Look at that smile! Is this joie de vivre or what?

On a few occasions at camps and seminars, I’ve heard Master Ken Smith and Master Chuck Gauss to remind those in attendance to train with a smile, reminding us that Professor Presas used to admonish us when we looked too serious while training. “My God, you must smile when you practice!” At first, I was astonished that Professor, whom many of us considered a “bad ass,” would say this. He insisted that there was a mind body connection in that the act of smiling relaxed us and made training more fun and effective. Smiling will help you to be more in the moment

I have seen this up close while teaching in class. Those who train with a smile or with a sense of joy or fun are often those who learn the quickest. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen a person with a sullen or bored look on their faces just going through the motions.

As it turns out there is some research to support Professor Presas’ admonition. See 7 Good Reasons to Smile.  The article says in relevant part:

Remember that mind-body connection we were just talking about? Well, it turns out that the simple act of smiling sends a message to your brain that you’re happy. And when you’re happy, your body pumps out all kinds of feel-good endorphins. This reaction has been studied since the 1980s and has been proven a number of times. In 1984, an article in the journal Science showed that when people mimic different emotional expressions, their bodies produce physiological changes that reflect the emotion, too, such as changes in heart and breathing rate. Another German study found that people felt happy just by holding a small pen clenched in their teeth, imitating a smile.

I’m willing to bet you that the extra dosage of “feel-good endorphins” will, in part, help with learning and retention, not to mention having a good time in class and at seminars!

Get a sense of the mood in the first 25 seconds of this video? Fun times!

Bottom line, even if you don’t feel like it, smile! Have fun! Forget about the distractions while you’re in class. Relax and smile!

As Professor Presas said “You must smile!”


5 thoughts on ““You Must Smile!”

  • Pingback: Why FUN is so important at Mid-Cities Arnis | MID-CITIES ARNIS

  • June 3, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    Wow, thanks so much for this!!! I feel dumb for not figuring it out sooner. I’ve been telling myself to “play” when sparring, now I need to incorporate this tip to make the “play” attitude happen more easily! I’m off to class in about an hour, I’ll try it!!!

    • June 3, 2015 at 2:38 pm

      Let me know how it went! 🙂

      • June 3, 2015 at 6:21 pm

        Thanks – it was a great class – I felt like I was moving better and I had really great control over my sparring (which was absolutely essential as I was helping with belt testing and my opponent was trying for the rank below the one I’m currently on). Definitely felt “the fierce joy” throughout class! Please bop on over to my blog in about an hour or so if you want more details on this my first year Karate anniversary 🙂

  • Pingback: One Year Karate Anniversary | A Beginner's Journey

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