I started my karate training over 21 years ago. And so, I’ve been thinking about what I love most about it. Later, I will share a whole list of things that I love about training. But first there is one thing that really stands out above the rest and that takes a little more explaining. When put into a single word, confidence is number one on my list of favorites. But for me there is so much more to this thing that I love most about karate.
Removing the Fear of being Out in the World
You could say that it’s confidence in the world. Or a removal of the fear of being out in the world. (Yes, even at this time.) I didn’t realize that fear was there, but somewhere along the way, I had picked it up. Probably from my family’s comments as I grew up. Such as, concerns about me driving alone for a long distance. I only recognized that fear after it was gone. It was after I had earned my black belt and after years of training in our traditional life protection art.
One day, I realized that I felt as if a weight had been removed from my shoulders. And I realized that I didn’t have to be afraid anymore. I was practiced in self defense, had been through many different scenarios and learned practical techniques. I knew how to go into the world being aware of my surroundings (making it less likely that I would encounter trouble). And I knew many things that I could do if attacked.
Confidence is Number One Out in the World
Here is another anecdote that illustrates why I love my karate and why confidence is number one on my list of favorite things that I have earned through karate. A friend and I were visiting with my dad. She said that when she passes a male stranger, she frowns and uses body language to show that she is avoiding him and wants nothing to do with him. I think she said this is her rape prevention technique.
On the contrary, I said that personally, my approach with strangers is different. I will make eye contact and smile (and continue standing up straight and going about my business with a strong posture). Granted, if a stranger is grumpy and frowny, I will not always smile. But the point is, I’m not afraid to smile and be friendly. I am not afraid of giving a simple, short smile. All I’m doing is recognizing the presence of a fellow human being on this planet that we share. And then I continue to go about my business in the world.
I have never had my approach cause any problems. But if for some reason it did (or maybe not my actions but just an encounter with a predatory person, did happen) I would know what to do to protect myself and those around me. I have practiced and built self defense habits for years. My life protection “toolbox” has many useful tried and true tools that will withstand the pressure when put to use.
Accessible to Those Willing to Learn
I don’t mean to come across as bragging. If you think I am, remember that you too, and your spouse, and your child, can learn skills for handling oneself. It does take time and ongoing effort. But the secret power of karate is a learned skill that is open to anyone willing to invest in themselves and/or their children.
For me, that confidence is number one on my list of my most favorite things that I love about karate. Now I am able to walk in faith and not fear. And I am happy to pass that ability on to others who are committed to training too. Here are some ways that karate builds confidence.