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Old 08-31-2008, 03:49 AM   #1
Aristeia
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NLP in martial arts.

Ok Kevin was interested in how Neuro Linguistic Programming may be applied to MA. There may well be other practioners here who will want to contribute, but here's a couple of my thoughts.

First of all the warning - much of the context of my examples will be BJJ as this has been my focus since my NLP training. There are certainly crossovers into Aikido though.

Also this is off the top of my head - much of the application is becoming unconscious for me know so this may be a bit piecemeal.

Much of what I've been aware of changing is my languaging while coaching. Particularly understanding the impact of positive over negative langage.

Don't think of a pink elephant.

Notice what just happened? You thought of a pink elephant even though I told you not to. Cause the brain doesn't process the "don't" bit of it and just creates an internal representation of an elephant. Why is this important? Because we know that mental visualisation and rehearsal can in some cirucmstances be as effective of physcial rehearsal.

So we want to be careful about what movies we're allowing to run in our heads.

Perfect example - a few years ago one of my students was walking on to a competition mat vs a guy who is a known triangle specialist. My last words to him as he walked out were "don't get triangled".

oops. He of course, got triangled - and I have to say there's a good chance that is at least partially down to me planting the suggestion in his head. What I should have said of course is "keep your posture, both arms in or both arms out..." etc.

IOW in general ensuring you're telling students what you do want them to do rather than what you don't.

An aikido example may be instead of saying "don't try and catch the punch" saying "track the arm". Or instead of "stop using strength" saying "find the line where it becomes effortless"

Also you'll never hear me say to a class "this tech can be difficult" although you may hear me say "this tech is less easy than some of the others" (the unconscious doesn't process the "less" part of the sentance)

So that's one.

Another example is understanding the link between mind and body. Our emotional states affect our performance and our internal states and our external physiology are linked. Every state has an associated physiology.

Here's how I discovered the importance of this in BJJ. Trapped under sidecontrol - usually you'll see people grimacing, gritting their teeth etc. I was no exception. And focusing on one escape - which is being defended and getting nowhere.
Then one night I was in a silly mood. I was rolling with a guy that can really challenge me and found myself on the bottom. But because I was in a silly mood I kept smiling and laughing -and I noticed something. I noticed I was aware of a much fuller range of escape options than I normally would have been. So I started to experiment. Every time I got in a bad position (which is plenty) I would smile like I was toying with the guy. And it always had the same effect - my whole being relaxed, my mind was able to access my knowledge - I became solution focused rather than problem focused. I've since had a few others experiment with it and they have reported similar results.

A couple of other things related to competition - but you could sub a grading in instead.
State control. I took all my students through the process of setting a basic anchor for comps. Some of them were firey guys that need to be able to access a calmer state to compete well, others were overly chilled and needed to be able to fire themselves up. Set anchors for all of them, and those that used them reported good results.

I also set a collapse anchor for myself for comps. I was aware I was not nervous at all at comps - too busy organising the team and running corners - until I heard my name called and then I got the adrenalin dump. So I collapsed that anchor into another one I call - rolling with a newb state. That feeling when you know you can be all over the guy and have fun doing whatever you want. So now in comps when I hear my name called you'll see and eager smile spread over my face as I step up to the mat. Again you could do the same for gradings.

The final thing I'll mention now is perhaps only specific to our specific teaching style in BJJ. Particuarly with large groups we tend to teach talking the entire group through a step at a time so they don't miss anything out and the coach can identify any problems real quick. If I know there's a more tricky part to the technique, before I get them to do it I'll use an imbedded command - usually "imagine" or "picture this".

e.g. "ok now picture this, you're going to pull their weight forward, kick your right foot over the your right shoulder and stick your right hook so you roll up into mount. go".

The effect this has is they run the movie in their mind just before carrying out the action - so they have the benefit of mental rehearsal and become convinced on a subconscious level that they can do it.

One of the challenges in BJJ in particular is getting people to make good use of their sparring time. i.e. having specific plans they are looking to impliment that don't get forgotten as soon as they slap hands.
To alleviate this I occasionally get people to sit with their eyes closed just prior to sparring and think about what their plan for the day is, and then run a couple of movies of them implimenting with people in the class. Then we spar. Pretty much every time I've done this someone has come up to me and said that they nailed what they were going for and they never have before.

So that's the thinking off the top of my head, there's bound to be more that I'll remember as it comes to mind, feel free to ask any questions.

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 08-31-2008, 07:18 AM   #2
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Re: NLP in martial arts.

IMHO, NLP has been applied a lot to skill acquisition and sport psychology, therefore it does have a lot to offer to martial arts training.

I have been most fortunate. I have over 40 years in the martial arts and was certified in the NLP by the founders Bandler and Grinder.

I would welcome a open discussion/conversation about NLP in the martial arts.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 08-31-2008, 07:46 AM   #3
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: NLP in martial arts.

Thanks Guys! I will have some questions later today I am sure, I need to think about it as I go about my day!

