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hrdgain81 03-26-2006 01:49 PM

A warriors motivation
 
I am not sure if this is just my incoherent ramblings, or if this could be of help to some of you. I had some time on my hands today, so I wanted to get this down. let me know what you think.

A Warriorís motivation
By hrdgain81 of bb.net
March 23, 2006

Recently I have observed a growing trend within the online community of bodybuilders, fitness professions, and trainers to boil everything down to very simplistic terms. It is my belief that the K.I.S.S. method (keep it simple stupid) is very effect, and can keep even the most advanced athlete from many pitfalls inherent in many aspects of resistance training. However, some things simply can not be brought down to the lowest common denominator, and need very careful attention. Most importantly, at least in my eyes, is motivation.
Within the last few months Iíve seen many responses on the topic of motivation by those in the community who I think of as the elite. They over simplify and break down motivation like this, ďeither you have it, or you donítĒ, ďget off your ass and workĒ, ďbeing lazy is no excuse for mediocrityĒ. Now donít get me wrong, in general I agree. Some people are so self loathing they would rather sit on their fat asses and complain then lift a finger to do something about it. But when I take a good look at what motivates me, and what I do to get my mind right, there is something missing in these responses. I can understand the concept of tough love being conveyed, but that only goes so far when youíre typing on a forum.
God knows there are days when I feel like I just canít do it, and Iíd rather be on the couch with a half gallon of Bryerís then go to the gym. There are also days when I get to the gym, and my intensity is complete shit. I go through the motions, but my head just isnít in it. But because this has been on my mind lately, I decided to write down the specific things I do to get my ass to the gym, and to move my intensity up once Iím there.
There is one central idea that is linked to my personal motivation for both aspects Iíve talked about, and that is emotion. Iíve been a martial artist since I was 10 years old, and Iíve had the good fortune to learn from some amazing individuals. Much of the martial arts centers on controlling your emotions and I believe this to be perhaps the most powerful way to create motivation within yourself.
There are two distinctly different schools of thought in regard to emotion. One philosophy is to deny your self emotion and its pitfalls. By doing so you can maintain control over the mind and body, allowing for rational thought response. The other is to allow emotion to empower you. Emotions are very powerful things; they can elicit amazing responses from your body. It can allow strength and speed that you perhaps had not thought possible. But that response comes at a price, when emotions take over, the mind simply can no think logically, some call it blinding. This can cause lapses in judgment, over exertion, and both mental and physical fatigue.
When you combined these two philosophies is when a truly amazing motivation can be achieved. The technique goes like this; first you clear your mind of all thoughts and emotions. I use a method called ZaZen meditation to achieve this state. (I can provide more info on this if you wish) Then I slowly allow for very intense memories to creep in, eliciting an emotional response. Through this technique I can control emotional reaction by selecting certain memories. If Iím shooting for a new personal best, or severely lacking on a particular day, I will only draw on the most painful and ripping memories. If I just need a kick in the ass, it could be as simple as a ďare you gonna let the guy next to you move more weight then you?Ē type of thought. Once the set is done, or I have completed the particular task, I set those memories aside, and the emotions that go with them. Retaining this balance will keep you from the pitfalls I mentioned earlier.
This is by no means an elementary process, and it takes a long time before you can easily access emotions this way. But once this process is mastered, the power it holds can be amazing. The best way to describe it is like a light switch. When the switch is off, emotions are gone, and I am in complete control. When I chose to flip that switch, the lights come on, and all hell breaks lose. I imagine many of you use a similar process, and arenít consciously aware of it. Others have called this psyching up, but I believe the process Iíve outlined goes far beyond that.
I would hesitate to suggest this for every one; some people simply can not control their emotions. If you know that you have trouble in that area, you may want to look into other areas of motivation. But if you generally have control of yourself, and think you can handle it, give it a go. You will be surprised just how effect this technique can be.

slayer of souls 03-26-2006 04:16 PM

Great post hrdgain81, could you expand on ZaZen meditation

hrdgain81 03-27-2006 07:01 AM

ZaZen is a chinese meditation technique. It centers on control of breathing, and clearing the mind.

Breathing:

1. The timing of breath is important, the easiest way to do this is to set up a rythm. In for five to eight seconds, out for five to eight seconds. Focusing on the breath count is important.

2. the depth of breath is also important, you want to fill the lungs, but not so completely that it is uncomfortable. Focus on the navel, and allow the rib cage to expand, and contract naturally. If you've ever watched a baby sleeping, that would be a perfect example.

