs, illustrate conditioned reflex training. In the study, a bell was struck each time the dogs were fed. Soon, the dogs learned to associate the sound of the bell with food. After a while, at the mere sound of the bell, they responded by drooling. This kind of learned response to a constant stimulus is called conditioned reflex.

For purpose of conditioning human behavior, a song can be used as the stimulus. Select a song that will bring out a feeling of confidence or a ‘fighting’ spirit. Then, every time the song is played one reminds himself that he will win no matter what or that he is the strongest. Sometimes it is useful to shout it out. The objective is to train himself to make a connection between positive emotions (e.g. confidence or calmness) and a particular stimulus. This training should be repeated every day.

The stimulus can also take a form of a motion, gesture, or vocalization. These are often witnessed in football games where the players shout and go through the ‘motions’ to motivate themselves.

· Setting a Clear Goal

The very act of setting a detailed goal becomes a foundation for motivation, since an individual would give ‘extra’ efforts. However, having a goal alone or half-hearted efforts are not enough. It is crucial to have an absolute conviction that he has the ability to reach the goal. In other words, an individual has to possess self-confidence and absolute belief in his ability, which in turn can be attained from image training.

Points to remember in motivation training
· Always picture positive images and results
· Before starting a practice set a clear goal
· Select a stimulus that can be incorporated in image training.

Young Joo Cho, translated by Mike Sohn