I’ve always been a huge proponent of mental discipline as well as physical discipline. Although my physique isn’t quite where I would like it to be (due because of laziness on my part!), college has made sure that my mental physique hasn’t suffered at all. Any professional would agree, a large part of any sport is mental as well as physical. Luckily for everyone, there’s some excellent books that assist in developing the mental game in your MMA training.
“Zen in the Martial Arts” by Joe Hyams – I read this book when I was very young – about 10 years old. I couldn’t quite grasp all the concepts within, but I knew they were worth something. To give a little bit of background to this book, the author spent time training with Bruce Lee and many great martial arts of his time. Bruce Lee taught the author much of what he knew about martial arts and meditation. Throughout the book, the author argues that meditation and mental focus is just as important as physical perfection. Given the anecdotes he gives the reader, it’s difficult to argue with his reasoning. This book was a huge entry point into mental discipline for me and it wasn’t until years later that I truly learned to appreciate this book for what it was: a fantastic introduction to mental discipline and focus. I plan on reading this again soon; it truly is an amazing and insightful book.
“Got Fight?” by Forrest Griffin – Although Forrest Griffin isn’t the most successful fight on the face of the planet, he’s surely the most every-day-man appealing kind of one. This is partially because he’s highly intelligent and possesses self-deprecating humor that would challenge even the most depressed comedian. Fortunately for us, he combines these two elements with his fight experience to provide an excellent book for any aspiring mixed martial artist. Griffin’s book is both an autobiography of his own experiences in MMA and also an inspirational memoir of all the mental lessons he’s learned throughout his career as a mixed martial artist. The book is very well-written and contains quite a bit of humor to keep the reader interested and entertained.
“Why I Fight” by BJ Penn – This autobiography by BJ Penn is an excellent introduction and encyclopedia of everything BJ Penn. It documents his rise from your average joe to a black belt jiu-jitsu artist. Everyone has heard his nickname “The Prodigy”, but the way BJ Penn describes his journey, you have to wonder if he was truly a prodigy, or simply someone who was just willing to work exceptionally hard. This book contains a lot of the techniques and motivations that kept BJ Penn going throughout his career and is definitely worth reading if you’re an aspiring mixed martial artist. I highly recommend it.
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