Using the Martial Arts to show your confidence

A long time ago a student came to our school wanting to start Martial Arts training for her kids and possibly herself.  For the purposes of this story we will use the name of Suzy.  Suzy is a mother of 2, who had practiced Martial Arts as a child and wanted to have her kids now train at our studio.  Her goal was for them to develop more confidence and discipline, which we see a lot of parents desire for their kids.

As the kids started to train, Suzy would sit at the lobby watching the classes, smiling and commenting on the progress of the kids.  Often, we would stop by to see how she was doing, inquire about her kids’ behavior at home and would comment often “how come you are not training?”. A soft smile will follow, she would avert her gaze and would answer with a quick “nah, it’s not for me”.

I have often wonder what that means.  If you like coffee and tea but matcha is “not for you”, I could understand.  If you like sandwiches but sourdough bread is not for you, maybe too.  But why would an activity that builds confidence and discipline not “be for you”.  I am sure we can all agree that whether we are adults or children, discipline, respect and such other traits are very beneficial for everyone.

And so we continued to bug Suzy until she finally said, “sure.  I’ll take a class”.  Fast forward 4 years, and she had already been training past Blue Belt.  She enjoyed the classes, the sparring, the grappling and event the basic movements of Martial Arts, but what truly filled us with joy was her newly found inner strength.

She shared with us a situation in which she was traveling to another state with a friend for work.  They were coming out of the convention center where they had been asked to meet for a conference.  After they got out, and being late at night, they decided to walk down to a nearby shop.  As they kept on walking they noticed someone was following them.  They began to walk faster away from this individual until he disappeared.  Out of sight, out of mind, until all of a sudden he jumped out at Suzy’s friend trying to pry away her laptop.  Suzy, being there fought back trying to help her friend.  The attacker was hurt and realized there might be more trouble than what he bargained for, and so he left hastily.

Suzy came back from her trip to tell us the story.  She realized after some quick thinking that both she and her friend are about the same height, they are both female, they were both wearing similar clothing, they had the same build, and they both were caring laptops, but the assailant chose to attack her friend only because of her demeanor.  Suzy had trained in Martial Arts for many years, she stood up tall, she felt good about herself, she was in good shape and kept her head high – noticeable signs of confidence.

Although it is hard to teach these skills, it is not hard to obtain after training in the Martial Arts for a while.  There is a saying in the Martial Arts that goes “the more you learn, the less you have to use it”.  This was truly Suzy’s situation, she did not need to beat the guy to a pulp; but her extensive training gave her the confidence she needed not to look like a victim.

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