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Old 08-31-2008, 08:00 AM   #4
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Re: NLP in martial arts.

Sub-Modalities is a great method to increase your Martial Art skill.

A good stance and posture reflects a proper state of mind
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Old 08-31-2008, 08:25 AM   #5
Tony Wagstaffe
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Re: NLP in martial arts.

In short don't think, keep relaxed and just do.... this has been my experience....
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Old 08-31-2008, 09:25 AM   #6
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Re: NLP in martial arts.

In Japan, I learned a concept that some people in sports use called "image training". The idea is that before practicing, one imagines what is going to happen though, but not how it looks, or what steps need to be taken, but how it is going to feel. I have applied this to my Aikido training. When I imagine a technique, what comes to mind is how uke feels, where my weight should be at a certain point in a technique, how much pressure I should feel, where the empty spaces are,where the tension is, etc. Then when I practice the technique, and things don't match up, then I know either I'm doing something wrong or that I need to re-think my idea of how the technique is done. This has helped me very much.

I agree that many people spend too much time saying "Don't do this because nani nani nani....." I think it is best to only say what to do. Finding what not to do is quite easy, I think, I do it all the time!

By the way, in my experience, I have found that it also works much better telling small children what to do instead of what not to do...about anything!

-John Matsushima

My blog on Japanese culture
http://onecorneroftheplanetinjapan.blogspot.jp/
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Old 08-31-2008, 08:00 PM   #7
Aristeia
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Re: NLP in martial arts.

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
IMHO, NLP has been applied a lot to skill acquisition and sport psychology, therefore it does have a lot to offer to martial arts training.

I have been most fortunate. I have over 40 years in the martial arts and was certified in the NLP by the founders Bandler and Grinder.

I would welcome a open discussion/conversation about NLP in the martial arts.
Excellent - should hae nown you'd be all NLP'd up. Care to share any thoughts as to what areas of NLP you've found most applicable to training?

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 08-31-2008, 08:05 PM   #8
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Re: NLP in martial arts.

sorry Michael, I guess I'm rusty on my NLP concepts but I don't get your examples and how they connect with NLP.
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Old 08-31-2008, 08:08 PM   #9
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Re: NLP in martial arts.

Lynn:

As to NLP in aikido, I use it all the time in modeling techniques for students: show them, tell them, left them feel (VAK it). If they miss a block they might get to taste it as well (just kidding).
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Old 08-31-2008, 09:31 PM   #10
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Re: NLP in martial arts.

primarily the examples I mentioned are about embedded suggestions and hypnotic language, visualisation, the cybernetic system between mind and body, as well as some of the pricipals of goal setting in terms of positive vs negative language.

You'e right on with VAK as well (Visual Auditory Kinesthetic for those following along at home) -ensureing you're coaching in a way that covers all modalaties. Which includes checking with your demonstration uke if they need to see what you've just been using them to show others (or ensuring you pick a kinestheitc learner to demo on...)

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 08-31-2008, 11:53 PM   #11
Charles Hill
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Re: NLP in martial arts.

Hi,

Systema Senior Instructor Kevin Secours has a whole book that he has up on his website incorporating NLP and the martial arts. montrealsystema.com. I believe it is called Dragonmind.

Charles
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Old 09-01-2008, 12:22 AM   #12
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Re: NLP in martial arts.

Charles-couldn't find Dragon mind on his site.
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Old 09-01-2008, 04:19 AM   #13
Aristeia
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Re: NLP in martial arts.

I believe Geoff Aitken in NZ has also done some good work on this - not sure how much has made availible. Geoff is a NLP trainer level and BJJ black belt.

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 09-01-2008, 07:06 AM   #14
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Re: NLP in martial arts.

I have already written and posted several articles that incorporate NLP into AIkido training in the columns sections. You may need to check the archives.

There is also a whole chapter in on of the books on mental training.

Specifically, I like the use of mental representational systems (VAK) to learn. I tend to lead Auditory which is a slow system to process information, so eventually I process down to VK (See-Feel). Eventually just K (feel-do it).

I like the meta-programs for mental rehearsal and skill acquisition for behavior generation. Chuck/sort for the present-tense associated position.

I like anchoring/association to provide resources when I need them. So a simple one-syllable sound/word (internal auditory) can be associated with feelings (internal kinesthetic) and action (external kinesthetic). This can also be extended to the external stimulus (external visual) associated (first sequential then simultaneous) to internal response.

Reframing for positive intent is useful.

Uptime (external awareness) versus downtime (internal awareness) trance states are also useful.

I think there are a lot of us in NLP and MA. Be curious how others are using it.

Enough to get us started in this mental discipline/training?

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 09-02-2008, 07:56 AM   #15
Larry Cuvin
 
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Re: NLP in martial arts.

This reminds me of mind and body coordination and the phrase " Ki Sho Tenketsu": ki goes, mind follows, then body.

Plus Ki
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Old 09-02-2008, 10:34 AM   #16
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Re: NLP in martial arts.

