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Mental steps,developing confidence and goal setting.

As a martial arts instructor my main role is to guide students to set in place goals to achieve on many levels. These most times begin with a new physical challenge. However, the root to obtaining that begins in the mind. It is vital to begin there, and allow the mind to gather and process it. We have to see it see it to achieve it. Of course the approach to children and adults is different, but yet the same. Our society today is so fast moving we don't allow our minds to process things, and very few times spend time to "manage" our own time and goals.

When you set goals for yourself, or are given a goal to achieve as in this case martial arts. It could be a form, kick or another tactic. it is important that they motivate you and that there is value in achieving them. This takes commitment and time. There is no fast track to it. This is especially important in developing physical skills.

The first step is to understand the mechanics of the motion. Second and very important is to approach it with out speed. There can be great harm to our body and our mind if it is rushed. Then consistent practice and repetition to develop muscle memory. The key word is memory.

As the famous martial arts poem the Sip Sam Seh states:

"The mind is the primary actor and the body the secondary one."

The attitude in which we approach our goals is vital.

Act positive. More than just thinking positive, you have to put it into action. Action, actually, is the key to developing self-confidence. It’s one thing to learn to think positive, but when you start acting on it, you change yourself, one action at a time. You are what you do, and so if you change what you do, you change what you are. Act in a positive way, take action instead of telling yourself you can’t, be positive. Talk to people in a positive way, put energy into your actions. You’ll so on start to notice a difference. This is also very important for the instructor or mentor. Their attitude sets the tone and only through positive action can the outcome be reached.

Get mentally prepared. It’s hard to be confident in yourself if you don’t think you’ll do well at something. Beat that feeling by preparing yourself as much as possible. Think about taking an exam: if you haven’t studied, you won’t have much confidence in your abilities to do well on the exam. See yourself doing well on what ever your goal is. You have to let the mind see it to believe it. Small amounts of daily meditation is key. Visualize it in the way you want to perform. Meditation can help gain great personal insight to achieving our goals.

"In Preparation, there is not fear"

Increase competence. How do you feel more competent? By becoming more competent. And how do you do that? By studying and practicing. Just do small bits at a time. If you want to be a more competent in sparring, for example, work with movement without the partner. Image an action coming in and your response. Remember keep it simple. But you have to move and adapt your physical directions. Start with a couple of combinations that work best form you. One dealing with a hand attack, second a kicking attack. Work the pattern daily a few times and the mind will capture the rhythm. Then when able to, have another member attack using the one you worked on. Examine it, then adjust your pattern in your daily training.

Set a small goal and achieve it. Students often make the mistake of shooting for the moon, and then when they fail, they get discouraged. Instead, shoot for something much more achievable. Set a goal you know you can achieve, and then achieve it. Keep it simple, try something new, and repeat it daily. You’ll feel good about that. Now set another small goal and achieve that. The more you achieve small goals, the better you’ll be at it, and the better you’ll feel. Soon you’ll be setting bigger (but still achievable) goals and achieving those too.

Empower yourself with knowledge. Empowering yourself, in general, is one of the best strategies for building self-confidence. You can do that in many ways, but one of the surest ways to empower yourself is through knowledge. This is along the same vein as building competence and getting prepared … by becoming more knowledgeable, you’ll be more confident … and you become more knowledgeable by doing research and following the guidance of your instructors. Many times we say…yes…but don’t follow through. This is key we have to analyze it, then put into action through repetition, both mentally and physically. However, the mind has to see it, then you have to believe it. There is no short road to it.

Focus on solutions. If you are a complainer, or focus on problems, change your focus now!!!!!. Focusing on solutions instead of problems is one of the best things you can do for your confidence and your training. “I’m no good, or they are better then me!” FIRST NO ONE IS BETTER! So how can you solve that? “But I can’t motivate myself!” So how can you solve that? “But I have no energy!” So what’s the solution? Life gives us problems all the time. Barriers in our way. The Martial Artist, seeks problems to solve, and through them they overcome and achieve. Mental preparation is key! The “What if” comes up all the time, but always follow it with: “Here’s how I handle it”… Total personal control. Own it!! You MUST WRITE YOUR GOALS DOWN, but more IMPORTANTLY you PLAN of action to carry it out!! Look at it daily!!

Smile. Sounds silly, but it works. I feel instantly better when I smile, and it helps me to be kinder to myself and others as well. A little tiny thing that can have a chain reaction. Not a bad investment of your time and energy. We all have times when we make mistakes, or fall short. See yourself smiling at those times, as step to learning. Sa Bom Nim John Johnson taught me a GREAT lesson years ago: “When your tired, smile, sit up straight!” Sounds simple, but it releases chemicals in our bodies. Don’t get trapped into negative actions, and responses to things that don’t make you feel better. It has a deadly effect on the brains pattern to feel good, which then effect your body, and gets in the way of your goals and plan.


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