Every MMA fighter knows how important the mental game is. For those hoping to gain an edge, Joshua Manuel is considered a “secret weapon” in the world of mindset training for professional fighting. What sets him apart is that his techniques – hypnosis and neuro-linguistic programming – are both effective and unconventional.
Manuel is a certified master hypnotherapist with 14 years of experience in mindset training for high-level martial artists. As the founder of Fight Hypnosis, his goal is to take fighters to a new level using proven techniques which can be applied in as little as 60 minutes.
UFC superstar Matt “The Immortal” Brown, a longtime student of specialized mindset training and techniques, states: “I’ve read many books, talked to many psychologists and many fighters about training the mind. Honestly no one has strengthened my mind as much as Josh [Manuel] at Fight Hypnosis has.”
Manuel uses a combination of neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), independently developed and proprietary hypnosis systems, and specialized mindset training techniques to produce a distinctive result. The majority of his sessions are conducted online via Skype, and the results are customized to suit each individual client.
“I focus on the client over any one particular method. Coaches often contact me after seeing results my fighters are getting, to learn specific techniques. While there are many highly specialized techniques that are devastatingly effective at improving a fighter’s performance, the key to unlocking a fighter’s highest ability is decoding the structure of motivating factors and unconscious preferences. Fighters and their trainers are typically unaware of how to determine their most powerful unconscious driving forces, or precisely adjust them to perform optimally.”
While an increasing number of fighters are seeking out every imaginable edge they can get, many aren’t fully aware of just how many top-flight fighters have utilized hypnosis in their careers. At the height of his boxing career, Mike Tyson was hypnotized – often multiple times per day – before his fights. UFC superstars Chael Sonnen and Miesha Tate have also undergone performance-related hypnosis. The incredibly charismatic and skilled Muhammad Ali utilized specialized visualization techniques in his training.
One of the most unique aspects of fighting is that an athlete can determine the end of the competition by scoring a knockout or submission hold. This means a specific finish time and technique can be visualized during hypnosis. Matt Coble, a professional fighter with the World Series of Fighting who is currently preparing for a fight on December 3, 2016, speaks of his experience using Manuel’s techniques. “We visualized in detail my fight ending at 2:17 in the first round, two days before the fight happened. I ended up finishing him at 2:03 in the first round, in the exact way we visualized. This level of mindset precision is something I had never experienced before, and I’ll be bringing it into my next fight in December.”
Manuel says the most enjoyable part of his work is seeing clients bring their positive experiences to life outside of the cage. He notes that resilience, confidence, and the ability to handle adversity are often dramatically improved in athletes’ everyday lives. “There are three things you typically hear from a fighter after working with these methods: ‘Everything happened exactly the way we visualized, my confidence skyrocketed, and I’ve benefited from using these techniques in other areas of my life as well.’ The third one is what is most important to me.”
While Manuel believes these techniques work for everyone, he is selective in choosing clients. He looks for fighters who are serious about improving their lives in a significant way, and prefers those who exhibit positive conduct both inside and outside the cage. “I’m currently working with a young fighter named Josh Wilton of the Mamba Martial Arts Academy in Vancouver, Canada. He’s a perfect example of the ideal client: highly focused, has a particular humility and authentic desire to improve, and has serious ambitions. A fighter like that is guaranteed to achieve excellence both within and outside the cage.”
While the majority of his work is with high-level fighters, Manuel has been perfecting a second area of specialization: golf. “The mental toughness techniques – and the degree of autonomy within the sport – translate particularly well to golf. The results that golfers I’ve worked with are experiencing inspired me to dedicate a full study into the most effective mindset techniques for professional golfers. I’ve hired a PGA golf pro to help me dissect every aspect of the game, and by February 2017, I’ll be taking on a limited number of professional golfers.”
You can learn more about Manuel’s work at fighthypnosis.com, or on Facebook at facebook.com/fighthypnosis. His 14-step mindset course, “The Fight Mindset Blueprint,” is currently available for free through the Fight Hypnosis website.