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Personal Best Karate

What’s Your Magic Formula for Reigniting Your Focus?

Posted: April 08, 2020

Have you ever felt drained, tired or frustrated? I think we all have.  Being human allows us to, whether we want to or not, experience the kaleidoscope of emotions.  Experiencing negative emotions is inevitable, but recovering from them as quickly as you need to is what’s most important.  While everyone has the way that fits them best, if you haven’t cracked the code of what works best for you, consider these two categories; exercise and meditation.  

Exercise provides movement, increasing blood flow and releasing chemicals in the brain that alter the way you feel.  Research studies have shown time and time again the powerful and positive effect that getting your heart rate up has on altering how you feel.  

Meditation, on the other hand, seems to be the complete opposite at first glance, but actually isn’t.  Think about when you see a stressed-out person. If you look closely you will see shallow breathing, unnecessary tension in their muscles and in their facial expression.  What does meditation do? For starters, it changes the way they breathe. Short, rapid, shallow breathing is replaced by long, slow, deep breathing that fully oxygenates the body and brain.  The body slowly lets go of unnecessary tension through deliberate relaxation, at times combined with visual imagery of scenes that bring a sense of calm. So which way is better? Answer: The one that feels best to you.  The same person may use both techniques but at different times. For example, a 5-10 minute meditation session while at work may immediately lessen stress on-the-job, while a brisk exercise session on the weekend might enhance your general outlook and make you feel better overall.

Creating the Perfect Environment

Posted: April 01, 2020

Have you ever had great intentions to be productive - gotten all your work together, spaced it out in front of the TV – and three hours later realized you’d gotten nothing done? I know I have. Part of what sets a person up for success is the environment they create. You can always tell a serious professional that works from home because they have a separate office space that triggers them to work when they enter it. You can tell the serious home-workout enthusiast as well, because, like the work-at-home professional, they have a dedicated workout space that triggers them to get the most from each session.  

COVID-19 has brought this to the forefront of our attention as we all strive to continue to move on with our lives from the confines of home. Use this time to set up as close to perfect an environment to help you feel focused, energized and be as productive as possible. As the saying goes - when life hands you lemons, make lemonade. 

The Potential Of The Seed

Posted: March 25, 2020

What determines the potential of a seed?  The answer may surprise you. Take a seed and put it in fertile soil and it’s potential to will become unlocked.  Put that same seed on pavement and at best, a bird will come by and eat it. What’s different?  It’s true - your environment can absolutely have a positive or negative impact, regardless of your potential.  

How can we take the lesson of the seed and apply it to our life?  I think the single most powerful thing you can do is bring people who you aspire to be like into your world.  Their thoughts, feelings, and actions will reveal how they are able to be the person you aspire to be. It becomes truly the equivalent of fertile soil all around the seed, making it only a matter of time before you see the results you are after.

Conversely, instead of doing this, you can continue within your same peer group thinking the same thoughts, feeling the same feelings, taking the same actions and getting the same results.  You have consciously chosen to stifle the growth potential in you, like laying a seed on the pavement.    

A definition of winning for an adult martial arts student

Posted: March 18, 2020

When I first started competing, I lost a lot. The popular habit of some of the people I was training with at the time was to become bitter.  Much time was wasted going down the list of all the things you could point the finger of blame at, including bad judging.  Enter my teacher at the time, who instilled in me the idea that I had to train to be so good that the judges couldn’t take it from me, and until I was that good, I should just train.  Sure enough, the wins started to come more frequently.  

Now at 50 years old, I do not compete anymore, so how do I fill the void of competition that I had for so long?  I look at each workout as a contest, - me against me.  Can I push myself further than I previously did?  Can I resist the comparison to others?... that’s a win.  Can I help someone in my class get better so they can eventually push me as an equal?...that’s a win.  In my jiu jitsu training, can I suppress my competitive side enough to train with people who are better than I am, knowing that I am going to be defeated in the match, but the experience is providing me the chance to be better?... that’s a win.  Finally, can I lose myself in my workout so that the day’s challenges and the ticking clock don’t steal my attention?... that’s a win.  

There are so many very helpful and productive ways to provide a “winning” mindset to your training, and equally, so many that can lead to discouragement.  Check to be sure your approach is setting you up for consistent long-term enjoyment.  Let’s face it - if you feel like you are winning, that leads to continued enjoyment and progress.

Personal Commercials Are Not Real

Posted: March 11, 2020

Have you ever watched television and a commercial comes on and you actually believe what you see? 

Of course not! Commercials are there to entertain and encourage you to purchase whatever they are promoting. They are so expertly done they can even take opposites - like a professional athlete eating fast food and drinking soft drinks - and persuade the audience to forget that poor quality, high-fat foods, and sugar water are detrimental to the body over time (which is backed by scientific research).  

When is the last time you saw an advertisement for a vacation with anything but perfect blue skies? I don’t know about you but I have been on plenty of vacations when it has rained non-stop. 

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