In the quest for martial arts mastery, whole-body fitness and self defense effectiveness, much attention is often paid to learning more techniques, uncovering new workouts, and training with greater and greater realism. However, precious little attention is paid to the area that has the most potential to take our performance up to the next level – our mental game.
Really, it's not that surprising that such focus is given to the physical elements of training. Understanding the ways in which our thoughts and feelings effect our actions and perceptions takes focus and discipline, and many less dedicated people would rather throw a bit more money at the latest DVD or information product that sit down to consider how their values and attitudes influence their performance both on and off the mats.
Why then would you want to look into this oft-ignored area? Well, if we're talking purely practical reasons, the answer can be summed up in one word - consistency. Mental game is the difference between your best performances and your worst performances. Sure, there have probably been times when you didn't have enough sleep or ate a load of junk food, but all these things being equal, you have probably noticed how some days you can have a brilliant performance while other times you just don't feel focused or energised. A good mental game will provide you with the tools and tactics you need to perform at your best every time, regardless of what else is going on in your life.
But that's just the immediate benefit. Developing a strong mental game allows us to access a deeper truth – that the line between the physical and the mental isn't so clearly defined as we would like to imagine. In coming to adopt and embrace a mental game approach, we are not only gaining a greater understanding of ourselves, but also getting to see the ways in which we can harness the unity of the body and mind to achieve greater success in all areas of our lives.