Having a beginner’s mind is super important when training boxing, Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (or any martial art). Thinking like a beginner will help you stay mindful of the finer points, keep you grounded and ensure you approach every session with freshness, openness and eagerness.
Stay Mindful of the Finer Points
There are many facets to becoming extra good at martial arts. One is continual awareness of the finer points or attention to detail. When you execute a punch for example in boxing, lots of little things must happen in order for it to be the best that it can possibly be. The boxer must:
– be balanced
– calm and relaxed
– exhale upon striking
– turn on the ball of foot
– keep his chin down
– and so on.
Please understand that focussing on the details doesn’t mean we have to self-analyse every punch with forensic accuracy. That of course would be impractical. What it does mean is that the attention to detail for each particular punch should be part of any pre-training visualisation process. Over thinking the punch during a training session can be counterproductive and slow down the movement, unnecessarily so.
Keeping You Grounded
“Becoming” a beginner “again” can keep you grounded and stop the ego from taking over. When we become extra good at something, we can fall into the trap of superiority. Having a beginner’s mindset and always thinking “I can still improve” will leave you open to considering new ideas and subtle changes to existing methodologies. We can always get better.
Beginners have humility. Be humble again. Be Zen like.
“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.” Zen Monk, Shunryu Suzuki
Approach Every Session with Freshness, Openness and Eagerness
Regardless of your skill level, every training session should be approached with freshness, openness and eagerness. Never lose that beginner’s hunger. Beginner’s have an enormous appetite to to learn and train with passion. Training excites them. So think outside the square and look to keep you training sessions fresh and new. Get creative. New trainer, new training partner, different location etc If you’re right handed, try training as a left hander. Revitalise.
Oddly enough, those who can look back and see themselves as novices or beginners can move forward quicker. Embracing the novice mentality can help us refocus on the important details, lose the ego and keep us grounded. Above all, we’ll have a fresh perspective and be more receptive to ideas. Ideas breed growth. And we all need to continue growing.