Confidence and Self Belief – Where to Find It
Recently in a junior class, I was teaching white belts how to do a traditional reverse punch in walking stance. They were struggling (as is normal), to get the stance right, body position, reaction hand, punch motion and speed. It’s challenging and it requires practice, coordination and perseverance. To get this right the student has to attain some improved physical coordination, but the foundations are being laid for the real lesson from this basic move, which is to keep trying and not to give up when you can’t have something first time.
In our current world children are being given lots of opportunities which is great, but they are also growing up in a culture where rewards are more readily being given not for effort or improvement but simply for presence and attendance.
As a modern-day martial arts instructor, I, along with my team, use the traditional side of the Taekwondo martial art to teach and reinforce in all our students, children to adults, the mindset to not give up and the confidence to face challenges and beat them. We teach them that hard work is rewarded with personal improvement, and in the grading structure they get external recognition for their hard work and improvement with a promotion and a new belt.
A key element of traditional martial arts is both the mental (attitude and maturity) and the physical progression between gradings; grading progressions can’t be bought – they are earned through work, which results in personal improvements. The student makes incremental steps between each grading, to be mentally a little stronger and physically a little better; multiply that through the coloured belt gradings, and you have a path for a beginner to become black belt. A black belt is not the belt you wear, it is the person you have become and the person you strive to be.
When a parent or student thinks a martial art will teach them self-defence or confidence, their perception is often that these skills are taught in class and the student just gets better; like adding another skin to an onion. A true martial artist is built from the inside out by teaching them practices that help them take control of building their own foundations.
Once a student begins to ‘get’ that hard work rewards them, they will begin to foster their own motivation to improve and learn, and this is the student beginning to build these foundations. From these foundations the student starts to change from the inside, and this is where the student will find their confidence and belief in themselves. Thereafter any challenges, self-defence, strength, flexibility and compassion are all easy to learn.
It is these foundations, that are so fundamental to us as humans (and somehow being diluted in the current culture), which can be taught through traditional Taekwondo and martial arts practice.
As an instructor, showing students how to build these foundations gives a purpose without an end.
Mr Evans V