Monday, August 8, 2016

Staying Connected to the Moment

When we become overwhelmed or put under pressure, it can be easy to freeze up. We either fall subject to our fears, or simply too much is happening for us to process. Some fighters have nick named a version of this- analysis paralysis. The situation often snowballs, as becoming frozen with fear or overwhelmed by volume leads to even more of the same. The present moment slips away from us. We become stuck in place while our challenges continue to grow.

Here are 3 small tips that can help you stay in the moment, and make it your own...whether you are in the ring, or another one of life's many battlefields:

1. Breathe  

Seems simple right? You would be surprised how often we forget to breathe when under stress. Especially in the ring, novice fighters find themselves standing with everything contracted and no oxygen intake for longer than usual. Breathing will help keep you focused, and also prevent you from burning up your energy reserves too quickly. These things will ultimately help you remain calm under pressure, and act when you would be too stressed to do so otherwise.

Even taking just one breath can get the ball rolling in the right direction for you to seize the opportunities in front of you.

This is one thing you may notice beginners tend to forget when training technique. They often hold their breath when executing new techniques, whereas advanced students tend to make a lot of noise through their exhalation. Whatever challenge comes your way, try reminding yourself to breathe every now and then.

2. Set your feet

When in doubt, reset your feet to your stance. You'd be surprised how often your feet move unnecessarily or become out of place without you realizing. Pressure will do that to you.

Simply standing properly will naturally give you all of your attack and defense options. Reaffirm your stance and remind your body of all it is capable of from the training you have done. You might be surprised at how much better it feels, and what you'll begin to do naturally. When coaches say, "trust in your training",  this is a part of it. Put yourself in the right position, and your preparation will take over.

Outside of the ring, you'll notice you may have "stress postures". Your body adopts certain positions when stressed, some of which put pressure on your back and neck. You might even start to develop pain or head aches, which further complicate your ability to deal with the challenges at hand. Whether you are delivering a presentation or trying to resolve a conflict with a loved one, take a moment to reset your body's alignment. Standing or sitting tall can do wonders for keeping your head clear, and give you one less thing to worry about as far as physical pain is concerned.

3. Have fun

Yes, HAVE FUN!  Do what you love, and love what you do. Fighting is a scary thing. Both the preparation and the experience itself are intense, and test your will in the toughest way possible.

BUT ultimately, you need to enjoy it to do it. When you remember to enjoy what you're doing, it isn't just's exhilarating. When you are having fun, you'll notice the other two tips come naturally: breathing and being in position are things you begin to do without thinking.

So yes, anything you put 100% into will come with its fair share of challenges and stresses. These things may even make you contemplate quitting. However, reminding yourself of what you love and why you love it will help you overcome the hardship and capture the opportunities in front of you.

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