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Listen to your body, but not always your mind


Translation of quote: "When your body hurts, when you're so tired you don't want to work out, that's when you need to work out harder. DON'T GIVE UP.



Just my opinion (as a former Knockdown competitor, coach, and trainer) on this quote which is both VERY RIGHT and at the same time VERY DANGEROUS if misunderstood in the short-medium-long term, if one does not make the distinction between "listening to one's mind" (cognitive) which misinterprets the pain signal and "listening to one's body" (somatic). I will come back to this later. The quote is correct when talking about a particular PRACTICE (during a specific practice). But it is INCORRECT if we talk about TRAINING on a global level (over a week, month, or year).


I understand very well the OSU NO SEISHIN principle, DURING a practice, a fight, a grade testing, or a competition. This quote in this sense is very accurate and must be followed to the letter. If in the middle of your practice, your head wants to stop, do not listen to it. Finish your practice and then you can rest. But some people take this quote literally and go to practice when their body (somatic mind) advises them instead to take a break because it has not recovered well.


But here, in this quote, one could think that it puts more emphasis on the "body" than on the "mind". Because you have to be very careful to listen to your body (not your mind). If you want to be a top fighter and you follow this rule of not listening to your body, you will have so many injuries that you will definitely fail in the medium and long term.


When we do strength training, we break it up into 2 or 3 times a week, right? The goal is to recover well before doing the same part again. I used to do exactly the same thing with my Knockdown fighters (and in my knockdown career). I would split up the different workouts so that I could recover. For example with bag training, one day punch-elbow on the heavy bag, another day kick-knee on the bag, and another day of fist-elbow-foot-knee combinations. If you did squat and legs in the morning, you're not going to do 15 rounds of the heavy bag with legs in the afternoon. And I trained several top Knockdown fighters. It was a concept that wasn't widely practiced in my business at the time (the 80s-90s). Following this principle, you can train 5-6 days a week if you can afford it. And you'll never feel like you don't want to train one day as the quote says.


BEWARE! make the difference between LISTENING TO YOUR BODY (the somatic mind) and LISTENING TO YOUR MIND (the cognitive mind). In OSU NO SEISHIN it is the mind that should not be listened to. For some people, there is a misunderstanding between the body which speaks, and the mind which only talks and criticizes constantly. It is this part that must be disciplined (one of the characteristics of the zone and of the top champion is precisely this capacity to have no internal dialogue during an intense fight). There is a nasty difference between the "head" and the "body" here. If you don't feel like training one day, because you are procrastinating, then this advice is good. But if you've been training for 4 days extremely hard, you owe it to yourself to take a break and come back stronger. Even if you feel like training anyway.





Gaëtan Sauvé


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