Warrior Meditation Techniques Intro
Think that meditation isn’t masculine? Guess again. Samurai, Shaolin Monks and many MMA fighters meditate. A modern list of successful men that meditate includes the Rock, Will Smith, Kendrick Lamar, Bill Gates, Paul McCartney, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ray Dalio and Georges St-Pierre to name a diverse few.
So why do successful people meditate? The answer is simple – the meditation benefits justify the time, even in the undoubtedly crammed schedules of the individuals listed above.
Mediation is a practice that has existed for Millenia. There is documented evidence of meditation in the Indian subcontinent that dates somewhere between 5,000 to 3,500 BCE. What’s more, throughout its prolonged existence, meditation has been practiced by some of the most fearsome warriors in history and still holds value in multiple aspects of modern life.
So lets dive a little deeper into the concept of meditation and understand what history and successful people can teach us about its benefits.
Samurai were the military nobility of medieval and early-modern Japan. As far as masculine warriors go, they surely rank near the top of the list. The religion of Samurai focused heavily on the training of the mind, and Zen meditation formed a pivotal part as this resource explains in detail.
So why did Samurai practice meditation? Well research suggests that achieving Zen helped them to dismiss negative thoughts related to death and instilled a keen mind and fearless heart. It’s one thing going up against an expertly trained Samurai, but facing one that is not afraid of dying is quite the daunting prospect.
How to Meditate like a Samurai
There are two predominant forms of meditation that were adopted by the Samurai:
1. Mikkyo meditation
This is a form of esoteric (understood by a small number of people with specialist knowledge) Buddhism. It involves something called ‘Kanjo’ which is enablement through the transmission of an attuned empowerment from a Master.
Sounds pretty complicated and impressive at the same time! Well the later teaching of Mikkyo actually introduced powers of mysticism, magic and healing. In other words, if you can master the teachings, you might get superpowers!
These type of promises in today's world will clearly be met with a high degree of cynicism, but don’t tell me you wouldn’t be tempted to give it a go if there was even a small chance that you might learn a talent that will get you into the X-men.
2. Japanese Zen meditation
Also referred to as ‘Zazen’ meditation (translated to seated meditation), this style of Japanese Zen Buddhism is generally seen as providing an insight into the nature of existence. It is usually practiced by just sitting (hence the name), freeing your mind of preoccupation and allowing thoughts, ideas, images and words to pass through without getting caught up in them.
If you are wondering what the benefit of something like this would be, the answer is to provide an enhanced mental state (Mushin). The idea is that if your mind is absent of anger, fear or ego, then you are free to face an opponent without hesitation or disturbance.
So to summarize, meditating like a Samurai = superpowers and/or a free mind to make it easier to conquer your opponent. Maybe it’s time you start shopping for your sword?
MMA Fighters Meditate
There are many MMA fighters that reportedly meditate to improve their ability in the Octagon. Some big names on this list include Conor McGregor, Jon Jones, Lyoto Machida, Anderson Silva, and Diego Sanchez. If someone presents you with a list of names this, you should seriously investigate if you can also benefit from what they are doing.
I unfortunately can’t profess to be an expert in Mixed Martial Arts, but it would seem logical that concentration and focus are crucial for a sport where the objective is to knock out or submit your opponent. Having the ability to control your mind and emotions will undoubtedly be valuable before, during and after a fight. This is where meditation comes in.
For all the showmanship and bravado in the build up to a big fight, there is something fiercely intimidating about a fighter who approaches everything with a completely calm demeanor, particularly as they face off just before the fight begins. So how do you achieve this level of calm and focus in high adrenaline situations?
You may be familiar with the phrase being ‘in the zone.’ You have to experience it to fully appreciate how it feels, but try to imagine a mental state where you are fully immersed in an energized focus. It is commonly referred to in MMA circles as the flow state. Here are some tips, taken from various principles of meditation, that will help you get into your flow state:
1. Eliminate distractions
This includes both internal and external distractions. There is no room for distraction when you need to be at optimum performance for a defined period of time.
Put away your phone, avoid social media and get yourself in a clear and tidy environment to allow you to focus better. If you feel like you are distraction free for a period of 20 minutes or more then you are on the right track to getting into the right frame of mind.
When it comes to internal distractions, this is where you need meditation. Use your preferred form of meditation to help clear your mind. Focus on your breathing and just allow thoughts to pass in and out without them affecting you.
