It is obvious that something other than physical ability is causing these students to mess up while performing patterns, to fail to accomplish their breaks, or to lose their sparring matches against lesser opponents. That something is mental preparation and concentration.
If two opponents face each other in a sparring match and one is only physically prepared and the other is only mentally prepared, they mentally prepared opponent will probably win. Under most conditions and in most situations, the mentally prepared will better the physically prepared. The greatest leaders, the greatest sports stars, the greatest actors, the greatest warriors, etc. ate not the ones who have the greatest physical prowess. The greatest are those who have conquered their fears, who are more mentally prepared, and who can maintain intense concentration under the most stressful conditions. In any sport, the greatest are not those who are the biggest or the strongest; they are the ones who have the mental processes that it takes to be the best. When described by coaches, experts in the field, and analysts, the great sports figures are described has having the greatest competitive spirit.
Ever watch a pattern completion and see an old, fat, out of condition competitor win first place over all the other high jumping, fast kicking, and highly conditioned competitors. It may seem to be a mistake, until you carefully watch the completion. The older competitor maintained intense concentration and perfect (though unimpressive) techniques throughout the entire pattern, while the younger competitors had minute lapses in concentration and slight errors in their otherwise spectacular techniques. The older competitor was more mentally prepared and was able to maintain concentration.
What separates a great athlete from a good athlete is mental preparedness and concentration. What makes a great taekwondo practitioner is not so much his or her physical abilities as it is their concentration. Sometimes, a person has great physical ability and intense concentration; these are the truly great athletes. They are rare, that is why they achieve so much fame and fortune.
Therefore, it is evident that, while it may not appear so at first, taekwondo is more a mental sport than a physical sport. Therefore, while you should continue to increase your physical abilities and taekwondo skills, you should train more to increase your mental preparedness, concentration, and warrior spirit.
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