Zen in Sports
Something I heard Randy Couture say in the film "Striking Truth" stuck with me a while back. he said -
"Fighting is 90% psychological and 10% physical, yet as athletes our training is 90% physical and 10% psychological. Its backwards."
Having found myself studying CMA recently and having plenty of time on my hands I started to look into "Zen".
After reading a number of books and articles online the whole concept has fascinated me somewhat.
"Zen" it sounds like some kind of mystic BS, but actually we have all seen it countless times over the years and have likely experienced it, it has been especially noticeable in sports.
Thing thing about Zen is that by trying to attain it you are in fact pushing it further away. The best way I can describe it is that it is like what we call "Natural Instincts" , if someone throws a ball at your face then you catch it, you dont think about it, you dont analyse how you are going to catch it or what you will do after you catch it, you just catch it....If you had started to think about what happens if you miss the ball or how you are going to catch it or what you are going to do after you catch it...if you fill your mind with those thoughts then you are likley to have a slower reaction time and end up missing the ball.
Zen is to think without thinking.
Zen is often associated with meditation and being able to empty your mind, again that sounds like more mystical BS, but when you think about it the reason for meditation is to relax the body and empty the mind, to clear your head of all the thoughts, the worries that stand in your way of you just "being".
I believe you often see it in great athletes, athletes who are so confident of victory that the outcome of the fight doesn't even enter their mind, their confidence makes them relax and they have no distractions in their mind, the victory just happens, and in turn their confidence increases and so on, I think that is a major factor in "Creating champions".....I think the same can apply to entire teams or squads of players.
Have a read of these if any of the above interests you -
There seems to be a belief that you can cultivate an environment to obtain Zen, although you cant just "Get it"...and who knows, trying to cultivate it may just be counter productive...almost like saying "Dont think about a Pink Elephant".....
The documentary "Striking Truth" showed David "The Crow" , a very gifted athlete but always over thinking his fights, he said that he said when he used to fight for fun he became champion, but as soon as the fighting started to pay bills and bring with it other stresses then he started to find it really difficult and over think everything to the point he would just freeze in the ring.
So I guess Zen could also be the metal capability to deal with pressure.
I really hope that Bodhi108 is still posting and sees this.
Here is his site if he isn't active right now.
I had a similar experience when i tried to play poker for a living. It became unpleasant and forced almost overnight, and i started enjoying it again as soon as i got a job.
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As a practicing Buddhist (Mahayana Soto Zen) I really dislike it when westerners who have not studied Zen for years try to talk about it. They typically do a pretty bad job.
Originally Posted by WhiteShark
Although I do think it's funny he refers to it as Zen when he was in China. That is unless he's just calling it Zen because westerners in general have never heard of Ch'an.
**** that studyin' ****, I got some books. One of them mentions zen twice.
Originally Posted by jnp
Rinzai shōgun, Sōtō domin
Originally Posted by jnp
I cant speak too much on Zen, but here is some good information about "Flow" wich is the same as being in the zone. If I understand the word correctly I think its also the same as the japanese term Mushin.
I think Zen is different from Flow, but cultivating Zen allows you to experience flow...maybe? I like the way the Wikipedia article describes how our brains can process 126 bits of information at a time. Flow seems like it would be using all 126 bits to do 1 thing.
Since we are playing pretty loosely with definitions here. There is an experience that i have found you can learn to be receptive to when playing music, that I would describe as flow and one in which you let go to some degree of control.
When this happens, everything just feels 'right' and you know the other members in the band are feeling it and that the crowd is feeling it too, and you just kind of sink into it but it carries you along and gives you energy as well. It's a fantastic feeling, I have sometimes experienced something similar with writing.
I had a bad seal that screwed up the flow on a beer keg one time. It wasn't one of those trained seals, or navy seal though. It was a little "O" ring seal.