The mind:

1.perhaps the hardest part of meditation is to completely clear the mind. Have you ever tried to think about nothing? you must push all cluttered thoughts out of your mind. Focusing on your breathing, counting with it, can help. some believe that reciting a mantra is the easiest way. (mantra is a simple phrase that is to be repeated, it should be timed with your breathing).

Posture:
1.Many meditation techniques focus on posture. Sitting or standing in a specific way. The only thing I think is important in this aspect is allowing for full breathing. so keeping the back straight, head up, and chest out is all you really need.

EricT 03-27-2006 12:37 PM

Hardgain, great post. And as I said, very good bit of writing. You "hooked" me at the beginning.

I found Martial Arts to be as useful in my life as you did. I have similar things that help me stay motivated, and although the details may differ, the spirit is the same. Wonderful post. And I agree wholeheartedly with you opening statements.

Everybody has something that motivates them. Desire to improve or change oneself may be "innate" but I don't believe that motivation is. Something motivates everyone, although they may not be self-aware enough, as you are, to recognize this fact. And there is nothing wrong with that, since if you are motivated, you're motivated. Dwelling on it, for some, could be this kind of "analysis paralysis" that you spoke of. However, these people should NOT assume that they know what it is like to walk in the shoes of others.

Great job.

hrdgain81 03-27-2006 12:48 PM

Quote:

"analysis paralysis"
its been a while since i've heard that. It is perhaps one of the single best phrases in the explination of meditation goals. Coupled with this is the idea of Satori, or awakening. Its amazing when you cross through that threshold how clear much of this becomes.

I apreciate the comments eric, Its been a while since i've written anything for others to read. Mainly because everytime i sat down to put this on paper, it became so involved i feared many who read it wouldnt understand it.

EricT 03-27-2006 01:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hardgain
"analysis paralysis"

It was 0311, I think, who first used that term on this board. I'm not sure if he was aware of how deep this concept is rooted in "Zen".

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hardgain
There are two distinctly different schools of thought in regard to emotion. One philosophy is to deny your self emotion and its pitfalls. By doing so you can maintain control over the mind and body, allowing for rational thought response. The other is to allow emotion to empower you.

The first school of thought, I think, has it's own pitfalls. To attempt to CONTROL the mind, to TRY and STRIVE in this way gives rise to nothing more than intense contcentration and pointing your mind in one direction. It is, in itself, very akin to "analysis paralysis". The more you "try" to empty your mind, the less empty it becomes.

Here is the classical story:

The toad stopped on a road and asked a centipede, "How do you manage to walk on all of your feet without getting them all tangled up?"

The centipede started to consider this. How did it manage this daily activity. No sooner had it begun trying to figure this out then it tripped over its own feet and fell into a ditch.

hrdgain81 03-27-2006 01:26 PM

that is a perfect parable. I will say that when I attempt to clear my mind, it isnt really clear at all. I simply replace useless thoughts with a mantra, or continued focus on breathing. Its an amazing stress reliever also.

once this technique is mastered it can be turned on and off. i have the ON part mastered, the OFF takes me a little while sometimes depending on the memories i'm calling on for an emotional response. Ok, if i over due it, the off can take hours :hbang:

Kane 03-27-2006 09:10 PM

I did the same thing in my martial arts training and I do it in the gym too. I take 10 seconds before an exercise to focus on an intense experience and I "fire up" and when the exercise is done I "cool down". I can focus perfectly and interact with everyone and spot my partner and what not and yet not be distracted mentally....he says it looks like I'm lost in space....but sometimes the cool down can take a day depending on the memory. Its a risk you gotta take lol.

Great Article Bro! :hbang:

Darkhorse 03-27-2006 09:25 PM

Nicely done Hrdgain..Back in the day when I was doing Kung Fu, they offered a Chi Kung (I believe) class that now I wish I tried. I'm very interested in all that. I appreciate the time you put into this.

ChinPieceDave667 03-28-2006 08:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hrdgain81
The technique goes like this; first you clear your mind of all thoughts and emotions. I use a method called ZaZen meditation to achieve this state. (I can provide more info on this if you wish) Then I slowly allow for very intense memories to creep in, eliciting an emotional response. Through this technique I can control emotional reaction by selecting certain memories. If Iím shooting for a new personal best, or severely lacking on a particular day, I will only draw on the most painful and ripping memories. If I just need a kick in the ass, it could be as simple as a ďare you gonna let the guy next to you move more weight then you?Ē type of thought. Once the set is done, or I have completed the particular task, I set those memories aside, and the emotions that go with them. Retaining this balance will keep you from the pitfalls I mentioned earlier.


good article.

aaaaah... ZaZen.. I haven't heard that in a while. brings back good memories.


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