“The theme of Meditation and the Martial Arts is that martial discipline is necessary to bring the soul into such a state that it can love and make peace: Raposa has an extraordinary argument here, profound, historically deep, and more relevant than a new energy supply”.
– Robert C. NevilleDean of the Boston University School of Theology, author of The Truth of Broken Symbols
Mind over Matter
Martial Arts and meditation go hand in hand. It’s been practiced for over 2500 years and has proven to be one of the most useful tools an individual can possess. It’s not possible to build a strong skilled body without a strong skilled mind. In order to have complete success as a martial artist, you must train your mind to be successful as well. People tend to perform much better in anything they do when they have a calm and collected mind. A chaotic mind will rarely ever see success in anything. Meditating allows for a calm and collected state of mind to perform in chaotic situations. Through meditation, you increase your focus, calmness, and awareness. This is very important because when you’re in the ring, cage, or defending yourself in the streets.
Without awareness you won’t be able to fight with your full potential, you will be involved in a losing fight. Your chances of being struck are increased and your state of mind is too focused on catching up on the attacker/opponents moves. If you’re playing catch up in a fight, you’re likely to lose that fight.
One must have a complete sense of calmness. Fighting fire with fire has always proven disastrous. When having a calm state of mind during a chaotic situation, it will increase your chances of coming out on top. Without calmness, one will find themselves in a panicky sense of self defence, completely disregarding prior training. When you’re calm, you are collected and relaxed, one cannot perform to their fullest potential with a cluttered and/or stressed state of mind.
Without focus, your likelihood of victory is grim. Being focused will allow you to time your strikes, kicks, blocks, and maneuvers correctly and as efficiently as possible. We’ve heard of the term “laser focus”, right? It’s a trait that comes out of correct meditation. If one finds themselves in a situation where they are lacking in these 3 key factors they will perform poorly, quickly burn out, and simply become combat ineffective.
Breathe control is absolutely essential to a martial artist. When a martial artist is training or competing, they are exerting a great amount of energy, and breathing becomes more rapid by the minute. Controlled breathing allows for the complete utilization of one’s breath when exerting energy. Breathing exercises have been proven to reduce stress, increase awareness, and boost your immune system. Consciously adjusting your breath rate slows your heart rate and delivers a sense of calm which in turn gives you clarity.
Literal English translation of the word “Mushin” in Japanese. It is a mental state of constant flow. A state in which the mind is working at a high speed but without plan or direction allowing for sudden adaptations at any moment like wind or water channeling its way through narrow corridors. It’s a meditation that trains a warrior to act without conscience. The meditation will allow for a complete disregard of distractions. Reaching “no-mind” doesn’t mean you’re shutting your mind down or loss of thoughts, it’s being aware of your thoughts and feelings without forming an attachment. Your mind will be open to anything and will become flexible, adaptable, and intuitive.
Once one has become comfortable with themselves and have reached these states of mind, everything inside and outside of the ring or cage should become more bearable. Meditation in martial arts is very important and is universal to whatever art you practice. MMA fighters incorporate multiple martial arts techniques, so it’s fair to say that meditation is very important to MMA fighters. It is an elite sport that involves highly skilled sportsmen and women. They are the most conditioned and disciplined athletes in the world. It’s a sport that will transform somebody mentally and physically.
Whether their training, sparring, or in a real-life confrontation, they’ll always put their gloves up and let experience and form do the job. It’s a very life-changing experience when one can disregard every distraction around them completely to put as much focus as humanly possible on one problem or objective and almost effortlessly handle it whilst being aware. This sport has been growing at a very fast rate and has become popular worldwide. The amount of discipline and accuracy is phenomenal, one has to be thoroughly aware and adaptable for maneuvers are never the same and are unpredictable. A combination of every martial art designed to make a human into a living weapon is what MMA is about.