Other aspects of the military are used in martial arts training. All martial art students wear the same uniform and wear rank designators. Students salute (bow) and they refer to each other by title or sir/ma’am. When in class, students are not individuals; they are part of a group and learn to act as a group, however, they are expected to be individually tough. Students learn to listen for and follow commands immediately without comment. Students learn to hide their emotions and personal problems and act and behave as confident, well-disciplined warriors. Through constant repletion, students learn to fight boredom and perform in stressful conditions. The instructor acts as the Drill Instructor (DI) who teaches, commands, and coaxes students to do their best while under stress. All this helps martial art students become physically and mentally tough.
Being tough while feeling soft
We perform best when we feel well. Athletes speak of being “in the zone.” The zone occurs when everything comes together to permit optimum performance. We feel relaxed, calm, alert, and focused on the task. We are confident in our abilities, full of energy, and ready to do our best. Do we feel this way because of being in the zone, or did these feeling put us in the zone? Since the zone is a result, the feelings must be the means used to achieve the result.
The zone is a rare occurrence, which means we usually must perform under less than optimal conditions, such as when we are fatigued or ill. This is when toughness comes into play. We must stay relaxed, calm, alert, focused on the task, and confident in our abilities, even when we are weak. To accomplish this, we must have acquired enough prior physical toughness to will carry us through our weakened times. Then, we must visualize ourselves as being in the zone and in control of the situation. If the brain believes it is in control, it will control the body even when the body is sending signals to the brain that it is weak.
This control comes from toughness training. When we train in drills during class until, and after, we are exhausted, we learn to be tough and express fatigue. We learn to act tough, even when we do not feel tough.