May 4, 2009
May's quote comes from Sharon Wood who happens to be the first woman from North America to scale Everest! I stumbled across this quote in my erratic driving in the electronic universe and I felt it was very appropriate for the martial student.
In the past 18 years of practice it has been my experience that we are our own worst enemies. Sure I have had many struggles, challenges, failures due to my opponents who were very talented and certainly deserved their due. But the true barriers I had to break down were mental / emotional imposed onto myself. Our bodies are much stronger than we give them credit for. Yet we often underestimate the tricks our minds can play on us.
Anyone who has ever competed knows the fleeting thoughts I speak of. You fight these feelings / thoughts, yet they penetrate your efforts to thwart them and linger. Thoughts of failure, defeat, embarrassment, etc. they vary from person to person. How do the pros deal with such thoughts?
Some visualize movements, techniques, counters, counters to the counters. Others channel the butterflies into positive thoughts and focus their breathing to ensure heart rates stay within controlled levels. Regardless of your method try to focus on the task at hand. Win, lose is out of your control but your training and preparation are not. Ensure your training is solid up until the moment of competition. Cardio, endurance, strength, technique, and will power all need to be peaking just prior to competition. By focusing on these aspects of your game there will be no time to focus on the "what ifs" of the situation.
And always remember that just stepping on the mat take tremendous courage in itself! Being willing to take a challenge and push yourself is the first step to success in the competition arena.