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Peak Performance

by John Dritt

   A few words about peak performance to everyone who'd like to improve in Isshinryu karate or any aspect of their life.

 

   People are finally starting to realize that "the right stuff" isn't something you have to be born with. The fact that we can learn to tap previously unexplored potential has been quickest, to take hold in the world of professional sports. However, the principles involved will work just as well for karateka.

 

   One of the best-known techniques, for what sports psychologists and counselors call "performance enhancement," is visualization. Now, visualization is simply a form of mental practice. It's doing your sport over and over again in your mind, with all the right moves and the desired end result. You can do this with your eyes closed in a quiet room, riding the bus, in the shower, while you're waiting to see the dentist -- virtually any time.

 

   All that's required is that you see yourself performing - executing the perfect technique in sparring, performing the perfect kata, manipulating weapons perfectly. It doesn't matter what the action is, as long as you are doing it perfectly. There is one other important aspect of visualization, emotion and feeling. Not only should you visualize yourself doing things perfectly, you should also feel the feelings that you would have while doing things perfectly. Most memory is a feeling or emotion associated with an event. Those experiences that have a powerful emotion attached are the ones we remember most. Because, you see, your subconscious doesn't know the difference between a vividly imagined picture with emotion and the actual event. And while mental practice can't replace the discipline and hard work of physical practice, in some ways it's even better. It guarantees that you are practicing perfection, and when you practice perfection, you are far more likely to perform perfectly.

 

~John Dritt

 

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Copyright 2005 Harry G. Smith