The Mind-Body Connection

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In many movies involving groups of people, usually men, being trained for some specific endeavor the idea of ‘getting your mind right’ in order to accomplish the training is typically seen. This is one way the mind-body connection can be explained.

Nowhere is the idea of the mind-body connection clearer than in the martial arts.

There has been much research into how this mind-body connection affects a person’s physical health. For example, emotional stress has been shown to lead to significant physical health problems. And most people understand how thinking you’re going to have a bad day usually leads to just that.

With this kind of effect coming from the mind-body connection, it’s no wonder that controlling your mind, your thoughts is so important in the martial arts.

You know for certain that consistent practice of the forms, punches, and kicks you learn in the martial arts is beneficial in that it makes these forms as automatic as possible. In the midst of sparring or using your skills in competition, you can’t take the time to think. Your moves must be automatic.

But what if you can’t practice physically for some reason? This is where the mind-body connection comes into play. To a great extent, practicing all of your forms in your mind while you’re lying down or sitting quietly will also help you improve your skills.

Visualizing how to perform all of the forms, moves, punches, and kicks involved in your martial arts training will help you make them automatic. Even after you practice these forms and movements physically and you have developed muscle memory of them, this aspect of the mind-body connection will help you keep them strong.

On the reverse side of this mind-body connection is the effect that comes when your thoughts become more negative, possibly because of comparing yourself to others. Someone else who seems to do better than you may have put in more practice time or just have better genetic makeup than you. But if you focus on their abilities compared to you, this may lead you to not perform as well as you can. Once again, you have the mind-body connection.

One of the best activities you can put into play to help you control the mind-body connection is mindfulness. This process involves getting fully in touch with whatever you’re experiencing at the time.

If it is the butterflies that kick up just before sparring or demonstrating your skills or any other experience, you can become more aware of what you’re feeling and that will help you learn to deal with it. This ability to handle your emotions by becoming more aware of them is part of the mind-body connection.

Shifu Raymond Ahles at Blue Dragon School of Martial Arts is ready and able to help you in learning how to use the mind-body connection, along with many other life skills. He will monitor your training and sparring and make suggestions when he sees some area in which you may be lacking. Contact him at 201-385-3130 today and get started or started again!

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