2. Choose the optimum time to practice
You may be familiar with the concept of night owls and morning larks; the concept that different people work better at different times of the day due to personal preferences. Use the foundation of this concept to train and prepare at a time where you usually have the most energy.
If you are not sure when this is then think back to when you typically produce your best work or results. There is likely to be a pattern. Once you know what this is then use it to your advantage. There is no point in fighting against your natural preferences – make your circumstances allow you to maximize productivity.
3. Have a SMART objective
SMART is an acronym for ‘specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely’. It is often used in the business world to maximize productivity.
Having a specific goal will allow you to concentrate effectively on a topic and by making it measurable you can track your progress to see if its working. This is important – you need to understand if what you are doing is working otherwise you may be wasting your time.
You need it to be attainable and realistic so that progress is actually possible and you don’t lose motivation. There is no issue with it being ambitious or stretching, but try to use small steps to achieve the bigger picture.
If your objective is timely then it has a time limit by which time what you are doing will stop. A deadline is necessary in order to put enough pressure on yourself to get what you need done in a reasonable period of time and it helps set a benchmark for future comparison.
4. Listen to music that inspires you
We all have different tastes and so you should go with whatever makes you feel good and is relevant for the type of energy you are trying to encourage.
MMA fighters come out to music on the night of a big fight and it’s always fascinating to see the diversity of choices. There is no magic formula here or perfect song. Just whatever works for you.
5. Create a Trigger
This is a great technique if you can learn to master it. The idea behind creating a mental trigger is giving yourself something to help automatically make something happen. Not only can it instill a natural urge to respond to a situation, it’s also highly helpful to forming and solidifying positive habits.
The best way to form a trigger in the context of MMA is to do something unique every time you want to get into the flow state. It needs to be the same thing that you are doing and it will take considerable repetition to start making it stick.
You are in essence programming your brain to respond to a particular circumstance in the way that you want. This is a powerful tool, but it will take persistence to make it effective.
Shaolin Monk Meditation
When you picture a Shaolin Monk, most of us will immediately connect it to an image of a disciplined, shaven-headed Kung-Fu master with seemingly superhuman capabilities. But what does it take to be a Shaolin Monk and how do you train to become one?
Unsurprisingly, becoming a Shaolin Monk involves a grueling training regime. What else would you expect in order to train to push your body and mind to its physical and biological limits (and seemingly beyond in some cases).
Much of the training is grounded in Buddhism and the monks will live a life of dedication and restraint. A typical day will run from around 5am to 11pm and can include:
- Kung-Fu practice (multiple times throughout the day)
- Chanting (multiple sessions throughout the day)
- Buddhist lessons
- Helping with Temple affairs
- Meditation (usually multiple times throughout the day)
This is a schedule that will run repeatedly to enable them to master what they are taught. The learn to be a different type of warrior; one that is balanced, has complete self-awareness, strong both mentally and physically and in tune with nature and their spirituality.
You will also need to exercise extreme self-restraint. Consider that Shaolin Monks:
- Commit to a life of celibacy
- Don’t drink or smoke
- Don’t eat animal meat
- Reject a life of material possessions or consumerism
- Ration food so that they never over-eat and don’t eat simple carbohydrates
So now let’s hone this section back into the context of mediation. We don’t expect that many most readers of this post will be making travel arrangements for their nearest Shaolin Monk training center, but there are clearly valuable lessons that can be learned here.
7-step guide to meditate like a Shaolin monk
- Find a quiet and clear environment for your meditation. Get rid of any distractions.
- Sit on the floor with your legs crossed and back straight. If you are familiar with meditation and Yoga then you can adopt the lotus position.
- Close your eyes and prepare to focus. Give yourself a few seconds before you begin to meditate.
- In order to maintain focus, concentrate on your breathing. Take deep breaths in, using your stomach muscles as you do so. Count to five and then breath out.
- As you exhale, imagine that any unwanted energy is being removed from your body
- As you breathe in and out try to release your mind of any pre-occupations. Just focus on your breathing, if your mind starts to wander just keep bringing it back to your breathing.
- Continue for at least 10 minutes. Research suggests that meditating for 10 minutes a day is enough to make a significant difference if done effectively and consistently.
So now that you are more informed on the meditation techniques of the Samurai, MMA fighters and Shaolin Monks, which style are you going to try out?
Meditation can be highly effective, but it is just one method of self-improvement that we encourage at the Unknown. We recommend that you take a look at some of our other free resources to help guide you on how to train your body and mind for success.
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