Starve your Distractions and Feed your Focus!
One of the most amazing things to witness is when a child that has been labelled unfocussed is impacted from the positive benefits that martial arts can offer. I’ve seen this again and again where a student is easily distracted and through training, they develop a new sense of self and take their life in a new direction.
What is focus? The Webster’s dictionary defines focus as a centre of activity, attraction or attention. A point of concentration.
To me focus means blocking out distractions. A lot of times we face distractions, whether it be external or internal, and being able to put them aside and focus in on what you need to do is a skill that requires practise. The ability to focus when things are quiet or slow paced is a lot easier than focussing when you have a million things pulling you in a million directions. With the digital age we are inundated with constant 24X7 news feeds, social media, email, text and video to the point where it occupies an enormous amount of our time, energy and focus. In fact, the average person now spends nearly 4 hours on their phone every day.
With statistics like this it becomes evident that things like technology and social media are pulling us in different directions and are impacting our abilities to concentrate on a regular basis. So, what does this have to do with martial arts?
Karate class time at First Choice Martial Arts is designed so the student takes time for his or her personal development. Whether it be mental or physical it is during the lesson that the student will begin to train in a way that not only develops them physically but mentally as well. Goals, progress and achievement are all par for the course but only when one decides they are going to direct their mental focus into acquiring these things. Focus is one component that plays a big part in a student’s success and it is through mastering this skill that one will ultimately succeed.
When a student attends a class the first thing needed to be a better student is to understand that you need to focus during martial arts training. Before a single technique is taught to a student they must learn how to stand in a ready stance. Although this seems simple it is a way for the student to calm themselves and put their mind in a state of focus and begin training.
Another thing the student will learn is how to listen in an active way. Whether it be yelling yes sir, responding to a command a certain way or making good eye contact; each student learns the importance of how to listen actively. This increases student memory and retention as well as further develops technique in a positive way. Without realizing it students begin to listen, process and react in a way that increases their self-control.
Focus Anchors are another good way to engage with a student and teach them how to bring it back when they get a little distracted. Whether it be a specific command or gesture from a Sensei, children will react quicker in the dojo and wasted time can be minimized as they can get back to the task promptly. These little tricks are not a secret and if they work in the class, using little tricks like this at school and home can increase concentration with children.
Last week was a special week at First Choice Martial Arts as we hosted our September graduation ceremony. During a large crowd performance each student showcased their exceptional ability to concentrate during many external distractions. From the parents, relatives and cameras the pressure each student experienced was greater than usual. The result, each student graduated and showed an impeccable amount of focus during their performance. This skill was used at a key moment in time and the student is now better prepared to translate that skill into other areas of their life going forward.
Keep up the great work!