Thursday, May 3, 2012


Last weekend my dojo held its annual tournament.  As I usually do, I competed in the forms division.  I wound up taking 3rd, which is the first time I've placed since I've been a black belt.  What was the difference this time?

Well, this time my warmup beforehand was less about making sure I could execute the form and more about just staying loose.  I went into the ring not caring about placing or ranking, I just wanted to show the judges the best kata I could.  I mean I already knew the form I chose and it's not like I was going to get better in 30 minutes of practice!  It did help that there were a few less competitors this time - I can't discount that - but I was less nervous (yes, I still get a little nervous!) and focused more on being in the moment than worrying about doing it "right".

This got me thinking about confidence, which is something people have asked me to talk about.  How do you get confidence?  I've posted about it here, but this is another take on the subject.

When you're about to perform, and those butterflies start ravaging your stomach, it's usually due to two things.  You either feel like you're not ready, or you're worried about messing up.  At this point, the only thing that's going to turn that around is faith.

It's having faith in that you've been practicing earnestly enough to do what you're about to do, faith that your teachers have done their best in getting you to this point, and faith that no matter what happens you'll be ok.  It's easier said than done, but it IS possible to get yourself in that mindset.

There's one thing you have to do in order to get there, and I'm going to tell you what that is.  Ready?  Don't have expectations.  That's it!  Don't expect to mess up.  Don't expect to rock the crowd.  Don't expect to fail.  Don't expect to stand out.  Don't expect anything!

The more expectations you set up, the more your mind will think of ways things can go wrong.  Why do that to yourself?  Enjoy the moment, enjoy the performance, and enjoy yourself!

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