How does a woman learn to use her cunning and limbs to compete in a contact sport in a cold and calculated way? The answer lies in the history and development of Thai boxing, based on meditation and the ‘mindfulness’ concept, which has its roots in Buddhism.
It does not matter if you are a cage fighter, a hockey player, or a derby girl; A Buddhist state of mind; conscious, relaxed, but fully aware of your environment, can be key to reach the maximum performance. Maybe this concept rings some bells, many celebrities have talked about this and great athletes include meditation as an active part of their routines and training, particularly when some important competition is approaching.
In simple terms, mindfulness means finding yourself in a state in which your mind is fully active. Without concern when the moment is – training, sparring, skating – if you do not allow your mind to wander, you can be much more aware of everything that happens in your surroundings. Mindfulness, in our context, means using your head to compete and fight smarter, not harder. In a few words: Learn to be cold headed to keep yourself together during the match!
What’s the trick to staying alert and competing at your best? The answer is simple: Meditate… Meditation is much more than just sitting and doing nothing. Meditating requires being able to control your breathing and using that control to relax your body completely. Meditating twice a day, you can learn to concentrate during a game. In addition, it doesn’t matter the pace of life you have since meditation does not understand schedules: whether it’s first thing in the morning or late at night, the results will be equally positive.
At this point you may feel that what you read doesn’t make sense and doesn’t fit very well with our sport, you’ll say: “I signed up to do roller derby, if I wanted to be breathing around I would have signed up for yoga”, but the truth is that roller derby is a tough sport that, although it certainly requires a lot of energy and muscle, it also requires great concentration and willpower. Meditating can help improve those skills that are not exercised either in the gym or on the court with the roller skates on.
Being able to achieve a full moment of consciousness on the court, when fatigue makes its own and you’re seriously considering on throwing the towel, it is a very good resource. It takes many attempts and even more failures in meditation to get to optimize your performance. But if you succeed, while you are relaxed and controlled, the state of mindfulness can quell your inner doubts and your suffering.
Gone is the state of emotional tension, whatever happened outside the arena doesn’t matter, the only thing that matters is the here and now, the push you need to score the next point. A state of this type recognizes pain, but at the same time provides you with a mechanism to deal with it without the drama. All this will not only work when you have your helmet and guards on while you sprint towards the enemy team, but this will also work at any time in daily life.
Give it a try!