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Old 06-08-2008, 04:28 PM   #2
Joe McParland
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Dojo: Sword Mountain Aikido & Zen
Location: Baltimore, MD
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 309
Re: Mental Toughness

Anonymous User wrote: View Post
I'm in the process of owning up to the core problem with my training:
fear and lack of physical conditioning.

I've also come to the realization these are not separate problems. They feed off each other in a constant loop. That being said, the one I need more help with is the mental toughness.

So... how the HELL do you get comfortable with uncomfortable things? How do you jump in the deep end? How do you not get paralyzed by fear or embarassment?

The one thing I've figured up is show up. No matter what, I gotta end up in the dojo. Things will NOT improve if i'm not there. That being said, when I'm the dojo, I end up hiding: just working with beginners, working with the people who don't challenge me, etc. I need to fix this, but I don't know how.

And BTW, "just choose to" is a non-answer, right up there with 'don't get hit' and 'just throw him'. If your answer is 'you need to figure out what works for you,' tell me what worked for you. I apologize for the frustration, but I'm finding it difficult to 'just' decide, and it is hard to look for advice and find platitudes.
"I look at myself sitting in my easy chair and yell out loud, "Get off your ass!" but look: I'm still in my chair. I yell louder; still there. I can reason with and plead with my ass, but it ignores me, just sitting there. How do I get up? I'm concerned that my ass is fat, having sat here for so long, and I have fallen on it once or twice over the years when not in my easy chair. What should I do? And please, no one tell me to just get up!"

Barring any serious obstacles, neither the choice nor the will to get up and get going to practice can come from anywhere but you.

Physical conditioning comes from, well, physical conditioning, and confidence comes from a line of successes in trying things that may have once been outside your level and experience. Many practice aikido specifically to work on mind-body integration---connecting your will to do it (the "just choose to do it") with the actual doing it, so to speak---and the people most likely to offer support in your reaching your objectives will be your instructors and fellow practitioners once you get to know them. But that requires getting in there and opening up to them in the first place.

So, is there really anything standing between you and your practice except for the thoughts you hold between your own two ears?
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