Sifu Greg Meinzinger, Waterloo Kung-Fu Academy

By Sifu Greg Meinzinger

Adult Student’s Corner

Facing the front of the kwoon as you hold a basic stance, stand in a close stance, or any number of other activities you have almost certainly read and thought about the four focus points that are posted there. The purpose of theses visuals are to act as reminders, for you to self-reflect, and to encourage you to achieve the best that you can do that day.

We all know that being successful in Kung Fu is about more than just physical strength and agility — your mind plays a key part in your performance. You can improve your focus by…

Knowing what you need to focus on

The clearer you are about what you want to focus on, the more likely you’ll be able to stay focused on the factors that contribute to your success.

Using cue words

Cue words are simple words and phrases that remind you of your focus points. Repeating words and phrases such as kick high, punch hard, or quick feet will remind you to focus on what you need to do. If your mind is focused on your cue words, your body will follow.

Using mental imagery

Practice seeing yourself perform exactly as you want to perform, focusing exactly as you want to imagine. The more you train your mind to focus on the right things, the more it will respond. Mental imagery is simply seeing yourself perform as you desire long before you even step into the kwoon. Imagery prepares you to see how you’ll perform, trains you to think about what’s most important to you, and allows you to relax by being focused on things within your control.

Rating your focus daily

If you are having trouble focusing, use your training log to rate your level of focus before and after each class. Simple daily evaluations can help to improving your focus. By being consciously aware of improving and evaluating your focus, you’ll automatically do so. This type of daily “mental muscle” work will gradually improve your focus in class and gradings.

Taking it a step further, focusing can also help to build your confidence by…

Focusing on yourself, not on others

Instead of thinking about how well your class mates are doing, think about your own performance and how you can improve. You need to focus on what you need to do to improve your Kung Fu. And when you do improve, your confidence will increase.

Focusing on day-to-day success

When you have success every day in training — even the smallest of successes — your confidence rises. If your confidence rises a small amount each day, just think where you’ll be in one month, six months, or a year!

Focusing on what you’re doing right

Learning from your mistakes is important, but you don’t want to linger on them. If you spend too much time thinking about your mistakes, your confidence will wane. When you focus on what you’re doing right and correct your errors, your confidence will rise.

While we would not expect you to incorporate all of these aspects into your life, choose a few and see if they make a difference. Work up a sweat and have fun.