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Home > Columns > > April, 2006 - Motivational Strategies
by Lynn Seiser

Motivational Strategies by Lynn Seiser

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I have trained in martial arts and fighting systems my entire adult life. I started when I was 17. That was 38 years ago.

It was once suggested to me that I started the martial arts out of fear. I had to admit that was why I started. When asked if I was still afraid, I had to admit I wasn't.

When I am asked why I continue, I say I don't golf. There is something about the windmill and clown faces that I just never got over.

When asked how I get myself to keep showing up, I always respond it's because it's who I am and I am having fun.

This is just getting me started about modern sport psychology applied to traditional martial arts training. Here are a few initial thoughts for your consideration and conversation.

There are usually two directions to motivation, away from and towards. Most fear-based motivation is away-from. It's what we don't want to happen, it's negative. Towards motivation is what we do want to happen, it's positive. There is a difference in how you train if it's because you are afraid and don't want to get beat up or if you want to feel better yourself and safer when facing conflict. I often ask people if they make a shopping list based on what they want or what they don't want. It's amazing how many people spend most of their life in the negativity of always searching, and finding, what they don't really want. A great propulsion system is to remind yourself of what will happen if you don't train (giving a little push from behind) and what will happen if you do (a pull from the front).

Another factor or variable in motivation is whether it is external or internal. Are you training to please someone else or yourself? Does the reward or payoff from training come through recognition by others who are watching or will appreciate your accomplishments or from an internal sense of better well-being and self-acceptance and appreciation. When no one is watching, how well do you train? As humans, we all want to be accepted and appreciated by others. As humans, most of us suffer most because we don't accept and appreciate ourselves.

Are you most motivated by something visual, auditory, or kinesthetic? When you ask yourself how you get yourself to train well, you may find that it is through the visual image of how it looks to you and others. Others are motivated because of what it says about them. Still others are motivated because of how it feels or how it's going to feel.

You may be motivated away from your past because of who you used to be and towards the future of who you would like to be. You may be motivated by the acceptance and appreciation of others as well as yourself. You may motivate yourself by what you see, hear, and feel.

When you've trained as long as I have, it's just what you do and who you are. The motivation comes through identity, enjoyment of the activity, and the people.

Whatever it takes, I hope we are all motivated to become better people and to work together towards a better world. I hope one day we can share space and time training together and enjoy our humanness.

Thanks for listening, for the opportunity to be of service, and for sharing the journey. Get back to training. KWATZ!

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