Wa Shin Ryu Jujutsu
SOME USEFUL MEDITATION TECHNIQUES
A. Yiannakis, Ph.D.
University of New Mexico
The uses and effects of meditation are many. Techniques which
are especially applicable to judo or jujutsu aim to help the
budoka achieve psychophysical unity, attain a higher level of
relaxation, improve concentration, assist in technique
mastery and prepare for contest (where appropriate).
1. The Review Method
In seiza (kneeling position) , while breathing effortlessly,
review in your mind with eyes closed your day's events up to
the time you entered the dojo. Imagine you are watching
yourself go through the motions of the day's events as though
you were on video.
This method is effective for developing concentration, memory,
and for bringing the mind and body together in preparation for
a workout. For maximum effect practice 4-5 minutes.
2. Breath Control Method
In seiza, eyes closed, gently inhale to the count of four,
hold to the count of three, and gently exhale to the count of
three. With increased control, you may wish to increase the
count to 6-4-5, or 8-5-6. Stop if you start feeling light headed.
This method increases breathing efficiency and helps the
budoka develop a conscious awareness of the role of correct
breathing in judo. A good intro exercise for developing a
powerful kiai. When fatigued, or run down, this method is also
extremely effective in raising one's energy level; as a
consequence you will feel refreshed and alert. Do not practice
this technique right before going to bed. It will keep you up
For maximum effect, meditate in this manner for 1-2 minutes. If you
start feeling dizzy, terminate the procedure. It is important
to remain relaxed and not to force it while using this
3. The Free Association Method
In seiza, eyes closed, breathe gently and empty your mind of
troublesome thoughts, anxieties, and the like. Then, without
attempting to focus on anything in particular, allow thoughts
to enter your mind and free associate. Do not focus on any
particular thought, idea or feeling but allow your mind to
wander totally free. If troublesome thoughts enter your mind,
do not dwell on them, or feed them. Look at them as though
from a distance, then clear you mind and move on. For maximum
effect, meditate for 20 minutes.
This method is especially effective for achieving relaxation
and attaining the alpha state. Normally, this method should be
practiced AFTER a workout (except in combination with Method
4), early in the morning, or whenever things just get too much
for you and you need to really relax.
4. Focused Imaging
(For more experienced students)
This method has also been described by sport psychologists as
mental practice. In seiza, eyes closed, focus all your
attention on a particular skill or technique and mentally
rehearse it. Repetition is essential with this method so make
it a rule to "see" yourself repeat the skill over and over, as
for example, in uchikomi. Start with simple skills and
gradually progress to more complex ones such as combination
and counter techniques. This method facilitates skill learning, sharpens
concentration, increases psychophysical arousal and is a good
preparation for contest. Note that this method should be
preceded by methods 1, or 2, or 3. For maximum effectiveness, practice 3-5 minutes.
5. Deep Relaxation Method
Begin with techniques 1, 2 or 3. Then, when you feel
sufficiently relaxed and ready to achieve a deeper level of
relaxation, focus with eyes closed on a point about six to
nine inches in front of you and concentrate without effort on
listening to the "vibrations" in your head. Slowly, you will
feel yourself "sinking" deeper. Terminate after 20 to 30
minutes or just go to sleep.
6. Empower and Cleanse
I call this method "empower and cleanse" because the procedure serves two main functions. During the inhalation phase a bujutsuka concentrates on inhaling the energy or ki power that is all around us. A conscious effort must be made to draw in this energy and "store it" in one's body. During the exhalation phase the focus is on removing impurities and anxieties from the body for the purpose of cleansing oneself. Typically this exercise is done to the count of four for inhaling, then there is a 2-3 count pause before exhaling and a three or four count phase for exhaling. The exercise should not be executed more than about six times because
it can increase arousal (like drinking several cups of coffee) to levels that may interfere with fluency and control in the excution of martial arts techniques. After completing the exercise the studen should feel more focused, energized, stronger and "purified". Do not practice this method before going to bed unless you want to stay up all night!!
Where it is logical to do so, the above techniques may be
combined. For example, prior to a workout, you may wish to
start your meditation with Method 1 and then switch to
Method 4. Alternatively, if you find that you are especially tense
before a workout, you may begin meditating using Method 3
(Free Association), in order to achieve an effective
relaxation level, and then you can switch to Method 4 in
preparation for a workout, or contest. Method 5 is especially
useful for reducing stress and achieving a nice relaxation
level. Method 6 is especially beneficial if you are feeling tired
and need to raise your energy level, achieve greater focus and
feel more powerful.
NOTE: All meditation techniques should be practiced with caution. Terminate
your meditation immediately if you begin to get over aroused, or anxious, or you
start to feel dizzy. Consult with your instructor.
If possible, practice daily in a tranquil setting.