Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Basic Meditation for Fighters

Meditation is extremely important to a fighter. Improved nervous system function, improved blood flow, and increased ability to focus are just a few of the reasons martial artists and fighters should be meditating on a regular basis.

And you wouldn’t be alone if you decided to add meditation to your regimen.

For centuries Asian Martial Artists have used meditation as a means towards spiritual perfection and to aid their combat abilities. The Wudang and Shaolin Monks of China, the Samurai of Japan, Muay Thai Fighters of Thailand, and even (more recently) Lyoto Machida and Rickson Gracie of Brazil.

For a fighter learning to meditate consists of mastering two aspects: controlling your breathing and controlling your mind.

Controlling your Breathing

There are two different methods of breathing we will be concerning ourselves with at this point of our training: Buddhist and Taoist breathing. Both breathing methods are intended to improve control of the lower abdomen (called the Dan Tien by practitioners of Qigong). By improving control of the Dan Tien the fighter can learn to stimulate and engage their nervous system.

(note: All breathing will be done through nose.)

1) "Buddhist Breathing" - Sit or stand in a comfortable, natural position. Make sure to keep your spine erect and allow it maintain its natural curve. Place your tongue to the roof of your mouth just behind your teeth. As you inhale do not allow your chest to puff out, instead, have your lower abdomen extend. This will have the effect of filling your entire lungs with air. As you exhale draw your lower abdomen back in as you are drawing your belly button back towards your spine. Make sure you relax and try to avoid any excess tension in your body.

2) "Taoist Breathing" - Start off this method in the same manner as "Buddhist Breathing", however, your abdominal action will be the exact opposite. As you inhale draw your lower abdomen inward as though trying to pull your belly button towards your spine. Upon exhalation let your lower abdomen return to its normal position. This method is especially useful if you are in need of a boost of energy or are engaged in sporting activity.

At first being able to control the Dan Tien may be difficult. However, by practicing these two breathing methods it will become second nature to you.

There are literally thousands of different forms of meditation and many of them are quite helpful. But I like to keep things simple so, we are going to be using a simple focus meditation called Dan Tien Meditation. As the name suggests we are going to be meditating on the Dan Tien.

Dan Tien Meditation

Start off by sitting or standing in the same manner you did for the Taoist and Buddhist breathing exercises. Begin breathing in either the Buddhist or Taoist manner. Now close your eyes and bring you attention to your Dan Tien and maintain that focus. Should you notice that your focus has wandered gently bring it back to the Dan Tien. You will notice at first that it is difficult to maintain Dan Tien focus for even a few seconds but over time and with practice it will become easier and easier to maintain your focus on the Dan Tien. 5-20 minutes of daily training is sufficient for this practice. During this meditation is a great time to get in practice of both Buddhist and Taoist breathing – make sure you spend time doing both.

Here are a few different ideas for incorporating meditation into your daily training:

• Before bed – Doing a bit of seated meditation before is a great way to end the day and it’ll also help you get a better night’s sleep.

• While you’re doing San Ti posture – Doing the Dan Tien Meditation while holding San Ti helps you kill two birds with one stone.

• While you’re waiting – We’ve all been in a situation where we have to wait somewhere (like in the waiting room at your local doctors office) and would really like for something productive to do. Well, it’s times like these that are perfect for getting in a few minutes of Dan Tien Meditation.

Train Hard,

Josh Skinner (donjitsu2)

No comments:

Post a Comment