We often receive comments from parents about their children lacking confidence and that they brought them to our martial arts classes for improvement in this area. We also receive comments from parents of existing students on how their children’s confidence has improved since they attended our classes regularly. Of course, the increases in confidence and self esteem don’t just apply to children. We see it in our adults too.
But how do we improve a student’s confidence through their martial arts training?
A lack of confidence can manifest itself in several ways, through poor communication skills, lack of support and friends, an inability to display feelings, a sense of inadequacy when it comes to physical confrontation. Similarly, poor experiences can shape a students approach to a situation. Ongoing criticism can make a youngster think they are not strong or smart enough, or capable of tackling challenges. This can be stifled by over protection too.
Everybody needs goals, and they need to be realistic and achievable. Our martial arts classes are great for that.
The journey starts with the first free tryout session, where students are shown some simple moves which they can master in minutes. This session is made fun and the assistance of regular beginner students helps cement an ‘I can do this’ belief.
Upon joining the regular classes, students are encouraged to develop at their own pace, through regular practice. An inability to master a technique is not dwelled upon, and our instructors use a variety of learning styles to identify the best one for each students. Students are praised for effort and progress, however small, with regular progress tests in class and monthly awards made to acknowledge efforts in and out of class.
We also hold a prestigious junior annual awards night at Blackburn Rovers to acknowledge achievement at all levels.
We recognise progress through our grading system where students progress by demonstrating a set number of techniques in a formal setting. Students do not have to fight, win or be better than others to progress, just to show a commitment with regular attendances, and put effort into their training and grading. As I always say to students, there will always be others better and worse than you, but as long as you try your hardest that is all anyone can ask of you.
We realise gradings can be stressful, so we hold their first one at our Academy in familiar surroundings.
We also talk about confidence to our younger students who sometimes, due to their age, do not connect our self defence with standing up for themselves at home or at school against bullying.
Our students learn to not just assert themselves, but to also support others by intervening, speaking out when they see or hear something that is wrong, and ensuring that adults are made aware so action can be taken.
Nothing comes instantly, but with our support and teaching, our students develop into fully rounded individuals with a great moral code and understanding of what is right - and a ‘do the right thing attitude.’
Keigu (Kind Regards)