Focus is important in martial arts, as it is in everyday life. It is directing all of your attention to one task. It is blocking everything out and living in the “here and now”. Focused people live in the present moment. While this may sound simple, it is sometimes difficult to achieve.
Focus can be (a) developed and then (b) improved over time. Martial arts helps with this, as you will require greater focus and concentration in order to progress. The more you progress through the belts, the more attention you require for every technique and philosophical lesson. This is focus at work. As your ability to focus increases through martial arts, it also trickles into other areas of your life, such as school or your career.
How can you improve focus?
A simple way to improve focus is to control your breathing. Breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth. Feel your stomach expand with the breath in, while contracting with the breath out. Do not focus on anything but the breathing. You will find that it is not just the breathing that is helping your focus, but also the “emptying of the mind” from thoughts and worries. Before your next martial arts class (or anything else that is important to you), try closing your eyes and taking a few deep breaths for about a minute. When you open your eyes and get to the task, you will be amazed at how good it feels. It is almost like a sense of freedom. The “weight of worry” is gone and you can immerse yourself properly to the task at hand.
Another way to help with focus is “ous”. This is more than acknowledging your instructor. “Ous” is your way of focusing on what you are doing. “Ous” helps bring you back to the present moment. “Ous-ing” in class is more for you than the instructor. “Ous” helps you.
Focus can be easier for some than others, just like some martial arts moves are easier for some than others. However, it is a very important attribute for martial arts and life. Therefore, you must work on it. In your next class, walk into the dojo with the singular aim of concentrating fully on every movement. You will be amazed at how much your technique can improve with this simple focus.
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