Quote:
John Matsushima wrote: View Post
In Japan, I learned a concept that some people in sports use called "image training". The idea is that before practicing, one imagines what is going to happen though, but not how it looks, or what steps need to be taken, but how it is going to feel. I have applied this to my Aikido training. When I imagine a technique, what comes to mind is how uke feels, where my weight should be at a certain point in a technique, how much pressure I should feel, where the empty spaces are,where the tension is, etc. Then when I practice the technique, and things don't match up, then I know either I'm doing something wrong or that I need to re-think my idea of how the technique is done. This has helped me very much.
I spent two deployments doing this aboard ship as slow "shadowboxing" through the core syllabus of waza and as many variations or changes as I could think of. It is still good training now.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 09-02-2008, 01:15 PM   #17
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Re: NLP in martial arts.

Yes, where the head goes the body follows. I heard that in Aikido, but also knew it was true in psychology. We tend to be governed by the mental map we carry in there.

The brain and its neuropathways can be repatterned, called neuroplasticity, by realistic repetitive mental rehearsal. Some will start with imagery (visualized best from the associated/inside position), other (like me) lead with the auditory talking through, eventually we lead/overlap it to the kinesthetic (feel/do).

Metaprograms, I like to get the big picture (complete movement) first before I get the little picture (details). Other like the step-by-step detailed little picture leading to the big picture. Both sequential strategies work. You just have to find the one that works for you and training partners/instructors that follow the same pattern. Actually good instructors will teach both ways depending on how the student best learns.

IMHO, NLP isn't necessarily anything new, its just a way of coding what we already know and do (both what works and what doesn't).

Until again,
Lynn

Lynn Seiser PhD
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We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 09-02-2008, 03:24 PM   #18
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Re: NLP in martial arts.

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
Yes, where the head goes the body follows. I heard that in Aikido, but also knew it was true in psychology. We tend to be governed by the mental map we carry in there.
I learned that from my motorcycle license lessons

A good stance and posture reflects a proper state of mind
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Old 09-02-2008, 03:41 PM   #19
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Re: NLP in martial arts.

Quote:
Shany Golan wrote: View Post
I learned that from my motorcycle license lessons
Oh yes, I forgot that was the rule on the scoots too.

Lynn Seiser PhD
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We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 09-02-2008, 10:43 PM   #20
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Re: NLP in martial arts.

This works quite well in training imho. I still have fond memories of tameshigiri sessions and being amazed at how easily and cleanly my sword cut when I visualized "cutting through an opponent" instead of "cutting a piece of bamboo". The follow through in body and mind were very different given the different mental images. This transfers to a lot of areas in Aikido training and I think is extremely important to serious development. Its application to power generation alone is very interesting.

Best.
LC

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Old 09-03-2008, 12:52 AM   #21
Charles Hill
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Re: NLP in martial arts.

Quote:
John Riggs wrote: View Post
Charles-couldn't find Dragon mind on his site.
Hi John,

Should have checked first. Go to the articles section and look for "The Path of the Ronin."

Charles
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Old 09-03-2008, 07:02 AM   #22
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Re: NLP in martial arts.

[quote=Larry Camejo;215225]I still have fond memories of tameshigiri sessions and being amazed at how easily and cleanly my sword cut when I visualized "cutting through an opponent" instead of "cutting a piece of bamboo". The follow through in body and mind were very different given the different mental images.QUOTE]
Osu,

Agreed. I often think that ki follows the path/visualization we give it. Extension of ki may be found in this projection. (of course, it also needs the proper body alignment and mechanics)

Rei, Domo.

Lynn Seiser PhD
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We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 09-15-2008, 02:01 PM   #23
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Re: NLP in martial arts.

Okay, this is very cool. I'll definitely have to check out the archives to learn more about NLP.

Seems a lot like what I know of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy.
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Old 09-16-2008, 10:55 AM   #24
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Re: NLP in martial arts.

Quote:
Carolyn Parkinson wrote: View Post
Seems a lot like what I know of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy.
IMHO, cognitive therapy gives the bigger picture mostly through generalized abstractions and nominalization. NLP gives the small picture details and vocabulary of application (how).

Lynn Seiser PhD
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We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 09-17-2008, 04:11 AM   #25
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Re: NLP in martial arts.

To my understanding, NLP is a form of "hypnotism" using suggestive language that asks the listener to imagine or fantasize a particular situation that is vague enough that they must fill in the blanks thus creating an experience that they can identify with and that can be used by the "hypnotist" to bring about a certain response.

You can check out some of Ross Jeffries NLP seminars on youtube where he trains guys to use it for picking up women. Most of his material are sexual metaphors.

I am not sure how NLP fits in with traditional MA. Most Japanese systems I have seen are taught in a strict military style environment where you learn by mistakes, injuries and pain. I have seen teachers try to "talk" a technique into someone but I don't think it works as well as actually doing/experiencing and seeing it in action. In this case actions speak louder than words. Maybe in MA we should substitute the L in NLP with P for Physical?
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