Maybe a better question is, how much of the Fight Game do YOU think is mental? Perhaps a little day dreaming exercise will help us figure that out. Keep reading, and try it out…this is about as cathartic as it gets.

What Percentage is Physical? What Percentage is Mental?

Sports psychologist Gary Mack, author of Mind Gym: An Athlete’s Guide to Inner Excellence, likes to have his professional athletes perform this simple exercise (I’ll adjust the terminology so it’s relevant to the mixed martial artist).

I want you to close your eyes and recall a time when you were in the cage or on the mat and everything was going your way.

Can you see it?

Take a minute to ponder that moment.

Next, remember an unfortunate time when you could do absolutely nothing right, god knows…there should be plenty to choose from.

Have you got it?

Go ahead and toil in the misery of that experience for a second.

Now compare and contrast the two. What factors lead you to perform brilliantly? What differences caused you to perform poorly?

Grab a pen and paper to write down everything you can recall.

How was your day going? Were you tired? Did you have a nagging injury? Did you finally correct that critical error in your takedown defense? What did your bank account look like? Was your baby’s mama texting you too much?

I know you’re saying to yourself, “Well what the hell do some of those things have to do with how well I fight?” I would reply with, “It has everything to do with how well you fight!”

Anything that contributes to your physical, mental, emotional, financial, and spiritual state has everything to do with your focus during a MMA fight.

Of those factors that you wrote down, take a minute to estimate what percentage were physical? What percentage were mental?

Typically you’ll find that while accessing all your physical tools is very much a necessity, it is what’s going on upstairs in the mind that allows you to utilize those tools to the best of your ability or to the worst of it.

“You have to train your mind like you train your body.”—Bruce Jenner

Once a mixed martial artist reaches a certain skill level, his mental aptitude becomes as important, if not more important, to performance as his physical talent.

In order to excel beyond your peers you must train your mind like you train your body, as Olympian Bruce Jenner so eloquently stated.

The exercise above was designed to help you discover some of the factors that allow for a peak performance are in fact…mental.

Recognizing and duplicating those factors is what mental training is all about.

Of course it’s always much easier said than done.

Do you guys have any pre-fight or before practice rituals? What do you do to prepare yourselves mentally?

I’d be interested to know. Sign in or create an account and post your comments below!