As a career martial artist, I’ve had plenty of moments where I felt fear. I’ve been afraid to face certain opponents. I’ve been afraid I’d injure myself or not land the kick I was about to try, and that those watching may laugh at me. I’ve felt afraid before speaking in front of a class or a group of people. Though I’ve been afraid more times than I can count, I’ve also overcome more fear than I ever thought possible….mostly through my martial arts training and teaching! So, take it from me, there may be some valuable life skills one can take off the mat and into the world!
Now, how often has fear kept you from doing something you may enjoy? If you’re anything like me, then that may be more often than you’d like to admit! Though there are many things we can fear, that fear can easily be traced back to one of a few different types, fear of failure, fear of rejection, and even fear of injury or death. We are either afraid that something may go wrong and we won’t succeed, or we fear what people may think of us, or we fear bodily harm that may make daily tasks difficult or impossible. Whichever category we end up falling into, that fear can often deter us from taking the very action that shows us there were less reasons to be afraid in the first place!
Let’s take sparring for example. For most people, the first thing that pops into their minds is getting hit and, while that is definitely a possibility, there’s far more to sparring than meets the eye! Benefits of sparring include increased stamina, reaction time, strategy, understanding of distance and timing, and more! Because I’ve been able to view sparring as a learning opportunity, I’ve overcome some of my own fears of facing various opponents.
Let’s take this idea, as my teacher Tom Callos would say, ‘out of the dojo and into the world.’ Imagine facing a new challenge at work or school. Much like facing an opponent in sparring, there are lessons to be learned from each challenge we face and certain skills we may develop along the way. If we can learn to let go of the physical, mental, or emotional fears, we may come out the other side having grown in some meaningful way or, at the very least, slightly more confident that we can face the next challenge!
Remember, If it doesn’t challenge us, it doesn’t change us! New challenges may even increase our stamina in unexpected ways. We may learn to react more efficiently to situations and thus be better prepared the next time an obstacle or challenge arises. We may be able to take those strategies and use them in a way that certain challenges no longer intimidate us. Those very same mindsets used to learn from sparring can help us be life-long problem solvers.
There will always be obstacles between us and our goals, but let’s not let a little fear keep us from overcoming them and realizing our potential!
See you on the mat!
Located in Gresham, Oregon, Dynamic Martial Arts is a family based martial arts studio that is dedicated to inspiring students to recognize their potential, educate students to tap into their inner strength, and empower students to be leaders who inspire others. Taekwondo, Muay Thai Kickboxing, Karate, Escrima, and more are combined to help kids, teens, and adults improve strength, flexibility, and stamina and learn self-defense in a safe and enjoyable classroom.