Martial Arts

Is Your Head Preventing You From Becoming a Champion?

Why leave the most important part of your martial art - the mental side - to chance?

So what kind of a head do you have on your shoulders? Are you competing at the level that you’re capable of? Or do you regularly perform better in practice bouts than at tournaments? Are there particular opponents who you consistently lose to who have no business beating you? Do fears and self-doubts paralyze you and prevent you from fighting/performing to your potential?

If some of these questions bother you, then you probably already know how critically important the mental part of your martial art is. If you want to take your performance to the next level, then you have to be willing to take your training far beyond where most martial artists stop. Most serious athletes religiously work on the physical part of their sport. They’ll work on their strength, fitness, and quickness. They’ll work on their kicks, punches, blocks, holds, take-downs and katas. Is this stuff important? You betcha! You can’t become successful and advance in your art without “paying your physical dues” in this way. Hard work is definitely one of the main keys to your success.

Concentration is the key to performance excellence

  1. Your focus needs to be in the “NOW” on one move at a time
  2. If your focus drifts ahead to the future, winning or losing, then you’ll get nervous and perform poorly.
  3. When you make mistakes or get scored on, you need to leave your mistakes behind you in the past.
  4. You do this by catching yourself whenever your focus leaves the NOW and quickly bringing yourself back.
  5. Keep your focus on your actions and target, and not on how good you think your opponent is or what you think others may think of you.

Unfortunately, this is where most good martial artists stop! When they go into their tests, tournaments or bouts, they hope they’ll perform well, they hope that they’ll be able to execute and be successful. You would never leave your conditioning or technique to chance. i.e. “I hope I’m in good shape today.” So why would you leave the most important part of your performance/fighting – the mental side – to chance?

Think about this: Getting good in your art form is 95% physical and 5% mental. I trained 4-5 days a week for six years to earn my first degree black belt in Okinawan Shorin Ryu Karate. However, once you step onto that floor/mat for a test/bout, the percentages flip-flop. Being successful is 95% mental and 5% physical. You have the conditioning, technique, and fighting strategy; now you have to make sure that you stay calm under pressure and keep yourself focused on the right things.

Keep in mind that you can learn to develop the concentration skills of a champion. With a little work, these and a few other key mental skills can be systematically trained to the point where you develop the reputation of being a mentally tough martial artist.

Dr. Alan Goldberg is an internationally-recognized Sports Performance Consultant. He holds a black belt in traditional Okinawan Karate, Shorin Ryu style. Dr. G works with martial artists and other athletes across all sports helping them develop mental toughness, better handle competitive pressure, and perform to their potential. Dr. G is the author of the revolutionary book, This Is Your Brain On Sports: Beating Blocks, Slumps and Performance Anxiety for Good! Check out his popular Mental Toughness Training Package.

  • What I REALLY like about your Sports Mind series is that you teach athletes how to stay calm under pressure, relax the nights before big competitions and how to use visualization to improve performance. My kids love doing the exercises although they chuckle at your accent!

    Ed Texas
  • Since I started working with your CDs and talking with you, I've finally gotten a handle on my pre-fight nerves and stopped the freezing that was going on in the middle of my bouts. My confidence has increased and now I am fighting the way I do in practice, relaxed, aggressive and dominating!

    TJ New York
  •  I had no clue that my focus going into my bouts was what was stressing me out and tightening me up. My inconsistency had been bugging me for almost two years and no matter what I tried, I couldn’t turn it around. Your audios (14 Steps) have really opened my eyes and now I’m fighting like I can!

    Dan MMA Pro, Maryland
  • I had no clue that my focus going into my bouts was what was stressing me out and tightening me up. My inconsistency had been bugging me for almost two years and no matter what I tried, I couldn't turn it around. Your audios have really opened my eyes and now I'm fighting like I can!

    Dan MMA Pro, Maryland
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Resources

OVERCOMING PERFORMANCE FEARS AND BLOCKS Are you struggling with a seemingly mysterious performance problem? Have you or your athlete suddenly lost BASIC abilities? FINALLY understand where this FRUSTRATING problem comes from and what you can do about it!

THE MENTAL SIDE OF ATHLETIC INJURIES The mental pain caused by your injury and the temporary or permanent loss of your sport can be far more devastating than the strained or torn ligaments, pulled muscles, ripped cartilage or broken bones. Unless this type of pain is directly addressed and “treated”, your overall recovery will be slow and incomplete.

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