• Samuel D. Lang Ph.D., LMHC, LMFT

What separates the top few from many in any sport? Is Mentality. The importance of the mental side of athletics was once brilliantly summed up by basketball legend and Black belt Kareem Abdul Jabbar: Your mind is what makes everything else work.: Tennis great Novak Djokovic further explains, that amongst the top 100 basketball players, physically there is not much difference…. it’s a mental ability to handle pressure, to play well at the right moments, to score and angle off perfectly. But how can you do that when hour cortisol through the roof. Cortisol is a hormone in all our brains that is the cause of stress and anxiety. The higher your cortisol is the more anxious you will perform. It is not static is goes up and own. Sometimes you don’t not even realize why your sweaty palms, beating heart, and sweating forehead while in front of the judges doing the same Kata and backfist reverse punch you have done time and time again. So, what can we do about this? Its actually easy; There COPING SKILLS. But what exactly are coping skills and how do you use them in real time right before fighting for grands and executing Kata on the main stage. GROUNDING TECHNIUES IS WHAT WE CAN DO, grounding techniques are self-soothing clinical mental exercises that regulate the hormones in your brain. Top athletes are often distinguished especially in media, even in our sport, by their unique natural gifts.
YES, some competitors in Sport Karate have natural ability. But those same fighters as you might have noticed don’t usually hold their reign for decades. Some do, must have 5-10 good years, and I’m talking about national and international level competitors. GROUNDING techniques like 1. The butterfly technique. 2 the orb. 3. The currently exercise. 4. Breathing techniques (not much different than Sanchin or Tensho, 2 Okinawan Katas). 5. And Basic Meditation.
Next article I will break down those five grounding techniques. At its core, they are techniques just like a blitz or a Kama for weapons division that you utilize. None of them are hard, however they do need to be worked like a muscle. Simply knowing about them will not stop a panic attack or if you have high levels of anxiety before a match. Personally, the butterfly technique is my favorite. We will start there. Have a good time competing and leave your anxiety at home. But should you need them, I will go into greater detail in the next article.

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