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March Newsletter — Visualize Your Martial Arts Success

Did you know that you can improve your martial arts skill without breaking a sweat? All you need to do is practice with your mind. It's true! According to the AOA (American Optometric Association), researchers have discovered that people use the same areas of the brain when they perform and/or visualize an action in their mind. This means that you can obtain the benefits of practicing even when you can't engage your body. Visualization improves your performance by creating a better connection between mind and body. An expert martial artist is able to utilize both the mind and body when executing techniques in practice and on demand. The mind is especially important to your training because the martial arts is not an instinctual activity but rather one that is developed cognitively until it "appears" instinctive. Another aspect of this phenomenon is using the art of visualization immediately prior to performing the physical act. The theory is simple: visualize what you are about to do and your performance will increase. In 1998, studies conducted by Harvard University Professor J. Stanos proved a definite link between visualization and performance. A group was taught how to use visualization and a placebo group was taught to just think about an unrelated activity. Those who used visualization performed nearly perfectly, while the placebo group was only successful 55% of the time. To harness the full power of visualization, just follow these three easy steps. The first step is to relax. To accomplish this, you need to control your breathing. Slowly inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Repeat until you feel relaxed. The second step is to concentrate. Clear your thoughts and tune out whatever is around you. With practice, you will be able to do this even in noisy areas. Step three is to visualize. See yourself before you execute a technique, see yourself get in position, and then see yourself do it. Again, with practice, you can incorporate sounds, smells, and other sensations into your imagination.

We train in the martial arts because its fun and we love it, right? So, I suspect none of you is going to give up the great physical workout and a good sweat to think about your techniques instead of actually doing them. But, the art of visualization does provide us with another tool to sharpen our skills and improve our performance. And you can't beat the convenience:
Your mind can workout practically anytime!

Elite MMA was excited to host marketing representatives from all over the country to our Greenway Plaza location on February 19th, 2014. We had a great time learning selfdefense and building the team's trust and communication!

Westheimer Assistant Instructor Highlight: Michael Shields

What is your martial arts teaching history and where do you currently teach?
I have only taught martial arts at Elite MMA. I have taught MMA fundamentals and no gi classes. I am not currently teaching a regular class at Elite but I will assist in every class where I am a participant.

What is your current rank in martial arts?
My current rank in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is Black Belt. I have also trained in Judo (in Japan starting at the age of 5), in Kempo & Ketsugo Karate for many years, and in Aikido before I switched to BJJ / Muay Thai.

What is your educational background?
I have a B. Sc. degree in Marine Systems Engineering, and I hold two Master's degrees. One Master's is a M. Sc.

Do you have a competitive history in martial arts?
I have not competed in nearly two years but I hope to compete on a regular basis beginning the summer of 2014. I miss the competition and the requisite preparation. I have found that training for competition forces me to eat better, exercise more and, therefore, drastically improve my overall health.

What do you see is the main benefit the average individual can receive from martial arts?
The main benefits are an elevated self?confidence, enhanced mental focus and improved health.

What is your favorite part about practicing martial arts?
When I am rolling in BJJ class or exhausting myself in the cardio kickboxing class I forget about any personal or professional entanglements and I can solely focus on what I am doing at that particular time.

Where do you hope martial arts will take you later in your life?
Hopefully to a ripe old age where I can one day "roll" with my future grand kids. I am 39 years old and I feel both physically and mentally younger than my peers. I think BJJ has that effect on people.

Baytown Student Highlight: Marisol Alvarez

What is your name and age?
Marisol Alvarez and I am 26 years old.

When did you join Elite MMA?
March 2013

Why did you decide to start taking martial arts?
To lose weight and to be more active.

In the past what had caused you not to take martial arts?
had a crazy work schedule.

Is this your first time taking martial arts and what classes do you take?
Yes, this is my first time and I am taking cardio kickboxing.

Since you have been part of Elite, please share what you have been able to accomplish?
I've been able to accomplish my weight loss goal of going from a size 13 to a size 9! YAY ME!!!

Anything else you want to share with someone who is looking to get in-volved with martial arts or looking to change their current lifestyle?
It's a fun class and they try to motivate you to accomplish anything if your trying to do whether it is weight loss or building muscle and speed.

Greenway Student Highlight: Alexandra Byrne

What is your name and age?
Alexandra Byrne, 26

When did you join Elite MMA?
May 2013

Why did you decide to start taking martial arts?
I originally wanted to take kickboxing to improve my cardio and to have a hobby outside work.

In the past what had caused you not to take martial arts?
Most of what kept me from taking martial arts, or any activity, was time and motivation. I don't like to do things halfway, and I wasn't willing to commit unless I gave it my full concentration.

Is this your first time taking martial arts and what classes do you take?
I attended a self?defense class when I was very young and have taken kickboxing a few times over the years. Once I started at Elite, I've found that while I enjoy kickboxing, I am very dedicated to BJJ, something I originally only looked into as a supplement to kickboxing.

If you had any concerns about joining Elite MMA, what helped you with your decision?
When I first contacted Elite, I was primarily concerned about my dedication; whether I wanted to commit to a fitness class when fitness was never previously a big priority. When I went for the introduction lesson, I was impressed with the enthusiasm of the instructors and the camaraderie of the students.

Since you have been part of Elite, please share what you have been able to accomplish?
I've found that I really enjoy being challenged, both physically and mentally. I started strength training in addition to BJJ and kickboxing, and I am making the effort to eat healthier meals and snacks. My cardio is improving, and I can even do push ups now ? big shocker for me!

Anything else you want to share with someone who is looking to get involved with martial arts or looking to change their current lifestyle?
Being at Elite has improved many aspects of my life. Physically, I'm getting stronger, and the instructors help me set and achieve goals in health and fitness, and ones outside Elite as well. I feel that they truly want me to succeed as a person. The confidence I continue to gain in BJJ transfers over into my work and personal life, and a quick BJJ lesson can help me deal with any stress that might be weighing me down. I feel lucky to have the support system and new friendships I've made through BJJ and Elite.

Greenway Student Highlight: Alexandra Byrne

WHERE: Elite MMA Kingwood—2259 Northpark Dr., Kingwood, TX 77339
WHEN: Saturday, March 22, 2014 from 10am?12pm
HOW TO REGISTER: Sign up at your school's sign?up sheet. Ask your instructor for details

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