Many reading this will be too young to remember Mike Stone. He was one of the original karate champions, back in 64 and 65. He was born in Hawaii and was a gifted, natural, athlete. He competed in all sports and decided to enter the Army at an early age. He learned Karate off of Herbert Peters and credits him as a great instructor. Mike won 89 straight matches in individual black belt competition. He was also the Light Heavyweight Champion, crowned in 1968, at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, along with Chuck Norris, Joe Lewis and Skipper Mullins. Mike was a Vegas black jack dealer, real estate investor, tennis player and excellent golfer. Anything he set his sights on he achieved. Mike wrote a screenplay, which later became the movie, “Enter the Ninja”. Mike was also the stunt double for Dean Martin [who by the way was a bare knuckle boxer] in the Matt Helm movies. He is known in the media as part of the Elvis and Priscilla Presley break up.
In an interview in Black Belt Magazine years ago, Mike said that mental training in martial arts was a lost art. He was fortunate that his instructor stressed the mental aspects of the fighting arts. He gave a few examples.
One trick was to mentally ‘fight’ an opponent, bigger, faster and stronger than any human and beat him over and over in your mind. He used this successfully and didn’t allow defeat to happen. It just wouldn’t enter his mind.
While in the Army he would sleep with his left leg outside the covers, imagining a night time attack and being ready for it. It is a type of mental anchor that reminded him of being vigilant.
The next drill was used throughout the day. He would go through a crowd and as people brushed close or passed into his space, he would imagine a sudden ambush. It would force him to key himself up, then return to a calmer state with more efficiency. He said that this training was as important as his physical training.
The last hint was to get an emotionally charged word, like “Fire!” and visualized the word in your mind as you exploded to bridge the gap. Since repetition is the mother of skill, you want to do it over thousands of times.