Posted: May 21, 2010
People always ask me how training in Martial Arts can increase confidence. We always hear that it does, but quite often we don’t understand how or why it works.
In a nutshell, confidence comes from knowing that you are prepared for a situation. Whether it is for a streetfight, a test in school, or a public speaking engagement. The end result in all these instances is the same. If you have prepared properly and trust in your training to get you through, you will begin to develop confidence.
Confidence is the byproduct of repetition. If I have practiced punching, kicking, kneeing, elbowing, submissions, and “dirty” streetfighting techniques over and over again, the likelihood that I can pull these techniques off in a real fight goes way up. As a result, I will be more confident in my ability to handle myself.
With regard to children: if a child has studied a particular set of questions over and over again, the likelihood of getting those answers right on a test goes way up. The child begins to have confidence and is less fearful of taking the test.
This is how it will work for most children. Unfortunately, in our society we use negative reinforcement way too much and the end result is that we give children complexes at an early age, leading to the belief that they are poor “test takers.” I will elaborate on this problem in another post in more detail, but for the vast majority of kids, repetition will build the confidence that parents seek.
In our children’s program, we have 5 year-olds that will lead the class in our Student Creed. The children want to lead the class, because they have reapeated the Creed so many times that they are confident they know the words. They look to be praised for having memorized it; and they now receive positive reinforcement that their hard work is appreciated. The end result is that this 5 year-old is no longer shy and timid, and is not afraid of public speaking. Contrast this with the general population who views public speaking as something they fear more than death. How do you think this type of training will benefit this child’s life? It’s an incredible boost to his confidence and his belief that he can succeed if he focuses and puts his energy where it is most needed.
This is one of the reasons that I love teaching martial arts. I highly appreciate the achievement of “Black Belt”, but more importantly, I appreciate helping others to become Black Belts in life.