Self Confidence – The Martial Arts Way by MasterPaul
“The loneliest people are the kindest. The saddest people smile the brightest. The most damaged people are the wisest. All because they do not wish to see anyone else suffer the way they do.”
My own story about bullying
I was at school and just six years of age when I received my first punch in the face. It took me by surprise. I could not understand why someone would hit me. I thought everyone liked Paul! One day I told a friend that I knew something that he didn’t and he punched me until I told him. On another day we were playing brandings on a wall and I threw the ball a bit low and I accidentally hit the person below the belt. That person ran at me and kneed and punched me and made my mouth bleed.
I always wanted to play on the “A” team but seemed to always end up on the “B” team. I continually found myself placing a lot of effort into any sport that would give me a better chance at being selected to play with the best, but it never happened. In the end all I did was neglect my studies and receive an average mark in my final exams.
When my friends were being bullied, I was never confident enough to help them even though they felt I should. After an incident one became angry with me and said “Why didn’t you stick up for me?” I said “I didn’t know what to do”. Looking back now I think it was because I lacked the confidence to say stop and I thought that if I said something they would attack me. I lost a few friends along the way because I did not support them.
Bullying continued throughout school and it is hard to pinpoint why. Looking back now it was possibly because I was an easy target to unleash their anger, knowing full well that I would forgive them the next day and, sure enough, I did. I unofficially began learning taekwondo at the age of 15 and bullying stopped when I officially joined my local martial arts centre at the age of 16.
I have always had a passion for learning martial arts and used to watch the local Master Instructor teach taekwondo just down the road from where I lived. I would then come home and practice what I had seen. I found that my confidence began to improve. Then came the day at school when I was involved in a serious confrontation with another student. I used some basic self-defence and, thanks to taekwondo, defused the situation quickly without injury to either person.
When I arrived home and explained to my parents what had happened, they instantly supported me and allowed me to join the taekwondo movement which has now become a major part of my life.
I now head one of the largest martial arts organisations in Australia where we provide an environment where students are inspired to achieve greatness through self-belief and not through punches and kicks.
A final thought
Bullying is an insidious disease in our society because of the impact it has at an early age on a child’s ability to learn and make friendships. The longer term impacts are equally bad.
The answer for me, and for many of my students, has been martial arts. It doesn’t matter which martial art, but I strongly advocate learning one of them to build self-confidence! The key is to help a child generate a fantastic sense of self-belief.
Martial Arts does this in a structured, safe environment. Your child will become fitter, stronger and healthier. They will be able to defend themselves but more importantly, they will have good role models and a capacity to respect and contribute to society in a meaningful way.
What a wonderful gift for life that would be!