Friday, July 07, 2006

Mental toughness training for judo

Wow, it seems like I leave every Judo class these days saying, "That was the best Judo class ever!" Today after a prolonged ukemi warmup in which we worked on the idea of building reflexive forward rolls, we practiced about a half-million repetitions each of osotogari and kosotogari. Then we did newaza cycle #2 for about 20 minutes. I left thoroughly exercised both muscularly and mentally.
During the repetitions of osoto and kosoto I realized something that I have started doing habitually. I grade each throw on about a four-point scale from sucky to adequate to pretty good to magic. and at the same time that I score the technique I take a quick survey of what my body was just doing, what I was seeing, hearing, thinking. What the mat felt like under my feet, the effort level I put into it, countless variables. What this does is allows me to begin to associate particular body-mind states with each type of throw, from sucky to magic. So, in essence, I develop an understanding of what is a sucky body-mind state, what is adequate, and what type of body-mind state is conductive to magic judo.
This is a variation of a procedure discussed in Mental Toughness Training for Sports, by Jim Loehr - by far one of the best martial arts books I've ever read. This book discusses how to build body-mind states that lead to consistently good performance. The version that I have linked to above is a new edition that I have not read, but this book's older versions are definately must-read material! Highly recommended. Check it out!

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