In a lot of our talk about karate & why it is great for kids, we are often saying that “karate boosts confidence” or that practicing martial arts is a great way to increase confidence. We are seemingly taking this as a “given” fact. In this post, let’s pause and ask – what does that really mean?
As a public speaker & as a person in general, I wasn’t always as confident as I am today. What I mean by that is that I would often get nervous or unsure about talking to groups, being in a leadership position, or being in uncertain situations. While I do go back to being nervous sometimes, I think as I have grown older, both my own experience in life in general has made me more confident in myself as a person. But I think I wouldn’t be as far along if I hadn’t been in karate & certainly if I hadn’t been asked to teach at DFK.
So what is it about karate that is so useful to boosting confidence? Here are 3 ways.
Learning to defend yourself
The world is a scary place. We are often conditioned to rely on others for many things, like security. This is especially true of children. By learning to defend yourself, you are gaining an element of self-reliability. By relying on yourself for a basic need like security, you gain confidence in yourself to do other things as well.
Facing your fears
I remember my first time sparring as a yellow belt. No joke – my first ever sparring match ended with me getting the wind kicked out of me. I wasn’t scared, necessarily, but this sort of result can be intimidating to other kids. When kids can learn about & overcome a fearsome & unpredictable activity in karate, like sparring, they will be more likely to tackle other fearsome & unpredictable activities in life.
The more a student progresses in karate, the more often they will be called upon in a leadership capacity by instructors, either formally or informally. Often times, I will call out the higher ranks in a class & let them know that the lower ranks are watching them for an example in how to behave & how to do techniques. Other times, I will ask higher ranks to help teach lower ranks. In either case, this added leadership element in training is a confidence booster because the kids both have validation that they are doing a good job & the satisfaction of helping their peers.