A few days ago, I was at training and struggling through some really difficult sparring. The sparring itself was no different from how it usually is – or at least not different enough from the way it differs from day to day anyway – but I could tell that my mentality was what was making it so hard. It was the third day in a row like this. What I’ve learned over the years of focusing on my Mental Training (about 5 years, in earnest) is that you never get to tick the box of having solved an issue. Rather, it’s like a table full of plates and you never get to clear anything off of it, you’re just always re-arranging the plates. Like in Alice in Wonderland, when the Mad Hatter and the Rabbit just move down the table for a clean cup of tea.
So, I decided right then and there that I was going to do a “real time, open Mental Training vlog.” I used to journal, that was one of the first steps I ever took in my mental approach. Just to get a read on what thoughts I was carrying with me into the gym, through the gym, and then out of the gym. A lot of times, what I realized, was that the events which I’d correlated with my thoughts and feelings weren’t actually the cause of them. I’d come in like that. That taught me a lot. But I’ve advanced over the years in how I do my Mental Training, so it’s kind of integrated into the moment-by-moment insanity that is the life I lead. Being able to vlog, in real time, right as I’m thinking and feeling and working my way through these thoughts, emotions, fatigue and mental processes… seemed pretty cool. Seemed like it would be helpful to people who are also struggling, who also fail to give themselves credit, who also have the heart to focus on their mental side but don’t necessarily know how that looks or sounds. Or, in the case of what happened after my very first vlog, to connect to other folks who are in their own process and the fact that we are not the same person as each other allows us to offer some reflection, different approaches or ideas to very similar struggles. Sera McCann, who is a New Zealander who lives, fights and trains in Japan, contacted me just after my first vlog with just such a connection. I was so stoked on that; I doubled down on my “hey this might be cool,” and decided it’s something I’m going to be committed in.
So, here it is. This is a raw look at how I work myself through training every day. There are ups and downs, sometimes (often) at the same time and over the same things. There are ways to focus, ways to de-focus, thoughts and tactics, methods and madness. It’s just what I do. It’s always evolving.
Mental Training in Practice #1
Mental Training in Practice #2
Mental Training in Practice #3
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You may also enjoy my past article on resources I’ve drawn on in my mental training journey: