Positive Visualisation In Kata
We all sat down against the wall and looked expectantly at Sensei.
Frank…” Frank leapt to his feet and stood in the centre of the hall facing the students in a ready stance.
Frank moved to attention stance, bowed to a 45 degree angle moved his feet apart and placed his left hand over his right, ring finger to ring finger before making a circle with his arms in front of him. He then proceeded to move through the Kata making each movement as powerful as possible breathing out heavily with the application of each move and making his kiai so loud it was deafening! At certain points he was trying so hard he stumbled, falling over his own feet. At the end he was soaked in sweat and breathing really heavily
“Okay…. Sit down….. John…” John got up and moved somewhat nervously to the centre.
John went through the same kata but with a completely different character, he looked hesitant, nervous and ineffectual. You could tell that he was nervous with us watching him, he paused and nearly forgot the Kata several times. When he finished he couldn’t wait to sit back down.
“First… a question… Frank… did you have an opponent present in your mind when you performed the Kata?”
“And…. Who won?”
Frank looked confused. Thought for a few seconds, then blushed….”Erm…. I’m not sure Sensei….”
“John… did you have an opponent present?”
“I tried to Sensei, but I was nervous and he kept disappearing”…
“And who won?”
John coloured up… “He did Sensei.”
“So this shows the power and weaknesses in our imagination. We show what’s on the inside by what we do on the outside. Frank, you were desperate, it showed in your demeanour, your facial expressions and movement, your kiai didn’t express power but desperation, you tried so hard that you even fell over your own feet. You were frightened and lost against the opponent that you created. Therefore he defeated you.
John, you created an opponent but were so distracted by your surroundings and your fear of others opinions that you couldn’t even keep your focus on him and keep him in your mind. Your own inner fears destroyed you even before you confronted him, your demeanour was nervous and distracted, therefore you were also defeated.
We constantly say that the only opponent we really have in the Martial Arts is the one inside of ourselves, yet have you paid enough attention to that opponent?
Visualisation is a powerful tool in our training toolbox if we know how to use it. If you are using negative visualisation as both of you were doing, you’re actually reinforcing a negative state of mind! When you think about it, you’re creating an imaginary opponent and then allowing him to defeat you!
So positive visualisation and creative role play is vital. Use your mind to create a scary opponent and then defeat him. DO NOT LOSE! This is important. Constantly reinforce this positive role play. Train hard. Use your mental attitude, your physical attitude, practise making your body language positive, your eyes strong and direct, your voice authoritive and powerful.
Practise so hard that you change your ways forever. This is the purpose of Martial Arts study and particularly Kata. If you try too hard you become desperate and weak – learn how to be authoritive. This is the meaning of Kigurai “the bearing and demeanour of a senior Martial Artist”. Whilst training you use kiai to bring all your sources of “animation” together in harmony, when you can do this – you become a person of Aiki… It means that you have internalised it sufficiently, that you have become it.
Don’t underestimate the power of your mind to bring about personal change. It’s 80% of your study and requires constant attentiveness. Also, don’t underestimate the amount of study and training that it requires to change. But remember, that every time you practice and allow yourself to be defeated, you are reinforcing your weaknesses!
Take the time to prepare yourself mentally BEFORE you do your kata, don’t start until you are adequately prepared, mental preparation can be done 24/7. Don’t “discipline” your mind because that’s negative, TRAIN and ENCOURAGE it into a positive mode and allow your body language and aura to reflect it.
THAT’S Kata training……”