Kate Sylvester - Captain of Australia Kendo National team in World championship in Japan
I had decided that my last World Kendo Championships, as a competitor
would be the 16th WKC which was held in May, 2015 at the Nippon Budokan
in Tokyo, Japan. For this campaign I was a competitor, team captain and a
coach. As I knew this was my last WKC I desperately wanted to achieve my
peak performance. This was my last chance to achieve my competitive
dream. I needed to achieve this as I had sacrificed and committed 16 years
of my life to competitive kendo and I wanted to feel it was worth it. Aside
from the pressure of being my last campaign, the additional challenges
included coaching an inexperienced team and performing in front of several
thousands of people, national television and respected Kendo teachers at
the World’s Kendo Mecca, the Nippon Budokan. I was concerned that whilst
competing I would feel overly self-conscious and under-perform. The pressure
was enormous. The risk of disappointment was a devastating thought.
I have competed at 6 World Kendo Championships (WKC) over the past 16 years and had never achieved my ultimate peak performance. At every WKC I was at my physical peak, however most often I did not reach my optimum mental peak or ‘flow state’. I had great aspirations to achieve a medal, however there was a missing link that was preventing me from success. I have always felt an inner belief that I had the potential to be successful, as did those around me but I could not break through. My coach often said to me ‘get out of your own way’ and ‘let go’ but I never really understood what this meant. I was trying my best to ‘let go’ but I could not.
In the past I occasionally and accidentally experienced ‘flow state’ during competition. I treasured these moments as the sense of freedom and empowerment felt superb. I had experienced this ‘flow state’ during the WKC on one occasion against the Japanese team captain. However, my ‘flow state’ almost took me by surprise and although our match ended in a draw, in hindsight I could have won the match. I could have made history. However, I was satisfied from the feeling I experienced during that match as it was a reward in itself.
To achieve my dream at the 2015 WKC, I knew I needed to do all I possibly could and something different. I knew I needed to work out how to ‘let go’ for me to feel satisfied to retire. I was personally concerned that if I did not achieve my best performance it would affect me for years to come. Prior to the 2015 WKC I sought mental training and counseling in preparation for each competition, however it did not lead to achieving my ultimate peak performance. For the 2015 WKC, my last campaign, rather than winning a medal, I wanted to reach my personal peak and experience ‘flow state’. I would measure my success on whether or not I would finally experience my ‘true self’.
I first heard about the concept of hypnotherapy for performance during a conversation with a university professor in sports psychology. I became curious, ‘this may be answer’ I thought to myself. Initially I was a little apprehensive as I was concerned that this type of therapy would lead to someone else controlling me or perhaps doing some kind of psychological damage. However, I knew I needed to take the risk, go beyond my comfort zone and go into ‘unknown’ territory to achieve my dream. When I first met with Dung I felt comfortable soon into our first meeting. I felt he was present and that he had an in-depth understanding on the mechanics of psychology and sports performance. Most importantly, I felt Dung was present, genuine and authentically focused on helping me to achieve my dream. Dung reached beneath the surface to help me understand what exactly I wanted to achieve and why. Due to the trust I felt during our sessions I shared many personal truths with Dung which helped me to understand myself and what was preventing me from ‘letting go’. What emerged during those sessions helped me to heal within myself, forgive and ‘let go’ of beliefs that no longer benefitted me. The most important outcome was that I learnt how to reconnect with myself and realize that I was already an accomplished person. I was already whole. Dung guided me to reconnect with myself which was deeply empowering. Dung taught me some techniques I could take with me to the 2015 WKC. These techniques were extremely beneficial as they kept me connected and strong within myself. As a result of Dung’s therapy and the techniques he taught me, I had the best match of my life at the 2015 WKC. During that match I felt whole and an unbreakable determination. I displayed my best kendo and scored a clean point. I felt very proud of myself. After the match I had many teachers congratulate me on my performance. To receive this feedback was an indescribable honor. After the match I cried for some time as I felt I had finally done it, I had finally ‘let go’.
Not only did Dung’s guidance help me to perform at my best, it helped me to be a better leader and a better coach. Apart from experiencing my ‘true self’, I also received feedback from the team members that I was the best leader I had ever been. I felt a deep satisfaction after the championships. I felt happy to retire from competitive kendo after that performance, most importantly I had connected to my ‘true self’ which would endure beyond the WKC. Since the WKC I have applied Dung’s techniques to other areas in my life which included completing my PhD. I have also been appointed the National Team coach for 2018 World Kendo Championships which will be held in Korea. I am the first female to be appointed National Coach in Australia during the 48 year history of the World Kendo Championships. I whole heartedly believe Dung’s method of sports psychology has helped me to achieve my dream and the techniques and truths I learnt during our sessions will serve me (and others) for many years to come.
