"Stop Thinking and Just Let Your Training Take Over"

This post is a result of many conversations I've had with my instructors, with last night's conversation being at the very top.

"Stop thinking and just let your training take over," is a phrase that's quickly becoming a sort of mantra for me. It's something that my instructors try to pound into my brain several times a class. The reason for this being is that I'm in a tough spot with my training right now. I tend to be very analytical and I have perfectionist tendencies which end up hampering my progress. I think about things too hard and for too long, even when I'm told to "Just do this and don't think about it!" I also despise making mistakes and being wrong - to a fault - and sometimes I'd rather do nothing at all rather than mess up. A martial arts class is all about repetition and that is how one learns, so I'm working on that aspect. "Doing something is better than doing nothing. Something we can work on and fix. Doing nothing cannot be fixed."

I'm so analytical that in sparring, I tend to lock down and plant my feet because my mind is a so busy trying to analyze every detail of what's going on that I'm hit before I can react.

React. There's another word that goes right along with "Let your training take over." I've been working on a sparring hand concept with Mr. G, and he at first told me that I was too stiff, too set in my stance, and too robotic. I was frustrated to no end because he kept hitting me before I could do much. I was too slow and my combinations were few and far between.We spent some time working and something happened. At one point, I ended up turning my analyzing mind off, and that is when my hands sped up. I started to move better with smaller and quicker transitions. I loosened up. I started reacting instead of thinking. My training took over.

Now I just have to figure out how to use that concept and translate it to my kicks and forms. Then I'll really start getting somewhere. Right now I need to simplify. Work on my A, B, C's before I try to write the novel. Simplify, react, loosen up, and stop analyzing are key. Most importantly, have fun. Of course there are going to be times of frustration (and lots and lots of hard work), but have fun with martial arts too.


Felicia said...

Too funny, Ariel - because I think you and I must be long-lost twins! Did I ever tell you my nick name in the dojo is "Neo" - as in the character from "The Matrix"? I got it when my sensei simply got tired of saying "Don't think, just do!" and started saying "Just take the Red pill, Neo" because I also tend to over-analyze things. One of my training partners even cut a cartoon that ran in a local paper that says "He who considers too much will perform too little." It is taped to my laptop as I type...

I say all that to let you know you aren't alone. Hard to turn the old brain off, isn't it? Feeling your pain, girl!

SueC said...

'Don't think, just do' - so easy to say, so hard to do! I suffer from the same problem, as do most people in the first few years of training. I think the ability to switch off the mind and just react takes a LOT of training and requires deep internalisation of techniques. I'm sure we'll all achieve it in the end if we train hard enough. Don't beat yourself up about it, you're in a perfectly normal stage of training.

Ariel said...

Thanks for all of the support Felicia and Sue! It's nice to know that I'm not the only one dealing with an overly analytical mind.