Lots of people talk about meditation as part of the martial arts, but not everyone knows how to actually incorporate it into regular training.
Some martial arts are very formal and start out with a brief meditation before class begins. Aikido and Karate are both examples of martial arts that do this. This kind of meditation is pretty obvious. However, not every martial art does this. Some, like Jiu Jitsu, simply do a quick bow to get started. Luckily there are three simple ways to still get meditation into your training.
When performing a technique, your mind needs to be focused on the task at hand. You bring your attention to the areas of the body you’re engaging. You may feel tension in certain areas, while others are relaxed. Some of the move might be muscle memory, allowing you to fully let go and experience the technique. At this point there should be no inner dialog. If there is, simply acknowledge the noise in your head and move on.
Focusing on your breath is another form of meditation used in the martial arts. During light practice, being aware of your breath and timing it with your techniques is a great way to incorporate meditation. When class becomes more aerobic and demanding, maintaining deep and controlled breathing is another way to focus on your breath. Doing so will calm you and fight fatigue. Again, bring your attention inward and dismiss any stray or random thoughts.
A Quiet Mind
It’s very easy to have an active dialog going on in our head while training. You might be thinking about what your plans are for after class. Maybe you’re wondering about how well you’ll do against that other white belt. You might be wondering why Coach looked at you funny during your Kimura. Ideally, we want to have a quiet mind, experiencing each moment of training without the inner chatter.
Martial arts naturally allow for plenty of opportunities to incorporate meditation. Doing so will lead to better focus and reduced stress. You don’t need to train in a traditional martial art in order to work meditation into your practice. Moving meditation, focused breathing, and quieting your mind are excellent ways to get started.