All forms of physical training require you to condition the Mind and Body. In fact David Goggins, in his book Can’t Hurt Me, says you must “Callus Your Mind.” In other words, you must go through discomfort and pain, push yourself beyond your perceived limits and over time, a callus will develop.

If you don’t know who David Goggins is, you’ll need to see what this guy does for training (profanity alert!). Start at this link and you can get access to his media.

Wandering Warrior Blog - Ian Hollinsworth Condition The Mind and Body

No matter whether you are a top athlete or someone that just got that New Year kick up the bum, you must push yourself through the discomfort and perhaps some pain (DOMS and AMS) until the pain and discomfort subsides. And it does.

But then of course you, challenge yourself to a bigger goal with new, bigger targets. And you go through it all again. Just on a Higher Level!

The seasoned practitioners of Martial Arts, Sport and alike, all go through this cycle; to be faster, to jump higher, to kick higher and maybe to be able to beat opponents and be the champion.

You don’t just “Hit the wall” and stop. You try to smash through it, push through any fatigue and the “pain barrier,” so that you can achieve what you set out to do.

What is Conditioning The Mind and Body?

Let us use Taekwondo as an example and Larson and Julia both won’t to compete in Open Tournament in 6 months time. Neither of them have competed regularly but do train fairly regularly. You need Focus, Stamina/Fitness, Flexibility, Speed for Sparring but so is experience, nutrition, rest and hydration. There’s a lot to think about.

First, probably with the help of their Instructor/Coach, they need to plan out the next 6 months leading up to the competition. Next they will need a training regime and a diet/nutrition plan.

What would you be prepared to do so that you could give 100% throughout the 6 months (and beyond) and perform at your very best at the competition?

Conditioning For Martial Arts

Have you lost interest already?

Julia and Larson’s training times will need to be scheduled around school, work and other commitments. It may involve early morning and weekend training. Outside the regular training schedule, they are going to have to push themselves and each other. They will need to create new habits for sleep, eating, and even shopping.

To be or not to be Uncomfortable

Julia calls Larson and say she’s missing a session, leaving Larson to decide whether he gets up at 6am and does his training alone, in the dark. Does Larson have the motivation? Or will he just stay in this morning, because it’s nice and warm in the house?

What would you do if you were Larson?

Cheeky Donuts

Larson has a penchant for doughnuts. The stickier the better. But he’s on a strict diet now because he needs to lose 2kg and maintain that for the weigh-in, or it’s a likely disqualification. Does he have the will to stay off the doughnuts, or will he be dunkin’ again?

Could you give up your bad habits and sweet tooth?

Lose The Habit of Being Yourself

So it looks like Larson and Julia have to change their habits and get uncomfortable. Otherwise they will not win that competition and Larson may even be prevented from competing altogether.

They both seem quite comfortable with how their lives are and don’t really want to make any changes. The outcome (winning the tournament) doesn’t really look that important. Maybe they weren’t that serious about winning. It was more a “would like” than “I must” or “I want.”

How serious you about your goals?

Get Help from Others

If Julia and Larson could get more focused and motivated on the outcome and how that might make them feel (put themselves on the winners podium), then that might make them try a bit harder.

Who do you know that could you get help/support from?


Publicly announcing their intention to compete, may give them additional motivation and additional support and encouragement from their fellow students, Instructor, friends and family. Publicly announcing their intention to compete makes the event, training and winning a lot more important and if they failed, or worse “chickened out,” that could be quite embarrassing.

How would it feel to be known as a “Quitter?” Especially to family, friends and the other members of the club.

Motivating Yourself

Larson and Julia (and You) need the ability to motivate Self.

All the support and accountability are great for getting you through the training and to the event, but what happens at the competition is a solo event. You will need to have it within you to give it your all and to keep going?

It is better to have this Self Motivation built-in. If you think about it, Larson and Julia needed to have the Self Motivation right from the beginning. Making the decision was easy because it’s just words, but once the planning, accountability and training begins, they must both have that ability to motivate themselves, which should in-turn motivate each other.

What happens if one of them gives up? Julia quits because waking up early and getting out of bed, dressed and along to the training park was too much.

So, will Larson quit now because Julia has quit? No buddy, no accountability, no competition.

It Doesn’t Come Without Pain

The intensity of the training regime increases. You train more hours per week and during those sessions you work really hard. You are pushing your body much more than it was used to. You will feel discomfort, aches, pains, fatigue and your body will want to stop. But what is it you are trying to achieve and how will you feel once you have gone though all this and achieved what you set out to do?

But at these times and there will be many, the strongest will push-on, trying harder. The weaker will make excuses and whither away. Ultimately, the choices/decisions you make will wither make you a winner or a wuss-bag!

Which one are you?

How To Condition The Mind

Mental conditioning (or conditioning of the mind) is the process of training your mind to modify your thoughts, attitudes and beliefs.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

Your beliefs become your thoughts.
Your thoughts become your words.
Your words become your actions.
Your actions become your habits.
Your habits become your values.
Your values become your destiny.

I can’t do that

It is sad that when you ask a student to try a technique or a physical task and they respond with “I can’t.”?

They haven’t even tried and honestly, I don’t even think they even grasped what it s they have been asked to do, before they mutter the words “I can’t.” It seems to be a fear response or an anxiety issue. That takes a little while to shift and may need investigating further (not by me though!).

