The following video from the Joe Rogan Experience podcast showcases some details about mixed martial arts and hypnosis with guest, UFC fighter Khalil Rountree Jr.
Mindset is exceptionally important in martial arts, as well as elsewhere. But few people give it the attention it deserves. Hypnosis is one tool, and a good one at that, that can help deliver tangible results.
While you can watch the entire episode below, the specific segment where hypnosis’ use in martial arts is discussed goes from the 19:20 – 29:10 mark. You can also find this section transcribed below.[Rountree] And I was like “maybe I can start lightening up a little bit. It’s only a fight.” That’s something I had to tell myself for this one. I had to really fall back and rely on my training because I was nervous. I was nervous to start to try the new stuff I had learned out. I never threw many leg kicks in any of my fights. I never really did that stance. Everything that I did was pretty much brand new. And I was really nervous. And I was like “What if it doesn’t work?” So many different feelings. For this one, the only thing I could tell myself was “rely on your training”. And a few other things. I actually got hypnotized too, before. [Rogan] Who did it to you? [Rountree] My friend Dominique. I met him through one of the other UFC fighters, Julian Marquez. I met him through him. And he’s like “Oh yeah, I do hypnotism!” all this stuff. And I’m like okay cool, I’ve done it before, I did it in California. So I think 2-3 weeks prior to the fight we had a few sessions a week where we’re just like help me to really get that visualization clear. Because we have so many thoughts all the time, right? And everything just like thoughts are constantly coming in and to stay focused and to really like get the outcome that we set our intention to, it’s kind of hard with so many distractions. [Rogan] So when you go into his office, or wherever your do it, and you guys talk about it, do you set a goal before you start the session? [Rountree] We do this thing called timeline therapy. So, I’m just kind of sitting there with my eyes closed and we’ll pick a subject like pain, fear, nervousness, something. We’ll just pick a subject of feeling whatever’s going on and it’s just like a visual timeline of where did this [feeling] start or come from, what’s the event or whatever. And we kind of just talk about that for a while and I just kind of dig to the place of where the nervousness is coming from, or where the fear is coming from or whatever. I find a place on my time timeline and I dig from it, whether it’s in the future or the past or whatever and then we get things clear. Then after that, he kind of helps me, guides me into this hypnotism which is really just like a really deep relaxation. If I wanted to open my eyes or something like that, I feel like I could, but I wanted to relax. I wanted this to help, you know. I wanted my vision to be clear, so I did my best to just surrender to the process. And I’d say it’s not something where I woke up and I was like “Ah yeah! My life has changed,” but I can definitely remember the thoughts that I had so that I can stay more in that lane of what I wanted. And in my hypnotism, I actually visualized, not winning the fight because I didn’t want to strive too hard to win, it’s just something that I’ve been kind of studying. It’s like the outcome is not really like the winning or losing. I don’t want to base too much on that, I just want to put on a great performance. So I visualized one thing, like just having my hands in the air, seeing my brother smile, my coaches smile, and then slapping hands with crowd on the way out. Then I was also like I want to see my win bonus and my show money, and these are the things that I wanted to see. These are the outcomes that I wanted, not so much just I want to win the fight, but… how I wanted it to happen. And having that vision clear, it helped me. So like everything that I visualized before that, it happened. I was like cool, hands raised, slaps hands with everybody in the crowd on the way out, sign both my checks, and that was like the end of it for me until the next session, until I wanted to get clear on something else, you know. It was cool. [Rogan] Wow. So had you did anything like that before? Any mental coaching? [Rountree] Yea, before the Gokhan Saki fight, I did something very very similar. Yeah. With another guy. [Rogan] Was that the first time you’d ever done it? [Rountree] First time doing hypnotism? Yeah, definitely. And my friend, Mathias, he’s here and he’s really good too. He was just like, “take some notes”. You just kind of have a conversation in the beginning. And everything comes from your own conscious mind, it’s not somebody telling you something. I just dumped out whatever my own conscious mind was telling me. He was just helping me to like relax, be at peace, and just listen to my own conscious mind just unfold