Confidence is such an important thing to possess. It affects our interpersonal relationships. It affects our ability to perform the best work academically and vocationally. It affects our peace of mind by lowering our levels of anxiety and fear. It affects our desire to relentlessly pursue our goals. It affects how we react to obstacles that have been placed in our paths; will we simply push through or around them, or will we experience crippling senses of defeat during those trying moments? So many aspects of our lives are affected by how confident we are or by the lack of it that we possess.
One way that children and adults can help build their confidence is by learning the discipline that comes with engaging in the martial arts. Children who partake get to have this instilled in them from an early age while it’s never too late for adults to learn the same skills.
How exactly can the martial arts help?
One of the greatest lessons that’s learned from this activity is greater self-control. Although it may appear to outsiders that the focus is on physical activity and on combat with others, it’s not. It’s on self-control, on being able to control any feelings of anger, agitation, aggression, and hostility that may have otherwise surfaced. This control is learned in a variety of ways.
Setting goals that are realistic but also serve as challenges is one way. Many who learn martial art will have high aspirations, but they quickly learn that it’s best to go about those in a steady, gradual manner. Think of the tortoise and the hare; it’s important to keep progressing forward, not worrying about the pace.
Learning control and focus is another. It takes a strong person to have the proper form and mindset to do what’s necessary for class. You must be able to control your body and also take into account the environment that’s surrounding you, blocking out anything that doesn’t provide the necessary information.
Getting in the habit of following rules is another positive benefit of taking part in this activity. Learning to do so in class as it relates to your martial art, to listening and following your instructor’s directions, provides discipline and benefits elsewhere in your life. For example, you are then able to better follow rules in the outside world.
Of course, it’s great to have others in our lives, those who we can count on and those who count on us. However, we need to be able to count on ourselves. When it comes down to it, that’s the only person who we can 100% count on. This not only relates to the ability to defend ourselves through what was learned through this martial art but also to the ability to make independent decisions and to be more reliant on ourselves and less on others.
Pain can cause a decrease in self-confidence. Fortunately, every martial art provides physical activity and intense training, which result in a tremendous amount of endorphins being released. This provides several benefits; one of those is improved pain resistance. The less pain that’s experienced, the easier it is to be confident taking on what would have otherwise been stressful, trying situations.
It should also be noted that endorphins help improve the ability to focus, a benefit that tends to have a positive effect on confidence levels.
Improved Social Skills
One of the best ways that martial art helps practitioners be more confident is by introducing them to others who come from a variety of ages, ethnicities and backgrounds. In some cases, doing so may have not been experienced otherwise in somebody’s life; this is more likely for children than it is for adults. Learning this skill, being able to interact with various types of people, early on can only help improve how confident practitioners will be later in life.
Seeing the fruits of their labor can help practitioners be more confident as well. It’s great to steadily work towards goals but to actually experience the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, to experience what had been worked so hard towards, is such an important piece of the puzzle. With a martial art, this can include working towards a certain color of the belt. Seeing all of that work over an extensive period of time pays off with what it should be paid off with is so important to one’s self-esteem.
Improved Handling of Bullies and Avoiding Being One
Those who participate in martial art get to learn levels of self-control over their emotions, which help them refrain from a desire to bully others. They learn to respect everybody, not just their instructors but also their peers within the class. Conversely, the skills learned in this environment help participants not be affected by bullies. Of course, the physical skills help, but the mental skills provide a significant amount of help too, perhaps more so. So much of being bullied is related to mental bullying, and it’s important to be able to counteract that.
Undervaluing of Perfection
One of the biggest hindrances to being confident is believing that you must be perfect. This is impossible and believing this causes so many to experience a complete lack of self-confidence. However, every martial art provides a focus on progression as opposed to perfection. Of course, you want to be disciplined and always near the top of your game in and out of the classroom, but it’s so important to also devalue the importance of being perfect.
What’s essential is to progress towards goals and to know how to react when obstacles appear. The important thing is to be disciplined, to keep pushing and not feel overwhelmed because perfection is no longer possible. Training in a martial art helps teach that failure provides important lessons to learn and have so many benefits attached to them.