It’s often noted that those who learn martial arts will build the necessary discipline and character traits needed to take the practice seriously. From improved confidence to self-discipline and respect, the skills martial arts teaches go far beyond just physical ones.
One of the most important character traits often ignored, but remains a critical part of practicing martial arts, is courage. Courage is a difficult behaviour to master.
Actions accomplished through courage are not “showing off,” but rather those that fuel personal growth or have a genuine, noble purpose. Perhaps your fear is standing up to a bully, starting at a new activity where you don’t know anyone, or moving across the country for a better job. Whatever the challenge, the requirement for courage is apparent in everyday life. The ability to do courageous things may be greatly hindered when one lacks in self-confidence – and Krav Maga is a great way to not only build your courage but also your self-confidence as you go.
Why is courage crucial?
Human beings are all born with something called the “flight or fight” instinct. When faced with danger, our brains and bodies responding by either wanting to take on the situation or flee. And it doesn’t strictly apply to physical threats; we still feel this instinct in any sudden and stressful situation, such as an embarrassing incident at work, or being asked a surprise question in class.
To overcome fear and the natural reaction of stepping down in the face of danger, we can tap into our ‘fight’ response and build confidence in our ability to defend ourselves.
How does training build courage?
In martial arts, gaining courage and confidence starts from the very beginning. The first class, for many, is often exhilarating and exciting while simultaneously being terrifying. You’re walking into a room full of strangers to learn how to do something you may have zero skill in or no knowledge about.
Perhaps it’s your first time coming to class – even that small action takes a bit of courage. It’s completely normal to fear embarrassment in front of strangers. Remember: everyone in the gym probably feels the same way or has felt that way at one point. Martial arts classes are judgment free zones: everyone is there to learn and improve how they can, and to the best of their abilities. The first step may be the hardest, but it’s also a stepping stone to success.
Courage develops over time
While just turning up to class for the first time may have been the biggest leap in building your courage, over time, martial arts will continue to help you strengthen your it, as well as confidence and ability to handle stress and fearful situations.
In every class, you are faced with the idea of taking on an opponent, and learning new skills and techniques. Some of these you may fail at initially. However, even if you fail at first, you try again, you change your methods, you improve, and you eventually succeed. Krav Maga teaches us that perseverance and having the courage to try, even when it’s hard, is not only possible but incredibly rewarding.
Over time, we see that martial arts builds courage in students of all ages and from all backgrounds. This courage can be applied to much more than building self-defence skills. It can be used to take on the problems faced in everyday life, and give you the confidence you need to confront challenging situations.
With martial arts, you learn not to fear the idea of taking chances but to relish in it – and this confidence and courage is something that can change the course of a lifetime.