Karate boost

Finding it difficult to bounce back, again, in the face of renewed lockdown challenges?

I coached a client on building Emotional Resilience yesterday, and realised I could do with a resilience boost myself. I started reflecting how I got through Lockdown 1.0. What could I take from it to help me bounce back quicker and feel more positive in the face of setbacks this time round?

Friends, family and other factors were important I mused, but top of the list, glowing bright blue, was Karate.  How?  Why? Don’t worry, you don’t have to be into martial arts to be emotionally resilient, focus on the steps I took that helped build my resilience, and see what they prompt for you.

Key steps

1. I acknowledged I needed something to focus on to ensure I stayed sane and positive. I faced the need, and chose to meet it. Seido Karate ticked all the boxes. At its heart is the development of a “non-quitting” or “bushido” spirit in each student. This “bushido” mindset was role-modelled at every session and helped keep me going. On a more practical level Karate provided structure, it made me physically tired, it made me sweat and lifted my mood as endorphins swept round my body. Karate gave me a sense of community, and I felt a sense of achievement when I did a kata well. All important contributors to emotional well-being.

2. I consistently prioritised it above other things. I practised 3 times a week, and did flexibility stretching 4 times a week. I didn’t make excuses. I missed 7 o’clock zoom drinks with friends to do karate, it was that important to me. And I did that every week for 5 months.

3. I saw technology as an enabler, rather than a poor second to in person communication. Rather than whinging about what lockdown had taken away, I focussed on feeling grateful for broadband which allowed me to do Karate wherever I was. (Ok, ok, I’ll admit I still had lockdown rants, but when I did, I reminded myself that if it weren’t for zoom I’d have no Karate!)

So if you’re feeling stuck right now, or finding it difficult to bounce back in the face of adversity:

1) Face the need to shift the stuckness and weariness, and choose to take action 
2) Identify one thing to really help you stay physically and emotionally well
3) Do it consistently – make it a habit. Don’t give up after a week. Find a support network.
4) Make technology your friend. There’s so much to help us. Be selective and use it well.

I just took 5 minutes to do the first kata I ever learnt, to give myself a boost. It definitely helped that you’re expected to shout twice during the Kata. These shouts are called a “Kiai”, and project your inner energy and spirit, focusing it into your technique. They’re a great release.

I got my resilience boost, and every time I wear my blue belt, I’ll remind myself that when I consistently put my mind to something I make progress. So do you.

If you’re looking for reading material on Emotional Resilience, try “Learned Optimism” by Martin Seligman. It’s brilliant.

And if you or your organisation would like to explore how coaching builds resilience and zest for life, as well as enhancing performance, do get in touch.

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