- Kate Sylvester -
Check out great results from golfers who worked with me here
Loh Jia Yi - World Optimist Sailing Champion 2013
I have been working with DJ for almost a year and I was mostly involved
with him going into the Optimist World Championships 2013.
Going into the competition as one of the favorites surely aroused pressure
Moreover, Singapore has always done well and won the last 2
World Championships, adding more pressure.
DJ has been an amazing psychologist. He has also been very approachable
to my problems and worries. This has definitely opened up areas for him
to enhance and improve the psychological aspect going into the World Championships. We had several sessions that emphasized on the ability to stay calm and composed with proper breathing techniques. Also, hypnosis has also shown me that I can be even stronger if my mind and body were under full control.
What impressed me the most was the connection an athlete can have with a psychologist. Not many people can open up and express their thoughts prior and after events. DJ’s approach to our endeavors was to hear out our problems and address them. With his kind and approachable attitude, it is a pleasure to have him and work with him. My success this year has got to do a lot with mental capacity and I credit it to DJ who has made me a stronger and tougher athlete.
Psychology is a big part of sailing. This year has shown me a lot and I definitely feel that DJ’s service is top class and my future development as a sailor will definitely be enhanced through it.
Sailors should all get to learn about sport psychology for their performance. Sport psychology creates the edge that sailors get when under pressure. The toughness of pressure is not one that can be conquered if not trained. With sports psychology, one can face pressure like how David faced Goliath in the Bible. Mental capacity and toughness will definitely give sailors the might and courage to stand up for their dreams.
- Loh Jia Yi -
Singapore National Water Polo Team
Vietnam Gymnastics Team
Pham Phuoc Hung - Gymnastics Champion at Challenge Cup Belgium 2012
Olympian at London 2012
Vietnam Gymnastics Team in training at Nhon National Training Centre.
We conducted a few training sessions for gymnasts going to London Olympics
Gymnast Pham Phuoc Hung often had pyschological training with us to practice
skills such as relaxation, visualization and confidence. Phuoc Hung was the
champion of Challenge Cup Belgium 2012 and preparing for London Olympics.
Connor Evans - Australian Freestyle Wrestling Champion
How are you? That's me arrived back in Melbourne from Africa.
Unfortunately I didn't qualify for the Olympics this year as I met the top
wrestler in the division in my first match and lost.
Although I didn't win I did wrestle very well and I put a lot of that down to the
work we done together. Going into the tournament I felt the most confident
I have in a long time. I had a strategy going into every match like you had told
me to visualise and my preparation the day before and the day of competition
as much more organised than it's ever been, allowing me to focus on what I
had to to compete at my best.
I just want to say thank you very much for all the help leading up to Africa. I would love to continue working with you going forward. As I did not qualify for rio I will be going back to work full time so it will be a little more difficult to see you regularly but whenever I have a chance to I will definitely take it.
Andrew Neil - Golfer
Played golf today, have really being putting into practice what we talked about in our last meeting, hitting the best shot I can one after the other.
I was putting well without thinking about technique, just seeing my line and then putting, birdied the first two holes, didn’t even cross my mind they were birdie putts. I think the seed analogy help knowing I have put in a lot of work in the background with training and the stuff you have done.
Anyway ended up shooting 1 over today my best score ever. I really think the time with you has helped enormously.
Allan Barnes - Golfer, WA
I approached DJ after reading some reports and reviews on a golf website and at that time I was struggling with my golf game. After initial contact DJ outlined the process he undertakes to assist golfers and even though I am in Western Australia was keen to assist me in being a more confident golfer.
DJ helped me by taking the time to understand what I thought were the issues and aligned this with his template program, a program that deals with confidence issues by applying set processes.
The result was as I worked through the process I became more confident when I followed the process and stuck to the process and my game improved as long as I remembered the process.
One thing I liked was DJ’s commitment to help and achieve results, even with the tyranny of distance DJ always made time to engage and set up meetings and was very understanding of the unfortunate timeline extension I had to impose.
I found the experience very rewarding and positive and assisted me in having a golf process to follow, a process I am confident in and know that works when I apply myself to the process, it doesn’t just happen but when the process is followed it happens.
I would recommend DJ to golfers that have a concentration wane and need that additional information to get and stay on track to better golf.
Thank you DJ for your assistance and commitment to my golf endeavours much appreciated and your understanding and willingness to give of your time much appreciated and has made a real difference
Again Thank You