Performance enhancement in the martial arts
M. Frank, Ph.D.
This paper presents a literature review of recent studies that looked into the effects of martial arts training on physical wellbeing
Conclusions. The general literature has clearly shown the effectiveness of psychological skills training to enhance performance in sports. Although martial arts is a specialized area, there is a sufficient research base to conclude that sports psychology can assist martial artists with achieving peak performance in both katas and sparring. = In particular, skills training can aid with regulating intensity in the martial arts as well as improving the physical skills required to be competitive.
This literature review indicates that important skills to teach in order to enhance performance in the martial arts include: concentration and focused attention, confidence, relaxation, regulation of intensity level, and controlling anxiety, visual search strategies, and self-talk.
A number of methods of been shown to be beneficial to teach these skills. Initially, a needs assessment can determine for each athlete how to individually focus psychological skills training. Cognitive restructuring can help manage intensity level, improve concentration, and build confidence. Focused breathing, muscle relaxation and awareness, and meditation can be used to regulate anxiety, or intensity level. Visuo-motor behavior rehearsal has been effective for improving physical performance of martial arts skills. Also, it is generally recommended to keep self-talk logs, a daily event diary, and to develop a written competition plan.
The recommended structure for psychological skills training is 15-30 minutes several times a week throughout physical training. An individualized program that teaches the participants skills that they can incorporate into a personal plan is most effective.