One of the most difficult challenges of modern life is the ability to focus. We often hear about the importance of multi-tasking – doing more than one thing at a time. However, so much of life today seems to be a constant multi-task it is often difficult to get anything accomplished well.
Latin writer Publius Syrus wrote, “To do two things at once is to do neither.” Grandmaster James Ray of
All American Martial Arts reinforces this thought with his students when he often says, “The brain can only focus on one thing at a time.” This is an important element to the self-defense strategies he teaches.
Technology has increased the speed of communications in our society, and many have come to believe it should also increase the number of tasks we are able to complete at once. However, the lost art of concentration is a critical ingredient to success. To devote our entire attention to the task at hand, to the goal of most importance, is what allows us to accomplish it successfully.
The Martial Arts are a great way of re-learning or reinforcing the skill of concentration. Katas, board breaking, basic movements, as well as a variety of other activities help focus the mind and clear away distractions. They strengthen the practitioner’s ability to achieve the exceptional by harnessing the mind’s complete attention on the object in front of it.
The next time you are tempted to fallinto the trap of multi-tasking, remember the words of Arnold Palmer: “The secret of concentration is the secret of self-discovery. You reach inside yourself to discover your personal resources, and what it takes to match them to the challenge.”