MA and self-confidence
MAs have been marketed for years using 'self-confidence' as a hook and where I am right now in life, I could do with lots of it. But I wanted to ask if anyone had personally improved their's? If so, was the increase due to the MA globally or just a specific part of the training/competing? Or is it just hyperbole?
FYI: I'm asking as I'm getting the judo urge again and am trying to pluck up the courage to phone (no email or website, aargh!) but quite separately, a conversation with my therapist yesterday highlighted how low my self-confidence has become and how I appear to others as extremely shy and sometimes even slightly hostile as I try to avoid uncomfortable questions (I was astounded as this wasn't the 'me' in my head).
I'm officially seriously depressed but meds are (currently) allowing me to train in the gym, run and do Pilates and yoga as it doesn't require much brain power and its the closest thing to enjoyment I feel right now.
If it has improved your confidence, would this be due to something inherent in your MA or also found in other sports generally?
Training has definitely improved my self confidence.
There is something about regularly fighting other people that makes other stuff seem a bit easier to deal with by comparison. It also forces you to interact with people in close proximity and if you're competing, you generally have to get reasonably friendly with your team-mates.
Its not a magical cure-all, I'm still a fairly stereotypical antisocial geek and, like you I HATE making phonecalls, but it does help.
Martial arts training greatly improved my confidence and self-esteem. I think it's a combination of both the perception\reality of improvement at something, and the endorphins released in the process due to the physical nature of martial arts training. I'm not a doctor, or scientist, or any sort of authority on this, so this is just my opinion.
When you train, you feel like you are improving, and your brain is swimming in happy-juice at the time so your brain reinforces that feeling and makes you a bit addicted to it. Everybody likes to be good at something--it makes you feel better about yourself--and that carries over into the rest of your life. I believe that is why people who train ineffectively for self defense\fighting (and know it) still get the same boost in confidence as people who train effectively. It isn't the confidence of knowing you can stand up for yourself, so much as it is confidence in being good at something. I could certainly be wrong, but that's how I see it.
tl;dr - Training is good for you and your brain is on drugs.
I have seen many people experience an increase in self-confidence through practice of martial arts. Quite a few of our students are people who haven't had much success in more conventional sports. In our martial arts they can focus on getting good at something for themselves without worrying about comparing themselves to anyone else or letting some team down. If they apply themselves consistently, even the most untalented person can see clear improvement over time, and this is a real confidence builder in itself.
You're doing Yoga, Pilates, Running, Gymwork and you're thinking of doing Judo. Personally, I think you're doing too much. If you suffering from Depression and taking, say, Paroxetine, as part of your Recovery, you might consider doing less but doing it well. You should also consider long walks as part of your therapy toward Recovery.
Do things slowly and with focus to build your Concentration as a Mindfulness exercise. The yoga and pilates can help you as part of your Recovery.
Remain in regular contact with your GP (Family Doctor, US-side) to help chart your progress, cos in truth I may be spouting rubbish but hopefully not.
Last edited by Eddie Hardon; 8/09/2013 2:22pm at .
MA is a social endeavor—you get to make friends or at least friendly acquaintances. Friends are good for self-confidence. You also get to practice small talk/shop talk in a focused way, which is good generally for shy people.
MA is often structured as a series of goals. If you can succeed in some goals, you'll become more confident that other goals can also be reached, and obstacles surmounted.
MA is physical—people in MA may lose weight, can muscle tone, improve their balance and energy levels, have improved cardiovascular health, etc. People who are in better shape tend to be more self-confident as people around them treat them better.
MA involves fighting and dealing with the unexpected. When you've practiced confrontations before, you're less worried about the crazy person who starts yelling on the subway platform, or the kid with the evil glint in his eye walking on the same stretch of road you are.
I think Rivington is spot on. You get to be around people with a similar interest and similar goals. A support network that makes you feel part of something.
For example a group of mates from training are getting together to watch a couple of fights tomorrow. It's like, personal validation and stuff.
If you're physically inadequate, you need a gun or can of mace. No amount of martial arts training will save you if you are getting mugged by someone twice your size who has a .357 at your back.
As far as building up general confidence, yes martial arts does that, but that sensation of someone coming after you can be solved by peace of mind. I carry a Cobra 380 because there is someone out there who wants to rob a 6'2" 220lb karateka who looks like a skinhead. Someone.
Either way, if you physically can't defend yourself, martial arts won't matter.
Thanks very much to all of you for taking the time to post your experiences and generally being so nice and supportive. :) I was anxious about what your replies would be.
I'm (ironically) not too anxious about personal safety/ self-defence. I'm female and small but practice situational awareness and just hope that if that fails that all my running pays off... I just happen to like watching judo the rare times its on tv. Any self-defence is a bonus.
The social aspect hadn't crossed my mind. D'oh. Sadly, the staff at my local gym plus a few OAP regulars are my main social contact outside of family. I also do need to work on accomplishing things and allowing myself to feel good about that- I am emotionally pretty flat right now.
Eddie- thank you for your concern and helpful advice. As I can't work right now, I've figured that I have enough spare time to allow adequate recovery (I'd be sleeping during the day even without the exercise). I don't exercise 2 days a week and I'll take extra time off if I'm starting to feel frazzled. I'm currently on Venlafaxine and Lamotrigine (Lamictal) which is starting to help where even Lithium failed.
Alpha- I live in the UK where guns and pepper spray are generally illegal to carry (thankfully).
We're having a local one week programme of taster sessions with a variety of sports clubs in my town at the end of the month which I've signed up for hoping that the Judo club is involved. If not, I'm going to have to phone sooner rather than later as I know that the start of the new school year will bring in other beginners which would make it much easier for me to attend. I might also ask family to dump me at the front door - that's the only way I'm mentally able to make it to the yoga as its not in my local gym.
Thank you. You've confirmed that it would be in my best interest on several levels. I'll do my darnedest to get myself there within the next month since you took the time to help me. I'll report back when I've made it to my first session.
I used to have really bad social anxiety, mixed in with a (un)healthy dose of misanthropy. I think MA has helped me a lot with this especially with the anxiety. Just like doof, most of my friends are from my MA. Also, there is the benefit of taking out you frustrations on a heavy bag.