In our present day culture focus may well be the paramount discipline that will determine if we are successful or not. The speed and multi-faceted nature of digital media as well as the multitude of options available to us in any given day, the demands of everyday life, and the intricate and fragile composition of our mind and emotions produce a potpourri of attention grabbing forces. What most people do not acknowledge is that what they pay attention to may well be the establishing factor if they ever get good at anything. We must recognize how to develop our special talents and natural strengths and learn how to focus and prioritize.
Most of us have too many things splitting our focus. Lack of focus is usually the biggest reason students are getting bad grades, adults have poor work performance, and people suffer from depression and regret. Training in the martial arts can greatly improve focus and eliminate the problem of having “too many minds.” Check out this clip from The Last Samurai:[pro-player width=’530′ height=’253′ type=’video’]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mw3cP4jTO0w[/pro-player]
If we have “too many minds” while we are training, our development will be much slower. If we are sparring and we are thinking about the people watching us, how our opponent is bigger than us, how we want to win, or (God forbid) some other day dream or concern, we most likely will lose the match. If we focus on developing our technique our body will naturally respond in the right ways. We will find ourselves to be tougher and tougher to beat.
Focus is one of the most important aspects of becoming proficient in martial arts. Whether or not one can learn to focus their mind and direct their energy will determine if they become good at the sport, and more importantly, if they develop into a martial artist.
There is a difference between a martial artist and someone who practices martial arts. Someone who practices martial arts shows up to class and learns the technique. They may even practice at home and attend tournaments. A martial artist is one who has harnessed the discipline and techniques in the martial arts and has begun to integrate them into their daily life. Training does not stop when they leave the studio. While on the mats training, they concentrate on their learning, seeking to leverage every opportunity to improve their skills and know their weaknesses and strengths. In their day to day routine they overlap the awareness of techniques, tenants, and concepts over much of what they do. In this way they integrate the martial arts in their life and turn it into an art. This can only be done through proper focus.
At Swiftkick Martial Arts we believe in the development of the whole person. This is why children must show adequate understanding of our basic tenants before even earning their first belt. By teaching our students how to focus we are not only training excellent martial artists, but helping them be more dynamic in every area of their lives!
[Brian Cowell is owner of Swiftkick Martial Arts and a Licensed Trainer with Crazy Monkey Defense International.]