Are patterns a mental or physical exercise? I think they are more mental. Some people can perform a technically perfect pattern in class but cannot perform the pattern under stress, such as at a testing or tournament. Sometimes, I have students turn to face a side wall in the dojang and then perform their pattern again. Many students, even though they have correctly performed the pattern many times while facing the front of the class, get mentally confused when facing the new direction.
Some people whose physical ability may be lacking can still perform an beautiful and intense pattern that draws high scores. The body supports the brain, gives it mobility, and serves its will.
To prepare mentally, you must concentrate on visualization, attitude, and presentation. The old adage "What the mind can perceive, the body can achieve." is true. Visualize yourself performing each movement of the form perfectly every day and when the time comes to perform the pattern perfectly, the body will respond. Visualize yourself blocking and attacking a real opponent so you can appreciate the meaning of each technique. Practice relaxation techniques so you will be relaxed during the stress of pattern performance. Train with the proper attitude and you will perform with attitude. A pattern is a mock fight where you are defending yourself against attack. Have a warrior spirit. Perform the pattern with the same power and intensiveness that you would use in a real fight.
To prepare physically, concentrate on increasing your flexibility, strength, and endurance. These attributes will increase your power and speed and help you stay more relaxed during the physical exertion.
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