When thinking about Combat Sports most people don’t naturally go to meditation as an impacting factor. Meditation, however, is very much an asset to a combat athlete. Meditation can not only help you mentally but it also helps physically. It is a very important tool that could be easily added to every athletes skill set.
It’s been shown that meditation actually reduces heart rate lowered levels of cortisol and lactate-two chemicals associated with stress. Reduction of free radicals- unstable oxygen molecules that can cause tissue damage, decreased high blood pressure. It can also increase skin resistance, in cholesterol levels. and Improved flow of air to the lungs resulting in easier breathing. All of these are important factors for someone competing in combat sports, to keep the ability to not gas out during a fight, feel less anxiety and increase ability to heal and recover faster from injury.
Visualization is a key factor in meditation, not only can you visualize your future, lowering anxiety and preparedness but visualizing past performances is also proven to be helpful. In a study completed by Dr J. Patrick Gannon, PhD Peak Performance Systems the need to address high trait anxiety and past performance failures in some of the subjects was essential to positive performance outcome. It appeared that without this more clinical intervention for these subjects, their performance outcome might not have been so positive.
You can train your brain to see an event from many different angles preparing you for the battle in the cage, whatever happens has already happened in your mind so you are better prepared for any outcome, because you have tricked your mind into already believing it happened. This also lowers r the adrenalin levels preventing you from fatiguing in a fight.
It is said that in the 17th century, there was a famous Zen master Shoju Rojin, reportedly bastard son of a Samurai family who suffered a near death experience and went on to study Zen. He was said to live alone as a hermit and was confronted by samurai who bragged of their superior skills. The monk suggested that they prove their superiority by cutting him with their sword and he would only use his fan to protect himself. The swordsman attacked from every angle, but each blow was cleverly deflected. Finally exhausted the warrior was forced to acknowledge that the monk’s abstract awareness was capable of concrete use. When the warrior asked how the monk was able to do this, he replied,
”It’s simple. When your objective perception is clear, you don’t miss one of ten thousand things.”
Meditation requires no equipment, and is probably the least time-consuming tool a fighter can learn. Actually it has no negative side effects. Meditation,like a fight, is when you place your skill set into the world and hope to gain from it. Win, lose, or draw you learn from each experience and learning, is gaining, gaining is winning. Jon Kabat-Zinn, put it best stating “Meditation is the only intentional, systematic human activity which at bottom is about not trying to improve yourself or get anywhere else, but simply to realize where you already are.”
Be where you are and learn from where you are going.