Mental training by the way of relaxed concentration?

10.000 hours to mastery
Experts say that it takes approximately 10.000 hours to obtain mastery in your preferred field of activity. But does it mean DS_tennis_01_lng

that these hours must only consist of technical training related to this particular field of activivity – and during the dedicated training session? Or could we boost the process by adding other kind of training – outside the training session and during the normal daily activities?

I had always had a strong urge for growth and personal development. Maybe because I’ve been the shortest boy in class. Maybe this urge was almost encoded on a genetic level to help me get stronger in the hostility of soviet environment where jewish roots were mirrored by my passport. It sounds kinda nerdish, but as 10 yo. boy I could spend hours with so differnet hobbies as studying latin names of african antilopes in public library, playing in the nearby chess club or thoroughly designing sport cars at graph paper.

Benefits of consistent inconsistency

I didn’t become neither a biologist, linguist or car designer. But my curiosity and deep rooted urge for personal development have over time certainly brought me some interesting places. I can clearly see that what I am now is the result of many different hobbies replacing each other – let’s call it consistent inconsistency.

I still have different hobbies that help me thriving without the urge to buy a TV-set gets nearly unbearable. With time I became a pretty skilled practitioner in several fields. I saw that skills as eg. multiple voicing at piano or posture from singing could positively affect my tennis playing. I started wondering – WHY?

I tend to answer this quite straight – because practicing many different kinds of activities developed my skill of awareness and relaxed concentration. With many good derivatives as focus/defocus, balance, centering etc. Though it’s hard to define which skill is primary and which is secondary.

Living silence or stillness in action

In martial arts, eg. Aikido, the skill of relaxed concentration in activity is called “living silence” or “stillness in action”.

Having become aware of this I now use relaxed concentration conciously while practicing my hobbies – which have now become my living source or my source of living. I found many confirmations to my own findings. For example, sports psychologists say that tennis and golf are 80% mental and only 20% technical, meaning that technical skills mean only a part when you are exposed to the stress induced by competition – sometimes almost a minor part. Multiple options, risici, analysis, tactical thoughts, expectations, to name only a few, are all aspects of your mind activity the are able to take over your technical skill and let you fail. Which they do again and again with most of us.

Well I found out that this “stillness in action” is a cure. And the most crucial point is, that practicing it in one field of activity affects the other!
A couple of questions could arise her:

– Does it mean that practicing “stillness in action” while washing dishes, walking the dog and making love would affect my tennis playing?

– Does it mean that I could boost the process of becoming a true tennis master by adding training of relaxed concentration, “living silence” or “stillness in action” in all my daily activities?

– Does it also mean that by adding this activity outside the training session and during the normal day I could make a significant daily contribution the those 10.000 hours required to become a master?

The answer to all the three questions is YES!

I hope this will inspire you, I will appreciate if you will contribute your comments and personal experiences. Stay tuned!

Misha Sakharoff, Ki-Kaizen instructor

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