Hypnosis - Learn what it is, its uses in the martial arts and more...

Hypnosis is a state of mental focus and concentration, which allows the mind to relax and be more open to influence and manipulation.

Hypnosis is a mental method or tool which can be categorized under mental training in a martial art.

In the basis of the hypnotic theory stands the understanding that we are responsible for our experiences. Meaning that what ever happens to us and whatever we do - we experience it through our minds perception.

Thus our thoughts, feelings, sensations and actions are all settled upon, be it conscious or subconscious, in our brain. Thus to affect them is to effect the brain.

Experimental experience

We can perform a quick experiment in order to experience this connection between thougth and our bodies reaction to it:

1. Take a string and connect a small, but heavy object to one side of it – little rock, 5 keys heavy ring... The string should be thin and not more than 30 centimeters (about 12 inches).

2. Hold the string (the object hanging down) between your thumb and middle finger

3. Sit on an arm chair or next to a table and rest your elbow on it the object should be in the air.

4. Ask a friend to give you the following instruction with a wait of 1-2 minutes in between:

• “Imagine (but only imagine) the object is moving from side to side” (note what’s happening)

• “Imagine (but only imagine) the object is moving back and forth, from and towards you” (note what’s happening)

• “Imagine (but only imagine) the object is moving in circles” (note what’s happening)

If the experiment went well when ever you got or gave (if you were performing the test on a friend) the instruction to imagine a certain motion, the movement would occur after a few seconds.

This is a nice way to show the connections between what we imagine and what happens as a result in our body, or our body’s reaction to it…

What exactly is Hypnosis?

Well like we said in the beginning it’s a state of mental focus and concentration; a sort of sleep without sleeping.

In our lives we experience hypnotic states every so often – for instance driving without remembering exactly what we did and where we passed, focusing on a television show without being aware of what’s going on around us, let alone when our name is called…

However, this mental state of concentration is only the first part of the process, the whole point of this state, is that while in it, our mind becomes very open for “suggestions” or influences both conscious and subconscious.

Physically what happens is that our right brain hemisphere arouses. It’s responsible for our emotions, intuition creativity…

At the same time our left hemisphere is repressed. It’s responsible for our analytical functions. We become free of our intellectual judgment and analyzing and much more open to suggestions…

* It is important to point out that a person can not be forced to do something against his will in a hypnotic situation or afterwards.

It is a process in which the hypnotizer can offer the hypnotized “suggestions” that can influence his:

• Sensations

• Perception

• Emotions

• Logic

• Physiological processes

• Physical behavior

Methods and techniques:

There are many ways by which one can go into a hypnotic state. However aside from self hypnosis which is used usually and almost only for relaxing, other techniques involve a second person, whose role is to offer the suggestions...; (It is recommended that the second person be a professional).

In the classical approach there are four stages:

1. We use different techniques generally called “inductions” to put the person in a hypnotic state (the induction varies from one person to another).

2. Techniques to deepen this state.

3. Therapeutic work – using hypnotic phenomena’s.

4. "Post suggestions" - which allows the person to use what he has learned out side the therapeutic context.

5. Technique for terminating the hypnosis.

Martial arts uses

• As part of the training regime

• When engaging in the actual fight.

As part of the training regime:

• Support in overcoming mental barriers – For instance fear of sparring, lack of aggressiveness, improving fighting spirit and mental toughness… Of course, hypnosis will not always help, it depends on what is disturbing the attribute from developing.

For instance if the fear of fighting is based on a past experience which ended very painfully, using hypnosis can help us subconsciously detach our emotions from the event, and allow us to start with a clean slate.

However usually the fear is based on the natural fear of pain and conflict, in this case, perhaps building a sense of confidence will help or even creating a detachment between pain to/and suffering.

• Support in overcoming physical barriers – For instance, energy boosting, improving physical endurance…

Using hypnosis will not make us bench press 200 kilos (about 100 pounds) if we can only do half physically wise.

However, if we suspect what is holding us back in improving physically is a mental blockage, for instance fear to reach our 100% capability, fear to fail… then perhaps with the write suggestions we can become limited only by our real physical limitations./p>

• Support in overcoming technical barriers – For instance, lack of coordinated striking, blinking while punching… again only if the limitation is caused by a mental barrier…

• Support in overcoming injuries – Again many times lack of confidence, or negative thinking can affect our healing process... In these cases and their kind, hypnotic therapy may help overcoming these boundaries.

When engaging in the actual fight:

Imagine going into a fight with confidence, with no sense of pain, while being stress free. These attributes and more can be achieved through hypnotic suggestions.

However, not always is it useful. For instance we might be over confident, and sometimes our stress helps us react faster, harder and refines our awareness levels.

As we examined in mental training in a martial art and in the meditation article.

The difference from imagery

Imagery is a method in which one uses his imagination in order to achieve a physical effect.

It can be used for relaxing, for simulating an experience for the mind and thus training its skills and abilities and more…(For more information about simulations in a martial art…)

When this kind of technique is used during an hypnotic trans (either as part of the "suggestions" or as part of "entering" the hypnotic state) it is called hypnosis. Hypnosis also utilizes other methods aside from using the imagination.

From an early age there is a “critical factor” mechanism that is formed in every person.

This mechanism compares any new piece of information with a piece that is already known, and any information that is contradictory is blocked – it is a defense our mind creates to make sure we don’t “overwork” and “overload” our brain.

However, if we want to change this may also become an obstacle. When hypnotized one can over come this obstacle by “detouring past the conscious level and go directly to the subconscious one this is a detour which is very hard, if not impossible, to achieve only by using imagery.

The difference from meditation:

During both meditation and in a hypnotic state we are in a relaxed and very focused and concentrated state of awareness.

Nevertheless studies have shown a difference in brain waves from each situation.

However, the real difference is in our openness for suggestions.

In meditation by listening to suggestions we are, by definition, out of the single mind/empty mind state. Therefore we might use meditation to reach a relaxed state of mind – as an “induction” to the hypnotic state, but once beginning the suggestion stage we have started hypnosis.

Hypnosis, imagery and neural pathways

When in these state of minds, we can imagine and visualize our self performing something in a correct way, for instance switching to an arm bar at exactly the right moment or striking with a katana with perfect execution.

The scientific field is still debating whether or not this imaginary state helps develop not only self confidence but also new neural pathways which actually help physically to improve our skills and abilities – physical and mental.

To learn more about neural pathways

Breaking myths

The following are true facts regarding hypnosis -

• It will not cause a person to say or do something against his will.

• A person can not get “stuck” in it.

• It is not sleep, it is an awakened state which always maintains a certain awareness to what’s going on

• We can not be hypnotized against our will

• It will not cause us to run faster but it may cause us to believe we can…

For more information about hypnosis:

Hypnotics which improve life

More about Hypnotic history, theory...


Working, training and improving with hypnosis, requires using “suggestions”, it is a technique which requires knowledge and experience, therefore consulting or /and working with a professional is very important.

Using hypnotic methods can not substitute proper and useful training and hard work, but it can help overcome mental barriers which prevent or limit us from achieving them.

Learn more about Mental training in a Martial Art

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