Saturday, 28 June 2008

Strength from the Mind

Everybody wants to be strong and powerful. Good technique and dazzling speed are a must for each martial artist, but most want to be strong, powerful and above all, want to be able to use this strength.

To acquire this ability, many lift weights. They lift, push and pull daily, constantly trying to overcome barriers and lift that little bit more. Lifting weights is probably the best and quickest way to build the kind of strength wished by many. The only problem is, if you stop lifting, even for a couple of weeks, you quickly see this strength fade away.

Some martial artists build there strength through the practise of there martial art. Grapplers throw, scramble on the floor and constantly push and pull there opponents to get strong whilst strikers kick and punch the heavy bag with full power for years. Like with weights, this produces some good all round strength which is more specific for there chosen art/s.

Others however think that strength does not have to be built but that it has to be found. Without sounding like on old philosophical wise man, these people believe that strength can be found using the power of the mind. If you think you’re strong you shall be. A portion taken from Arnold Shwarzenegger’s book The Encyclopaedia to Modern Body Building tells the story of Franco Columbo about to squat some weight. He couldn’t even manage the one rep. A bunch of Italian American kids (what Franco is) then walked in, with the hope of watching there idol train. Arnold proceeded to take Franco outside and said to him “you cant get under the squat bar again and fail whilst these kids who idolise you watch” Then Franco’s face changed as he marched back into the gym, psyching himself up, getting under the bar and managing eight reps instead of the six he was going for!

Did Franco suddenly become stronger and more powerful? No. But he did find the strength somewhere with a little help from his mind and a positive attitude to succeed. This is the type of strength that people rarely have the ability to achieve. The strength of the mind is greater than any amount of bag work or weights. The relationship between the body and the mind is something that all must strive to find as with it, it is very hard to fail.

The following is the great Kyokushin Karate master Mas Oyama. A man with great strength and power. Someone who has obviously found this strength through his determination and motivation. His facial expressions clearly show that his mind and body are linked which is probably why he has become one of the greatest martial artists ever.


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