Four mental states of a successful fighter
Mental fitness is as important as physical fitness in sparring. Focusing on these states and practicing ways to improve your mental focus should form a part of your regular training.
The four essential mental states are:
- Concentration. Staying in the present
- Commitment. Maintaining both drive and stamina.
- Control. Not only control your techniques, but also control your emotions and behaviour, including your reactions to hard hits or minor infractions.
- Confidence. Believe that you are better than your opponent and are capable of winning the match.
Don't concentrate on winning
Winning will come from maintaining focus and perfecting the basics. How can you perfect the basics if you spend your time focused on winning the point instead of focusing on the fight itself? Think of your brain as a computer. If you use all its computing power trying to win, score a point, or on dwelling on the previous point you lost or won, then you have less computing power remaining to spend on how your blocks and attacks are executed, which leads to more errors. Focus on putting your hand or foot on target with perfect technique. By enjoying each perfection of movement and focusing on the enjoyment each technique brings, you will naturally focus on technique and score more points. Instead of trying to win a single point, try thinking about winning a series of points in a combination of well executed attacks. Even if the attacks are unsuccessful, you will gain please from their perfect execution.
Don't try to always go for the knockout
If the opportunity presents itself, then take it, but don't try for a knockout on every attack. If you do, you are concentrating more on knockouts than on technique and you may not even score at all.
Believe in yourself
When you start losing, don't fight like a loser. Know that you have done this before and that you can fight at this level competition. If you start thinking like a loser, you will start to focus on how many points you have lost, and how poorly you are fighting. This will take away from your concentration and leave you with nothing with which to fight.
Don't think about hitting the target
Think about the enjoyment of guiding the hand or foot to its desired location. When you guide you hand or foot, your concentration becomes focused on the the movement rather than on you. Your techniques will move more naturally and become quicker and more powerful. You'll find your stamina increases because you are expending less energy.