5 Awesome Ways Martial Arts Makes You Mentally Tough

At some point in your career, I’m sure you’ve wondered where exactly you stand in comparison to your peers.

The more dedicated we are to leveling up, the bigger our goals become. Thus, adding to our arsenal in order to achieve our goals is only natural. One of the essential qualities we can develop is mental toughness. With mental toughness, we’ll be able to face any challenge and solve any problem that may come our way. It also helps us put our emotions aside and remain focused on the task at hand.

Martial artists know the value of mental toughness. It requires them to be at the top of their game physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. It is what helps them persevere and get through a match when they can barely stand. There’s no doubt we can learn a thing or two from them.

Today, Evolve Daily reveals 5 practices martial artists use in order to hone mental toughness. Perhaps we can use these techniques in our career and our daily lives for us to unleash greatness within: 

1) Visualization

ONE Welterweight World Champion Ben Askren has worked hard to become one of the best fighters in the world.

For ONE Welterweight World Champion Ben Askren, visualization is one of the keys to his success as an athlete. From the time he was wrestling at the University of Missouri, he would picture his matches in his head and play them out in every scenario possible.

When we believe in something enough, there’s no doubt that we can achieve it. Visualization requires constantly imagining yourself accomplishing your goals. This helps you prepare for what’s coming next.


2) Self-Affirmation

BJJ World Champion Alex Silva works hard at the Evolve Fighters program.

Many martial artists practice self-affirmation. It is a powerful mental process that requires you to constantly remind yourself that you are the best. Eventually, your subconscious mind becomes influenced, and you end up believing it.

The legendary boxer Muhammad Ali constantly practiced self-affirmation, proclaiming in public that he was “the greatest.”  The more we repeat our affirmations, the more real they become.

The more we believe in ourselves, the more we can achieve. We are all capable of greatness; we just have to convince ourselves that we are.


3) Goal Setting

Being well rounded in BJJ means training both in the gi and no-gi.

At one point or another, we feel like we have reached the pinnacle of our careers. We may wonder, “What else is there to aim for? I’ve already achieved all that I can.” Or what if we feel like we aren’t progressing, or that we’re just stuck with a routine? Goal-setting may be the solution to these problems.

By acknowledging that you have goals that you must achieve, it means that you have to work harder. It will truly put your talents to the test and push you out of your comfort zone.

Life is competitive; there is definitely no room for slacking off. We must continuously work on becoming the best version of ourselves or else we’ll get left behind. Remember, there’s always someone who is willing to work harder and take your spot – don’t give them that chance!


4) Focus On The Present

BJJ World Champion and ONE Superstar Brodinho Issa trains hard at the Fighters Program at Evolve MMA.

Sports psychologists say that the average, untrained person has a limited attention span. This has an effect on the way we do our work. When we’re under pressure to meet a deadline, we get into survival mode and do everything haphazardly.

In order to become more focused, sports psychologist Mike Edger suggests practicing the 3 R’s:
1. Recognize when you are off task and take action.
2. Regroup by interrupting your train of thought and prepare to refocus.
3. Refocus by directing your attention back to execution.

Former UFC Welterweight World Champion Georges St-Pierre says, “I only focus on the present moment.” Whether you are trying to complete a task or rushing a deadline, your complete focus is required at all times. This allows you to stay calm and in control under duress and accomplish what you set out to do.


5) Maintain Eye Contact 

The elbow is arguably the most dangerous weapon in Muay Thai.

Maintaining eye contact, whether with our colleagues, bosses, friends or even strangers, reveals our personal strength. If you want to appear confident and at the top of your game, make good, lasting eye contact with anyone that you encounter.

Former Boxing World Heavyweight Champion Mike Tyson says: “I walk around the ring, but I never take my eyes off my opponent. Then once I see a chink in his armor, boom, one of his eyes may move, and then I know I have him.”

The moment you break eye contact reveals how anxious and intimidated you are, giving your opponent the impression that he is more dominant than you. In life, it is important that we demand respect from our peers. Doing so will give us an edge and convey a sense of dominance and power.


The more we think like warriors, the more certain victory is in life. By learning how to adapt these strategies in your career, rest assured; you will be ready for anything. To learn first hand how martial arts helps develop these skills, give martial arts a go!

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