The Mental Game of Martial Arts

2e1ax default entry brain1There are many reasons why someone starts martial arts training: from learning self defence techniques, increase their fitness, develop higher confidence, or to compete in tournaments. Training in martial arts comprises of training in 3 components – physical, technical and mental.

Training in the physical component involves getting stronger (there is a reason why we do push ups, burpees and sit ups!), where the technical component is the self defence skills, kicks and strikes you learn through each belt.  But what about the mental component?  How do we train this component in martial arts, and specifically at TSDA?

Firstly the primary and most important objective in the mental component in martial arts is developing mental endurance, control of emotion, concentration, mental toughness, strength and more.  Having a “no surrender” attutude – that flows into all aspect of a students life – school, work, other sport, family life.

A psychological benefit you can experience by training in martial arts is an enhanced mental focus – helps you clear your mind, can reduce stress and anxiety, and can make you less prone to distractions.  Students also find training in martial arts, and developing this newfound ability to focus, can help take your mind off daily stressors like workday stressors, bills, exams, and even bullying.

When you are up against any challenge – screaming kids at home/in the car, increasing financial stress, dealing with negatvie Nancy’s in the workplace, or being face to face with the school bully, the battle can be won or lost in your mind before anything even happens.  Mental “defeat” can start before a challenge, or even during it.

Fighters – know this all too well.  Sports Psychologists make a living out of coaching athletes in improving their mental tougness, and ensuring the battle is won before they even step onto the ring.  In most fights, you can see the outcome before it really ends.  Master Kevin is an outstanding example of this, if you have had the opportunity to watch him compete.

At TSDA, mental toughness is developed every week students go over their self defence techniques.  They must focus, train hard and develop thier techniques to show they are ready to grade to their next belt.  We also have intermittantly through the month “Fitness Sessions” that not only test the students fitness, but also their focus to get through these hard sessions and then have to perform their self defence!


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