No matter what ‘it’ is, if you cannot see yourself doing it, you will not be able to do it. If you cannot imagine yourself doing a thing, how would you do that thing? You have already set in your mind you cannot.

It is important you visualize. In terms of training, you need to see your goal, whether it is a technique, an attribute, or what-have-you. Somewhere you can find an example – your instructor, a fellow student, a video clip. Once you find the example, you have visualize yourself performing at that level. Your mind is the designated driver of your body. When your mind knows where you want to go, your body will follow. It may take time, but it will find a way.

Do not confuse visualization with daydreaming. Visualization is a mindful, willed imagination. Dreaming is merely drifting. Dreaming has its importance. It highlights inner fears and joys. It is an ability to explore literally impossible realms. That is the point of dreaming, to understand the boundary between the possible and impossible.

Visualization incorporates many of the same faculties as dreaming. However, it is radically different. It may include things that seem impossible at the time, but unlike dreams, these imaginings must be reachable, possible goals. Visualization is a form of guided dreaming, lucid dreaming. However, it might be considered even more directive, with detailed construction.

Folk familiar with lucid dreaming, astral-projection and other similar concepts, steer the general direction of a partially free-flow thought process. Visualization is under your complete control. While you should allow your visualization to utilize your subconscious, like a dream, you should guide it completely. You need to see yourself in your environment doing the thing you have set your sights on. You need to see it over and over again.

When we train, we often focus on physical replication and physical memory – muscle memory. However, our nervous system activates our muscles. The brain is the driver. While there may be some quality of the muscles to retain a pattern, it is our brain and nervous system that elects to put the pattern in motion. Repetition training is mental training as much as it is muscle training.

As such, it has to start with visualization. You have to be able to see yourself doing a thing in detail in order to be able to do it.


About Sifu

I teach Wing Chun, both traditional and practical, at KDA Karate Academy. I have a Bachelor of Media Arts degree from USC. I have been an Audio Producer / Engineer, a Law Office Manager. In addition to being a Martial Arts Instructor, I am an author. My new book, "Astro Boy, Sensei, and Me" is available now, as is my Sci-Fi joy ride, "On a Sphere's Edge".

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