In any sport, it is important to maintain a high level of concentration in order to win. How about in kendo? As you are constantly battling close with your opponent in a short match time, if you lose one moment of concentration you will expose yourself to the opponent. In order to win in kendo, you need to keep your concentration high and attack and defend properly throughout the match. But in a real match, you often lose concentration amid the pressure and as the match circumstances change. It would be beneficial if you could prepare for such situations by training your concentration during your daily life. So, here are 3 methods that can train your concentration, all in just 3 minutes, which would help you get better at kendo!
Count to 60
During the match, you may concede an ippon to your opponent and have to fight with a disadvantage. But if you stay calm, you can keep your concentration and keep fighting. Staying calm is exactly how you maintain concentration. A stable mind is hugely important in kendo, but it is quite a difficult thing to train. But don’t worry! You can do it at home easily. It is “count to 60 training”.
How to count to 60 seconds
First, open the digital stop watch on your smartphone (or use a timer). When you push start, close your eyes and count to 60 in your mind as accurately as possible. When you have counted, open your eyes and click stop. If the stop watch shows 60 seconds, you are clear! Repeat this until you can get it done. This method is about counting 60 seconds in your mind and training it so it is exactly 60 seconds. When you count even 1 second in your mind, it is often a little bit too fast or too slow. Counting each second accurately you need to keep your mind stable. If your mind is wandering about or if you are flustered your counting will not be accurate. Calm your mind down and count 1 second by second. As you do this each day, your mind will naturally grasp the length of a minute, and you will be able to naturally keep a calm mind. It is a very drab exercise but very effective!
3 minutes of calming your mind before sleeping
There is a way of improving your kendo by taking just 3 minutes before you go to bed. That is – writing a journal. Your mind is usually relaxed before going to bed, so it is a good time to settle your mind. As you write your journal before sleeping, you can see yourself more objectively. It is quite fun reflecting on yourself. Your brain can collect your thoughts better if you write it by hand. If you develop a habit of collecting your thoughts, you can keep a calm mind during matches or be able to think and strategize instantly during matches.
How to write a 3 minute journal
Prepare a notebook (or paper) and pen (pencil). Write 5 things.
- A goal you want to achieve
- A goal for one year later
- What you did today toward that goal
- Good points, bad points
- What you will do tomorrow
By setting your long term goal (dream) and focusing on today as your calculate backwards, you will tend to be more mindful of each action you take during the day. When you are more mindful of yourself, you will be more able to control your emotions and stay calm during matches. You do not need to try and write something great at the start. Even one line is fine. Enjoy it and make sure it continues.
Training that improves your concentration drastically
Kendo training goes on for a few hours, and it is difficult to keep up your concentration throughout that time. But if you can keep up your concentration during each training session more than the other players, you will inevitably become stronger than them. Try and always keep up your awareness. If you can keep that for a long time, you will be concentrating constantly. By comparing yourself to others, you can check whether your awareness has been sharp. Be mindful of the following
- In all situations take your position before your opponent
- When you do the “kiai” do it longer than your opponent
- During kakari training, do not lose focus even after the stop call
- Even after you strike the men, turn around quickly and close the gap
- Try and hit at least one more than your opponent
All these things require constant awareness. Try and think of your training partner as your opponent in a real match, and get into the habit of maintaining your awareness throughout training.
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