We are rushing in our training more than we realize. We are rushing, almost always. It’s human to rush: we want to skip the unnecessary and be time-efficient. But for quality development in our movement, sometimes we need to slow down.
This is where meditation comes into play, call it nowness (or presence). Nowness appears around a patient and clear state of mind. To enter this state you need to exit thoughts about the future and the past. There are many ways to do this.. count your breaths, watch water or fire flow, listen to birds or the rain, make love, etc.
This is a mindset that is not often taught to fighters because it is overshadowed by the ‘train hard’ mentality (which is, of course, there for a good reason). And a train hard mentality can also be a present state of mind, but the tempo differs greatly from a nowness mindset.
So how to slow down your movement practice? What are concrete things you can do in order to slow down, and deepen, your development? Here’s what you can do..
1 Split and isolate parts of the whole
Are you throwing a punch? Split that punch into as many parts as you can come up with. Maybe you only separate the beginning and the end of your punch, that’s fine. Isolate those two movements and practice them separately.
2 Focus on sensation
By standing still at the sensation of your movement, you’ll gain information about the way you perform. How does your punch feel? Is it supple or stiff, heavy or light? Stable or unstable? Does it feel good? Then add meaning to these sensations. Why does your punch feel the way it does?
3 Change context
Changing context is a way to change sensations. These new sensations give new information and therefore deepens your understanding of the movement - this is called differential learning. There are thousands of ways to change context. An example for punching would be to punch under water, this was done by Muhammad Ali, Roy Jones Jr., and other boxing greats. Punching in odd directions (up, downwards) is another form of changing context that contributes to differential learning.
Focussing on retraction in your punches, instead of protractions, is another example.