What’s your pre-class ritual?

What’s your pre-class ritual?

What's your pre-class ritual?

When does your martial arts class begin? Does it begin when the instructor calls for the class to line up? Does it begin when you step onto the mats? Does it begin when you arrive at the school?

Like so many other things in life, your performance during your class has much more to do with your mental state than your physical shape. If you are in the habit of arriving to class just as the class begins, or you spend your time on the mats before class talking and being social, you may be setting yourself up for failure. Just like the body needs time to warm-up before you train, your mind needs time to prepare as well. You need time to get ready for the challenges that you will face in the class, to fully engage and give your best effort. Simply put, you need time to “get in the zone”. This is where having a pre-class ritual can make a dramatic difference in your training.

Begin mentally preparing yourself while you are getting ready at home; make sure you have all of your gear and a clean uniform. Nothing can throw you off more in a training session than being unprepared.

On your way to the school, think about your training. What do you need to work on for your next belt promotion? Is there a tournament coming up? Are you especially tight or sore in a specific area that could use some additional warming up before the class begins?

When you arrive at the school, remember that the class begins as soon as you walk in the door. Greet your fellow students and instructors and feel the energy from the class that’s on the floor. Take your shoes off and leave all your problems from the day with them. As you put on your uniform, take another mental step in leaving behind the outside world. You are here to train, and once you are in your uniform you are one with everyone else in the school.

When you step on the mats take the time to perform a mindful bow. Remember your reasons for starting training in the first place and give yourself completely over to your training. Take the time before class to warm-up and practice your basics, try to go into the class with a light sweat. You can always socialize with your fellow students after the class is over.

When the instructor calls for the class to line up, move quickly to your position with a loud “Yes Sir!” and give 100% of yourself to the class. This is the best hour of your day, the time when you can let go of all your stresses and problems. Let each technique and each repetition become your sole reason for existing in that moment. This is where the real value and beauty of your training lies. This is where we develop mindfulness and from it all the other attributes that the martial arts promises.

If everything I’ve described above doesn’t sound like your normal pre-class ritual, then it might be time to try something new. I challenge you to try this new routine for 3 weeks. I absolutely guarantee that your training experience will improve and you will get much more out of each class.

See you on the mats!

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