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The Gift of Confidence from the Ashes of Defeat

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’
-Eleanor Roosevelt

 

DefeatImagine being slammed against a cage. No matter what you do… how well you cover, fists slip between your hands pounding your face. You throw a hook hoping to disrupt the assault, but you hit only air and leave an opening where you take another solid hit. The edge of a four-ounce glove opens a gash along you cheek bone. You hear groans. You know the groans are your mom, your wife, your best friend and the people who gave up their time to train you. Your corner is yelling advice that you try to follow but really all you can do is get hit again. Then everything goes black and you know nothing else until you’re with the ref and your opponent whose hand is raised high. The crowd cheers for him. Then you have to endure phrases like, “good try,” and “hey at least you got in there and did it. That’s more than I can say.” The truth is you lost. You failed.

 

One of the most important things a martial artist does in the dojo is fail. In the Life Skills from the Dojo blog post The Dojo – Our Quiet Little Koi Pond, we discuss the little failures that happen every time you step on the mat. They pave the way to long-term success like bricks laid one after the other – tapped into place so, in the end, they fit together perfectly forming a solid walkway. However, it is the big failures that define who we are. I wrote about my son failing his black belt test in Falling Down and Getting up. It was failing that test, picking himself up and doing what it took to pass it the next time, that taught him who he is. A gift is presented in these big failures, the gift of true confidence.

 

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The Power of Visualization – How your children are imagining success in the dojo.

Imagine a world where you are perfect. In this world, anything you know how to do you can do without mistakes. You don’t have to imagine this world. This world is imagining.

 

Creative Visualization is like a super power. It is the ability to imagine yourself doing something well, then doing that thing just as you’ve imagined. It is used by top performers in athletics and business and it’s practiced by your child during their karate class. Like many things that are learned in the martial arts, it’s not always obvious to them. They practice the skills, but don’t quite know that they are and certainly don’t realize the awesome potential it has to impact their lives.

 

This is where you as a parent have the opportunity to step in and help them make a connection. You can be the other side of the coin, helping them stretch this skill they’re learning in the dojo into their lives. If you are an adult student of the martial arts keep reading, this all applies to you too. You can translate this skill to your life outside the dojo.

 

The Study

 

Before we discuss how visualization is learned in the dojo, let’s look at the science.  In the book Karate of Okinawa: Building Warrior Spirit with Gan*Soku*Tanden*Riki  By Robert Scaglione and William Cummins,they refer to a Russian study done just before the 1980 Olympics. The Olympic athletes were divided into four groups:

 

  • Group 1 received 100% physical training;
  • Group 2 received 75% physical training with 25% mental training;
  • Group 3 received 50% mental training with 50% physical training;
  • Group 4 received 75% mental training with 25% physical training.

Continue reading The Power of Visualization – How your children are imagining success in the dojo.