I was having an interesting chat the other day with a mother who was hoping that martial arts training would improve her child’s confidence.
I assured her that martial arts are a great way to boost confidence and self esteem and I know because I have seen it help so many people over the years. It is almost an article of faith that martial arts can be good for your confidence but rarely is it explained just why this is so or how it works because the ultimate reason is a little different to what most people think.
Martial arts are normally said to improve confidence by instilling a sense of achievement as people learn new skills, progress through the ranks and interact with others as part of a group. All these reasons are true and great, but in this regard martial arts are no different from learning a musical instrument or a foreign language or getting involved in theatre.
So what is it about being able to punch, kick, lock and throw that makes martial arts uniquely effective for building confidence? The answer is that these are the skills of self defence and you can defend yourself only if you believe that you are worth defending. That is the key.
Through participating in a proper martial arts program, people come to realize that they are of value, that their lives are of value and that they are worth fighting for.
That realization lies at the heart of martial arts training and that is why martial arts are so effective at increasing confidence. It might take three months or it might take a year but it will happen. And it’s pretty special when it starts to happen.