Visualize During Your Martial Arts Classes
Almost Nobody Does This!
This week's suggestion is really, really important. It's different from the way almost everybody practices. In fact, almost everybody I've trained with or taught in 46 years who's mediocre or just "pretty good" at martial arts does this wrong, and almost everybody who's very good or exceptional has figured out how to do this well. So here it is...
When you first see a new technique or move, DON'T try to copy the moves right away! DON'T do it.
Stop making those little movements with your hands that you use to try to remember or preserve the motions. Just pay attention and absorb. You've heard about "emptying your cup" to truly experience everything a lesson has to offer. This is an immediate, practical application of that concept, and it's this: put aside any and all evaluation or imitation thoughts or habits, and just let yourself absorb the example or demonstration for a moment before you try it out.
Your Ordinary Routine May be Why You Are Still Ordinary
Here's why: if you start your "imitation" behaviors at this point, you engage your habitual physical and mental learning scheme. This short circuits the direct perception of your subconscious mind and makes the whole process ordinary. If you truly want to learn faster and more accurately than ever before, if you want to become an extraordinary martial artist, you have to revolutionize your approach. If you do what's always been done, you'll get what people have always gotten.
So, create a far more productive habit. Do something different - don't imitate - just absorb!Once you've truly soaked up what your Sensei has shown you, THEN it's time to play back the movements. The easy part here is that you don't have to DO the moves yet. You just have to visualize them. You can do this in an easy chair, or sitting up in bed. The hard part is that you have to make sure you're capturing as much of the essence of the motions as possible, and not engaging in imitation.
Live Into it to Really Get the Full Value
Use your imagination! It's the most powerful tool you've got. Visualize yourself doing exactly what your Sensei just showed you. See yourself doing it with smoothness and confidence. Visualize your hips forward in a confident posture, and your shoulders pulled down and back to unify your torso. Remember, it's your imagination, so you can be as powerful and confident as you like. You are graceful! Your ability is unmatched! Your power is unlimited! Visualize it again and again. Keep going over and over the movements in your mind until you see yourself moving as smoothly, gracefully, and powerfully as your Sensei.
If get this right, you'll be ahead of the vast majority of martial artists out there. Most have never been shown how to use their imagination and subconscious to rocket themselves to extraordinary levels of ability. Save yourself the $10,000 you'd have to spend getting intensive coaching or taking nootropics to learn better, and train yourself to use a tool that's already part of who you are.
There's a lot more to this, of course, but if you dig in seriously and make an effort to learn this new habit - and stick with it - you'll find yourself getting better and getting better faster than ever before.
I'd love to hear what experiences you have with it. Meanwhile, I hope to see you soon on the training floor!