Friday, 6 July 2012

Pre-Conflict - Training for a Match

Prepare your mind for conflict


ny mind technique, any mental skill that benefits the mind in times of conflict is central to the martial arts.

I heard once that the great Karate teacher Mas Oyama trained 2 Blacks Belts to fight against each other within 6 months of a certain date. Both were equal in rank and skill.

He told one of them to train with great physical intensity - conditioning, thousands of kicks and punches, weights, many hours of sparring…

He asked the other to train with equal intensity. However, that second Black Belt also had to train in lots of meditation…mushin…emptying the mind.

Guess who won the match?

Of course, one test run doesn’t prove a theory. Those of you involved in the sciences will point that out immediately. In science, it may take hundreds, even thousands of trials, before your peers accept your hypothesis.

Although no one used the scientific method across the span of Chinese and Japanese history, the information passed down through the lineages - and through eye-witness accounts - prove (unscientifically) that the real power comes from the mind.

No teacher would tell her or his students to train the mind in order to win in combat if the training was false. In China and Japan, reputations - and the life of entire martial systems - were based on their effectiveness in combat.

I’d like to start a series about conflict. Not as much physical but psychological. Permit me to divide this topic into 3 different parts - pre-conflict, conflict and post-conflict.

Psychological preparation for a presentation


There are usually 2 types of pre-conflict scenarios -

1.  When you know that you are going to have to deal with someone (or with some event) at a specific time in the near future…later on today, tomorrow morning, a week from now.

2.  When the threat is immanent. (I’ll forgo this part of the topic today. The training is “in the moment” and slightly different).

The key to success for both lies in preparing the mind.

In martial arts we train to prepare the mind for 5 pre-determined conflicts - a tournament; a sparring match with a very violent partner; a test for the next rank; a personal fight or challenge match; and, of course, a battle in a war zone.

Conflict with an aggressive person - remove fear through visualization


You will either have to -

1.  face a person or a situation you are familiar with

2.  face a person or a situation unknown to you

Let’s switch from the martial arts to everyday life. That event (including persons known or unknown to you) can be -

1.  a meeting

2. a project presentation

3.  an exam

4.  a performance review

5.  a job interview

6.  or anything else in life that is bound to raise a lot of conflict, stress, etc.

Train the mind to handle exams


There are several techniques we use beyond physical conditioning. The first is meditation (of which there are hundreds of variations). If you have a conflict date scheduled a week from now, I would seriously meditate ½ hour per day.

The second is the I Chuan/Tai Chi technique of the “standing post”. It’s a form of meditation that also fills you up with power. Again, ½ hour a day prior to the stress event!

Using the above techniques - if you know the person (or situation) you are going to face, use the methods of visualization I described in the post about “Fear”. Practise thinking through the image in your head until its power dissolves and is cleared out  of your system.

If you’re not familiar with the person or situation you will have to face, meditate on “emptiness”. Release the desire to win. Accept “defeat”. Just as the Samurai trained psychologically to come to terms with death prior to an encounter.

I-Chuan Kung Fu's post position


By accepting “defeat” you empty your mind of fear. You reach a mushin state of mind. That’s an unencumbered mind, ready for battle!

There’s so much more. In the next post in this series, please allow me to discuss how martial artists train with information that they need for an encounter. In everyday life, that’s preparing the mind for -

1.  a project’s facts and figures you’ll need to present.

2. answers to questions in a job interview.

3. distilling and organizing information for an exam (without cramming).

The next part will be ready in a few days!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.