Most of martial arts practioners spend almost all of their training time to improve their physical condition, their technical skills and try to spend a lot of time in the boxing ring or performing Chi Sao, because they think quite rightly this is the only way they will improve their performances.
However a time comes when these parameters are not sufficient and to push back your limits, you must harness your state of mind.
When I started learning wing chun in Hong Kong, each time I came back in France, I was alone to practice. As I was highly motivated I practiced my taos multiple times every day and I tried practicing my techniques in the air. But I must admit that even with this motivation, I felt like I was going round and round in circles and I was raring to go to Hong Kong to pratice with partners. I must even confess I went to see existing wing chun chools in Paris because I had convinced myself that without a partner I would not reach a very good level.
Then one day, I found myself watching a Dragon Ball episode, looking at the genius of martial choreographies, and recalling my past of Wu Shu practioner and arranged fights I choreographed with my colleagues at that time, I thought but why don’t I practice Chi Sao with this idea.
I started to imagine Chi Sao sessions in shadow mode, as well as fights where I could use wing chun techniques.
When I was going to Hong Kong afterwards, students as well as my master Donald Mak were the first surprised of my improvements in Chi Sao and I think they never believed me when I explained I was training alone without a partner.
At the time I didn’t know about what’s described today as visualization. Visualization and training activate the same brain areas ! That’s what neuroscientists confirm today. Visualization turns out to be a precious tool for the sportsman seeking performance. This capacity of visualization is reachable by anyone of us. We all have the ability to create images behind our closed (or opened) eyelids. These mental images can then make up movies for which the scenario will be conditioned by the quality of our imagination.