all of these kind of like hidden answers that we all have, you know. So that’s it. [Rogan] Now, when you get hypnotized and you’re thinking about a specific fight, do you think about specific things you’re trying to accomplish? Things that you think you’ll do to him that you’ll have an advantage at, or strategy? Like how do you… [Rountree] So, those were thoughts that were happening before my hypnotism, but then all of those thoughts were coming from the anxiety. Coming from the nervousness, you get what I’m saying? [Rogan] Yes. [Rountree] So it’s like let’s go back on the timeline to why you’re feeling nervous. Like all of these things are happening. You’re anticipating all these things happening and it’s making you feel nervous, so let’s go back to the nervousness and revisit that. Why? Then my own conscious mind just like spewing things out and then after the process of that mixed with the hypnotism, I’m not thinking about “Oh, I’m gonna hit this arm drag” or whatever. I’m thinking about having my conscience clear and my mind clear and everything, so that I can get the expectation or visualization that I created. [Rogan] So, have you tried different versions of that or different styles of hypnosis? [Rountree] Mmm, no. Not that I can.. I mean, I’ve done a lot of just like closed eye, like emotional intelligence type of exercises where my eyes are closed and I have someone helping me visualize internally. You know, like whether it’s dreams or emotional pain or whatever it may be. Like guided meditation almost. But the actual name “hypnotism”, I’ve only had it done by two people. [Rogan] When you’re watching fighters… I think fighter is one of the most complex puzzles for psychologists because I think it’s a super-rare state. Like the rare state that someone gets to where they can be completely calm and see everything in the heat of a dangerous encounter with another trained fighter. And when you’re watching these things play out on TV, and you often times see how much anxiety plays a factor or doesn’t play a factor, how much someone having the “I don’t give a fuck” attitude for real and play. It can be a benefit and it can fuck you up sometimes too, and to see these complex psychological puzzles play out and see fighter struggle and regroup, have a bad fight and come back better. All that stuff is like it’s really like a giant microscope on the human character, you know. And a guy like you, who comes back from that Johnnie Walker fight and looks sensational against Eryk Anders, man, That was one of those things you’re like “I like what I’m seeing. This guy, he figured some shit out, man.” That was incredible. It was really fun to wach, man. Guy really loves Muay Thai, it was fun to watch. [Rountree] Thanks man. Yeah, that’s kind of the goal too going forward is that I want to continue to put on stuff like that. Continue to learn Muay Thai and then, because that fight kind of raised the bar, right? Like people were like “oh man”. This guy kind of put me back on the map, so now I’m ready to just go back and you know. [Rogan] How many guys use mental coaches now, if you had to guess? [Rountree] A good handful. [Rogan] A good handful. [Rountree] Yeah a good handful [Rogan] Vinny Shoreman, he hypnotized me, and he hypnotizes a lot of fighters. It was a trip. It’s very strange. It’s like “Oh, this is real.” So weird feeling. [Rountree] How long ago was it? [Rogan] It was the old studio, so it had to be at least a year and a half, maybe two years ago. Yeah, it was pretty weird. But he’s a great mental coach too though. He knows like what’s creeping around you subconscious and just waiting to pop up and play tricks on ya. You know, you should put in enough rounds. [Rountree] Where does he live? [Rogan] He’s a U.K. guy. [Rountree] I gotta get linked up with him. I’m all about, I don’t care, like anybody, like whatever you got. Vinny Shoreman, let’s go. [Rogan] Yeah, he’s a good dude. I’ll connect you guys. I think it’s probably of the least trained aspects of fighting is the mental aspect of it, you know. You realize how good guys are just by watching them train? You seem them spar, you see them do all these things and go “Damn, this guy’s fucking good. Guy got great Jiu Jitsu. This guy got great kickboxing.” [Rountree] You ever hear about the people that like their sayings like, “man, that guy’s amazing in the gym, but when he show’s up to fight, he just doesn’t put on”? I’ve been that guy multiple times and yeah a lot of it has to do with mentally. [Rogan] Yeah, that’s almost like an unaddressed giant chunk of the puzzle. Like a third of the puzzle. Like if it was a pie, a third is keep it together. When it’s ready to go and, now. It’s all happening, don’t freak out.
I’ve created a number of pre-recorded hypnotic tracks to help athletes of all types. Specific ones that martial artists may like best include:
- Mental Toughness
- Winning Competition
- Skills & Technique