"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.

You Know You're a Martial Artist When. . .

It's been one of those months -- those busy ones where nothing seems to want to slow down so you can do your own thing at your own pace. My college classes started back just a little over a week ago, and while I don't have much homework that's bogging me down right now, there's a ton of other things going on that are keeping me busy. Within the next week, I hope to be able to sit down and write a good, long post, but for the present, I leave you with a "You Know You're a Martial Artist When:" list!

This list has been a work-in-progress for a while. I add to it as the inspiration strikes. Most of these things are things that I've done or at the very least thought about. Some are exaggerations. . . but it's a just for fun thing. How many will you own up to? I'd love to hear them! Ie: I want to know that I'm the only one who has geeky inclinations here. Feel free to add to the list too!

  1. You judge how good a particular workout was by how soaked with sweat your gi is afterward.
  2. You are proud of all your bruises and you think of them as badges of honor.
  3. You almost bow before entering a room, remembering at the last second that you are not in class.
  4. You start packing your water and Gatorade in a cooler because 1) everything tastes better cold and 2) you are going to need the ice for your shins after sparring.
  5. When outside of class, you turn around to face the back of a room to adjust your jacket/shirt/coat out of habit.
  6. There is at least one room in your house dedicated to everything martial arts.
  7. Your sparring gear bag now weighs over 20 pounds, because not only are you carrying around sparring gear, but a martial arts book, a list of verses to memorize, two escrima sticks, a notebook, pens, Tiger Balm, a first aid kit, electrical tape, medical tape, two belts (one current and one future), a folder with student information in it, a rubber knife, a wooden gun, a half drunk bottle of Gatorade, and various other items that can be added at a moment’s notice.
  8. You watch movies such as “The Karate Kid” for educational purposes.
  9. You point out the unrealistic aspects of some of the "moves" in certain martial arts movie.
  10. Past injuries and the stories behind them are popular topics that can be talked about for quite a long time.
  11. You refer to new students as “Fresh Meat.”
  12. You have a CD or ipod playlist specific for at home training.
  13. You have considered building or have built your own at home training gear.
  14. Your friends know that if they even mention certain words such as “martial arts,” “Tae Kwon Do,”  “injuries,” “bruises,” “Japan,”or “Korea,”  then they better be prepared for a long, mostly one-sided conversation of you talking about martial arts.
  15. You catch yourself in various stances while doing everyday things. Back stance when pulling someone to their feet, etc.
  16. When shaking someone’s hand, you have to consciously remember not to bow.
  17. You’ve used your knowledge of breakfalls to prevent a serious injury.
  18. The instructor side of you comes out when you see kids doing martial arts type moves that they’ve seen in movies.
  19. Normal belts with buckles just don’t look right any more.
  20. When you walk, your steps are light and you glide more than walk.
  21. You use your lightness of foot to sneak up on people just because you can.
  22. You are more comfortable barefoot than with shoes on.
  23. When shopping, you only buy pants that you can kick in.
  24. If you're a woman and wear dresses, skirts, or high heels, all you can think about is how they hinder movement and put you at a disadvantage if you end up in a confrontation. OR You consider the advantages and disadvantages and spend time considering how you would adapt.
  25. Your friends (from experience) back away and scream “No!” when you ask if you can try some joint locks or self defense on them.
  26. Your requirements for the house you want to buy/build are that it must have a large, flat yard and driveway so you can practice outside and there has to be a basement or large room so that you can set up an in-home dojang for yourself.
  27. You have personalized your instructors’ ringtone so that it plays “Kung Fu Fighting” or something similar when they call.
  28. You have considered (or have done so) altering your uniform so that it fits better, regardless of your actual sewing ability.
  29. You come home from a particularly intense class drenched with sweat, bruised, and about to pass out from exhaustion, but with a huge smile on your face because “that was an incredible class!”