The Goal: Enter into training with a clear head (Mind), leaving the distractions of the day at the door. Sometimes this is not so easy to do, so here is a basic exercise you can do to center or ground yourself (Spirit) as you transition from your normal life to the time and place of your training:
As you wrap your hands or stretch, push your diaphragm (your stomach) outwards and upwards during your inhalation. On each exhalation, allow your diaphragm to collapse back towards your spine. Try placing your hand on your belly to feel this happen, practicing feedback. As you put your conscious attention on your breathing (Body) you will find yourself calm, centered, and ready to focus on the task at hand. Your constant and distracting thoughts will quiet, then fade as you begin to enter what some people refer to as the “Zone” or simply the Now.
As you begin your drills, review your goals (long and short-term). If the day’s exercises are about getting faster, than watch your focus as you train. Are you loose and relaxed, or tight, tense, and still thinking about what happened during the day? If you focus on the now (your breathing) you will find yourself loosening up, leaving the stress and worry of the past behind. Tension (physical or emotional) acts as a brake on your movements, literally slowing your punches down.
Have your breath fit the motion of your body. Throwing quick jabs? Use quick breaths out. Throwing a big thai knee? A longer breath is needed. Breathe out when you throw strikes, and inhale as you move out of range after throwing your combinations.