Some examples of fear and residence in classes:

  • A Four year old walking along a Bench
  • A Nine year old jumping and kicking a pad
  • A 50+ year old jumping up on to a 40cm bench
  • Various individuals blocking their partner, that was punching towards them at a distance
  • One adult not coping with random target drills (pad could be anywhere)

They do it eventually. But even with these little wins, there is still this cloud of incertitude.

The only way to deal with fear is to face it

Yes, that is easy to say and in the main, this can be achieved in class. But some people are not ready or willing to face their fears. They are quite happy hiding away, isolating themselves and avoiding anything that challenges them.

Avoiding fear only prevents us from moving forward and can make us anxious. But for some, past experience or lack of experience can limit their self belief. Gentle encouragement and a little reassurance, where they feel safe, can help clear the fog.

Believe in You!

Psychologist Albert Bandura (1995) defined self-belief (or self-efficacy) as “people’s beliefs in their capabilities to exercise control over their own functioning and over events that affect their lives. One’s sense of self-efficacy can provide the foundation for motivation, well-being, and personal accomplishment.”

So, if you believe you are able to complete tasks and achieve goals, you are more likely to succeed.

How To Condition The Body

Body conditioning focuses on developing strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular fitness, and flexibility. Martial Arts toughens the body up through light and continuous impact on the tools used to strike. Skin, muscle and bone will be conditioned through general training and more specific conditioning drills.

The Impact of Conditioning

It is usual to find thicker/hardened skin on your feet from walking and running. Even if you wear shoes and boots, calluses form. Just like conditioning of the mind, repetition is key. The simplest (safest) example is being barefoot on a wooden floor and gently, to start with, striking a bag or even the floor. Though time, the feet will harden from being barefoot on the floor and calluses will start to form on each of the impact zones.

Sparring with a partner, wearing safety equipment if necessary, will add to the conditioning. Being hit is a way to learn to be hit, take a hit, survive a hit.

Goalkeepers condition their body by diving for the ball. Whatever the angle, weather or power of the shot, the goalkeeper needs to have the confidence and save that ball from going in the net.

As strange as it may seem, swimmers and divers also condition their body. They must be able to form the correct shape to enter the pool, so they don’t smack their head on the water (it hurts), don’t splash and are streamline for speed.

Breathing Easy

The number of times I have to remind students to breath is a lot! Saying that, I’m probably guilty of irregular breath control, even when just sitting. Breathing is something we have been doing since the first skelp on the arse from the lovely Midwife at the hospital. But we are all pretty rubbish at it.

Have you just corrected your breathing while reading that? I did and I was typing it!!

There are many types/styles of breathing. Or more correctly, there are many types/styles of Breath Control. 12-20 breathes per minute is considered “normal respiration.”

Let’s do a little breath control exercise. You can set a timer if you like. Try 3minutes to start with:

  1. Put one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach
  2. Gently close your eyes, relax and focus on your breathing
  3. Slowly breathe in through your nose, with your mouth closed
  4. Breathe out through your nose
  5. Try to use as little effort as possible and make your breaths slow, relaxed and smooth.

How do you feel now after that short exercise? Or didn’t you bother to do it?!

Here are some additional benefits to good breath control:

  • Helps destress the body
  • Improves down-time and sleep
  • Promotes Rapid Recovery
  • Strengthens Respiratory System
  • Promotes Healing of Mind and Body
  • Improves Athletic Performance
  • Helps combat Anxiety

And there are many more. So breathe….

Beating The Fatigue

We all get tired, especially when we have been working hard ad/or for a long period of time. We need to push our bodies to make them grow, We need to push our bodies so that we become stronger. Staying in our comfort zone keeps us limited. Yes it is comfortable, but we need to challenge, develop and strengthen ourselves or we become stagnant and weak. Especially as we get older.

Making sure you have a good routine in place will help you combat the fatigue. Proper rest, nutrition and hydration all aid recovery. But like all the things covered here, you must make the right decisions to achieve the results you want.

13 Ways To Improve Your Life

But It Hurts

Pushing The Body and the Mind will cause discomfort and a degree of pain. You are probably familiar with Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) – muscle soreness that normally starts a day or two after a workout. You won’t feel DOMS during a workout but Acute Muscle Soreness (AMS) is the soreness felt in muscles during and immediately, for up to 24 hours, after strenuous physical exercise.

If you have experienced with of these, then you know the soreness and discomfort subside.

So don’t wuss-out over a little bit of discomfort. Your muscles are growing stronger, repairing and preparing for the next session.

How Champions Condition The Mind and Body

The easy option is to quit and go back to your comfort zone. But in that zone, you don’t grow, you don’t exceed, you don’t become anything. You simply stay the same.

If you want something, be someone, achieve something, you have to do the work, even if it’s hard work. You have to go through the discomfort, the soreness and even a little bit of pain.

You have to prepare yourself, to condition your mind and body so that you can achieve your goals and become that person you wanted to be. But how much you want to become that person, determines whether you get through the hard times or not.

And when you have achieved that level. Time to level up again, because the condition of champions is ever changing. Someone else, in another town, region or country is still working. They are still pushing themselves to reach the next level; even when nobody is looking.

Program the mind to create good habits and override the thoughts of doughnuts, sleeping in, giving half effort or even quitting. Keep your eyes on the prize by reminding yourself why you are doing this.

First, start to Condition the Mind and then the Body.

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