Maybe you have an upcoming tournament or belt test. Or perhaps you’re getting back into martial arts again after a period of time off. Or maybe you’re brand new to martial arts or are switching to a new style.

Chances are, if you’re in any of these situations, you’re feeling at least a little bit nervous. Which is totally normal of course, but we’d rather those nerves didn’t overwhelm us as much as they sometimes do.

Here’s a great activity for reducing those nerves and taking back a sense of control. I go into detail in the podcast episode and YouTube video below, but here is a summary of the steps. Feel free to use this activity for any scenario for which you are feeling nervous. In this summary, I’ll use a tournament as an example.

  1. Pull out a piece of paper and draw a large circle on it.
  2. Around the outside of the circle, write down all of the things that are NOT within your control, that affect your performance at a tournament. (For example, who is judging your ring, who you are competing against, how well the tournament is organized, etc.)
  3. Inside the circle, write down all of the things that ARE within your control, that affect your performance at a tournament. (For example, what you eat, how hydrated you are, how much you’ve practised for the event, mindset techniques you engage in, such as visualization, affirmations, etc.)
  4. Next you’re going to rate everything on the inside of the circle (things that you do have control over) on a scale of 1-10. 10 = you’re doing great at it; 1 = this needs improvement.
  5. Finally, look at all the low scores. These are the things you can work on now, things that ARE under your control. Consider setting some goals and putting a plan in place, so that you can improve your performance at your upcoming event.

I talk about these steps in greater detail in my latest podcast episode and video. I also offer further suggestions on how to take back control over things on the outside of the circle.

You can listen to the episode here, as well as wherever you prefer to listen to your favourite podcasts. You can find links to all the major directories on this page here.

Episode 8

Show Notes for Episode 8

Join me in this episode as I discuss a great technique for getting our nerves under control in martial arts. Whether we’re nervous about an upcoming tournament or test, or are feeling anxious about starting martial arts or getting back into it after time off, those nerves can get the best of us. This technique can help us reduce our nerves and get a sense of control back. It’s also a great way to figure out what goals to focus on so that we can improve our performance on the mats.

Thank you for joining me on my martial arts journey, and in the exploration of all the ways we can perform better in life and martial arts.

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Thank you for listening! Together let’s build a community of strong, healthy, awesome martial artists.

If you prefer the video version of this episode, you can watch it here:

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Try this activity now and let me know what you think! Feel free to share your thoughts in the Comments section below. 

Recommended Resources

You’re reading How to Handle Nerves in Martial Arts by Sabrina Bliem, originally posted on The Karate Shrimp. If you’ve enjoyed this post, be sure to follow The Karate Shrimp on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!