dealing with mind blanks in shows and performances

Post questions and tips on dealing with mental state before and during a martial arts or sports performance, such as prestart emotions, entering the “zone” or peak performance state, and control of concentration.

dealing with mind blanks in shows and performances

Postby Kit » Dec 05, 2004 22:33

I have been training martial arts for around 12 years, but just recently I have noticed I have a problem with pre-coreographed performances. We do a lot of kung fu shows where we perform pre-arranged patterns on stage.

The problem is that in the last two shows for some reason or another my mind has gone blank and i don't know what move i need to do next.
In the first show this was due to me losing focus on what i was doing as i was busy concentrating on keeping in time with the others performing around me. I then found I was suddenly lost, on stage and not moving.

Also on Sat night we did another show at a Christmas party. We planned a great sequence with a staff (me) against a kungfu fan...when we arrived we found there was no stage, just a small area in the restauarant to perform in. With the lack of space, I was so concerened about hitting either the lights or the tables with my staff that halfway in i forgot what I was doing again.

as i say it seems that little things that happen around me, draw my attention just for a few seconds and then in the moment I don't know what I am doing....

Has anyone had the same experience or have any advice/suggestions on how to beat this one? It is really annoying me as love getting up to perform!
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Postby wynnema » Dec 06, 2004 10:23

More Practice
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Postby Kit » Dec 06, 2004 23:13

more practice at performing, or more practice of the forms in general?

The forms we performed were things I have trained for years, but as i say something threw my mind off what I was doing and then...I was lost.

Has anyone else had a similar problem?
Has anyone tried the gold medal mental workout book? How useful was it?
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Postby wynnema » Dec 07, 2004 06:47

sorry didnt mean to be so abrupt.

I meant that every performer will suffer from nerves and lose their focus during a performance. The way to combat this is to continually practice the actual routine.

You may know the moves very well but the more you practice exactly what you are doing and when, the more it will come as second nature.


Thats what we do for our demos anyway
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Postby mmeloon » Dec 09, 2004 15:20

Kit wrote:more practice at performing, or more practice of the forms in general?

The forms we performed were things I have trained for years, but as i say something threw my mind off what I was doing and then...I was lost.

Has anyone else had a similar problem?
Has anyone tried the gold medal mental workout book? How useful was it?


Kit, it sounds like you know the moves well enough but are just having a little bit of stage fright. I think more practice at performing would help greatly. You might also try going through your routine under different conditions. You mentioned that in your last performance you were worried about hitting nearby objects. Maybe you should practice your routine in unfamiliar and close-quarters once in awhile. Try it with the lights down really low (or do it blindfolded!). Try it wearing regular street clothes. Maybe practice your routine in a busy park where you know that lots of people will be watching you (and might laugh at you if you screw up). In short, being able to do a routine over and over under the same set of circumstances is no guarantee that you'll be able to do well under different circumstances. I would encourage you to try some of the above approaches (and come up with your own) when preparing for a performance.

Good luck,
-Mark
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Postby Kit » Dec 13, 2004 20:30

Thanks fo the ideas. I especially like the one of being blindfolded - I'll give it a try. I also think it is a form of stage fright and with a bit more practice at being up front I should be fine.

It is strange though as the afternoon before the last performance we practiced in the park, where a crowd drew and cheered and laughed with us, and yet in the park I was fine. But once I was inside the restuarant and within that smaller space to what we had practiced in...that's when my mind went blank...

I will give your ideas and try and see how it goes!
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Re: dealing with mind blanks in shows and performances

Postby Thomas Kurz » Dec 23, 2004 18:13

Kit wrote:in the last two shows for some reason or another my mind has gone blank and i don't know what move i need to do next.
In the first show this was due to me losing focus on what i was doing as i was busy concentrating on keeping in time with the others performing around me. I then found I was suddenly lost, on stage and not moving.

Also on Sat night we did another show at a Christmas party. We planned a great sequence with a staff (me) against a kungfu fan...when we arrived we found there was no stage, just a small area in the restauarant to perform in. With the lack of space, I was so concerened about hitting either the lights or the tables with my staff that halfway in i forgot what I was doing again.

as i say it seems that little things that happen around me, draw my attention just for a few seconds and then in the moment I don't know what I am doing....


It sounds a lot like problems encountered at the shugyo stage of training described by Donn Draeger in his Classical Budo. See chapter 4, The Method.

Gold Medal Mental Workout teaches concentration and resistance to distractions and has a program specifically for performance of forms. It might help.
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