True peak performance is when body and mind are one in the Zone.
Athletic peak performance is brilliant, and it takes place in a state of peace and grace. It is never forced nor tense. It happens automatically without thinking. The individual often states that it felt like time slowed down and all their senses were heightened. The experience is euphoric, and every athlete who has ever experienced this state wants to experience it again. The problem is how do you live and train to reach this stage on a regular basis? How can we sustain this state of excellence for longer periods of time?
The reason for poor performance can be found either in the form of muscular imbalance in the physical body – Sports Performance or dysfunctional beliefs, thoughts or behavior of the mind –Sports Psychology.
Your mind could be your greatest asset or your own worst enemy.
No one experiences failure and unhappiness for no reason. There is cause and effect, action and reaction, meaning and purpose with everything that happens in life.
Ancient Eastern Wisdom
Five-thousand-year-old Chinese wisdom teaches the “Way” of how “to be,” as well as what and when “to do,” in harmony with our surroundings and our circumstances. Those same principles have been used by masters of Kung Fu and other forms of Asian martial arts for thousands of years. Mastery of this Way of Excellence allows for an effortless going with the flow of what is, regardless of the situation and circumstances at hand.
Any time an athlete is not in excellence he or she has fallen out of the “Way”, or out of the Zone. Applying this ancient wisdom is a holistic and revolutionary approach to the field of Sports Psychology and Sports Performance.
By detecting where in your body you are holding your tension and which acupressure points are overloaded, Tobe Hanson can, in his therapy, help you realize the dysfunctional patterns that are affecting your performance. Once a dysfunctional pattern has been exposed, understanding and practicing specific lessons will create new beliefs, thoughts and behavior, leading to Excellence.
Finding the Way
The Way of Excellence describes a method to master a skill. This is the ancient practice of Kung Fu. The original meaning of the word Kung Fu is made up of two Chinese characters; the first, Kung, means skillful work or endeavor and the second, Fu means time spent. To practice Kung Fu in the true meaning is to spend time perfecting a skill. A master of Kung Fu is one who displays tremendous proficiency in one’s craft. Following those ancient principles will help you perfect your athletic skills to your full potential without negative interference from your own mind.
Timing is doing the right thing at the right time while “being” of one mind, of being in the here and now. As the ancient Chinese philosopher, Lau-Tsu so simply put it, “The way to do, is to be.” This means that you are at peace and completely present while doing one thing at a time. To be in the Zone is the art of “being” rather than “doing.” It is a state when the athlete responds and creates automatically, on instinct, or through muscle memory without thinking. It is like being on autopilot.
The Zone is when you are being intensely aware of what you are doing in that instant.
Every Day Distractions
We live in a time when people believe multi-tasking is a skill to be proud of. However, it is impossible to do two or more things at the same time and do it with Excellence and at peace. Doing something at 100% requires complete presence and attention.
Anything you have ever done with excellence was done paying attention to nothing but that ONE thing. An athlete performing in the Zone is present and engaged 100% in what he or she is doing. When you are creative or realize a brilliant idea, you are in the Zone. Being awestruck by beauty in nature, art or music is a moment of being present, a moment of excellence. When you are making love, you are present and think about nothing but what is experienced in that moment. If you are not present while making love, having a drifting mind, then the experience is not very good.
Quiet Your Mind
The Zone is a space where time and self does not exist. In the Zone, one is carefree of pressure from expectations. The moment your ego mind starts to focus on how you are doing or being perceived instead of being completely present in what you are doing, you are no longer in the Zone. The Zone is a state when you are going with the flow or circumstances at hand to operate in Excellence. You are not chasing the game, you let the game come to you. You are not separate from the game or your opponent, rather you become one with the whole experience. The ancient Chinese masters called this wu-shin, the letting go of self-consciousness and excessive mind activity. Letting go of the nervous, excessive, never-ending chatter in your head. This state of mind is when you are thinking too much and trying too hard. You may be upset about what already happened (past) or worried about the outcome (future), which means you are not present in the now. The Way of Excellence and being in the Zone can only happen in the present moment. When you are in the Zone you are not thinking of winning or losing, just being one with your performance in this moment. Wu-shin, to operate free of the excessive chatter in your mind, is also referred to as no-mindedness. To be in this state of “no mind,” you need to empty your mind and become one with the present moment and the circumstances at hand. Bruce Lee explained this with his famous statement “Be like water, my friend.” Be formless, be shapeless like water. Water goes around obstacles; it can seep through a tiny crack in a solid concrete wall. Water can be soft and elusive, or it can be hard and crash. Water flows with adversity until it overcomes.
Going with the Flow
The Way of Excellence is going with the flow of things, dealing only with what is in your control in the present moment, being clear on your commitment and direction, engaging whole heartedly in your activity, accepting and learning from the outcome or remembering and applying what you learned, and lastly , resting and recovering so you can wake up to a new day and do it even better.