Confidence in the Martial Arts
Not many people naturally have a lot of confidence, especially in today’s society with the emphasis on looks and ability it’s very easy to feel below average if you do not get attention in the right places.
The long term plan of practising a martial art is too not only become physically strong but mentally strong with inner confidence. Strengthening your body and your mind is your martial arts journey which has no end.
Training naturally produces confidence, especially if you have a good Instructor. Instructors need to praise in the right places and encourage students to bring the best out of them.
Building confidence is not an overnight process. It can take many years to build someone’s confidence, and Instructors and black belts need to remember that it takes a huge amount of time and effort to build it and a short amount of time to destroy it. One comment or wrong word from an Instructor, even in good humour, can be detrimental, always think before you speak to a student.
Confidence actually is very simple to achieve – show a student how to do something that right now they cannot, and have them do it until they can, which generates belief in the ability to do so. That doesn’t mean that it’s easy, it requires effort by the instructor and student both as well as good correction and feedback. Drilling techniques into lower grades especially is the key to them being confident with their own ability. One mistake that is easy to make as an Instructor is fake praise. Praising everything a student does. This actually can have a negative effort as it builds a false confidence. Correct bad technique and praise the good. True confidence – the deep, quiet surety that the student can accomplish something only comes from actual accomplishment, not from praise. If the instructor teaches, encourages, corrects, and gives appropriate praise at the correct times, the student will grow and flourish, and by consequence, so will their confidence. CONFIDENCE IN GRADINGS AND COMPETITIONS
It’s always difficult for lower grades to not get overcome with nerves in these situations. From an instructor point of view you need to really work with your lower grades to get them mentally prepared for these occasions. Firstly drill, drill, drill, everything technically into their training. Do not feel under pressure to teach students lots of techniques. Performing simple techniques well is better than knowing lots of poorly executed techniques.
It also helps to put the student in a grading situation as often as possible. Work up to this slowly. Once they are confident with their poomsae, have them do it in pairs and then after a few weeks by themselves and every now and again keep letting them perform in front of the rest of the class. The more they are put in that situation the more used to it they will become. It’s simply practice. Fear of the unknown is the biggest fear not the actual techniques themselves.
Small steps build confidence, occasionally your confident can be knocked, but remember your martial art indomitable spirit. Never give up and attack your problems head on.
It’s often the student who make mistakes and suffer nerves and struggle with each new technique end up being better Instructors because they’ve spent so much time and effort figuring out how to do something. Those who seem to pick up techniques easily are often hindered as Instructors because not having struggled with nerves or techniques themselves, they have no idea how to help a struggling student. It’s the difficult things, not the easy ones that we learn most from.