Five Powerful Ways to Conquer Fear - Mesa Karate, Mesa Martial Arts, Gilbert Karate, Gilbert Martial Arts for Kids and Adults - Mesa Karate, Mesa Martial Arts, Gilbert Karate, Gilbert Martial Arts for Kids and Adults

Five Powerful Ways to Conquer Fear

Recently, a middle-aged man (and father of two) confessed to me, “Here is something that really surprised me about being in your program.  Until I started, I didn’t realize how much fear I actually had lurking in the back of my mind.  You know, little things.  Stuff like: “What would I do if I were in a bar or restaurant and somebody started pushing me around?  What if somebody threw a punch?” Or: what if I were in a situation and had to defend my family?  Would I know what to do? Really?”

 Fears Confronted Head-On

      He went on: “But I’ve found the more I do martial arts, the more these little fears melt away.  And that improves every aspect of my life.  I feel more in control, more positive and carefree.  For me, living without fear is one of the greatest gifts your program has given me”.

 Brings Them to the Surface

      He’s not alone.  I’ve heard this from a lot of people.  We all face hidden fears. And in many cases, people aren’t even consciously aware of them until martial arts brings them to the surface.   Once these fears are dealt with, you can feel less guarded, open up to the world more and enjoy life like you really should. 

 What Is Fear and How Does Fear Affect You?

      While it can be useful in some very short-term situations, most of the time fear paralyzes you and muddies your thinking.  This is called the fight-or-flight response.  Stress hormones are released, you feel a surge of adrenaline, your body tenses and your vision narrows. While this is okay for a sudden burst of energy to run from a charging rhino, it’s terrible in a self-defense situation. It freezes anything but your gross motor skills, makes your movements rigid and clunky and clouds your mind.  Conquering fear and remaining calm in any situation is one of the hallmarks of Karate for Kids training.  Here are some of the ways we accomplish that:

 1.) Competence Creates Confidence –

   Karate for Kids hones your techniques over time so they are instinctive and reflexive.  This means the more you do them, the more they become part of you.  You know exactly what to do in any given self-defense situation. And you’ll find that simply having a plan in self-defense situations reduces your fear.  You’re no longer paralyzed by thoughts of, “Uh-oh…what am going to do?” Or “Which move should I use.”

   Instead, you use those critical moments to act…not think.  This produces a clear, calm mind and attitude.  But – this can only be achieved once your techniques become second nature.  That’s why I like to say that Karate for Kids training teaches competence (being able to perform your moves correctly and with maximum effectiveness) and that competence breeds confidence.  The more techniques you learn, the more confident you become.  It’s simple: when you know your stuff, you can walk without fear. 

 2.) Tournaments –

      Let’s face it: One of the biggest fears is fear of the unknown. In a martial arts situation, this means confronting an attacker you’ve never faced before.   You have no idea what they’re going to do.

      One of the ways we help counter this is by allowing you to train (or spar) with many different opponents… even higher ranks in some cases.  The more people you’re exposed to in training, the better you’ll be on the street. 

     However, if you train against the same people day after day in our academy, you’ll notice sparring starts to become predicable: your partners will often throw the same moves, react the same way to your techniques, and keep you off balance less and less. How do you overcome this?  How do you mix it up and keep yourself sharp?  One of the best ways is by competing in a tournament. 

    Although it’s a safe, controlled environment, a tournament keeps you sharp because your opponents are less predictable.  When you compete, you really have no idea what to expect from your opponent.  In most cases, you’ve never even seen them before.  This is good.  It’s much closer to a real life self-defense situation than simply sparring.  

     Over time, as you find yourself competing in more and more tournaments, you’ll notice something familiar happening: your tournament opponents will start to become predictable, too.

      This is good.  If you can predict the moves strangers will throw at you, it means you’re now ready for the vast majority of moves you’ll confront on the street.  Even better, you’ll have the same confident, calm attitude you do while sparring.  This is another big way Karate for Kids helps you conquer fear: tournaments.

3.) Pushes Your Limits

      The first moment you step into our academy, you’ve built your confidence and overcome a fear.   How?  Simple: You’re doing something new, taking on a big challenge and adopting a student mindset.  Then, when you start training, you overcome even more fears: feeling uncomfortable, looking silly (you don’t), fears that you’re not good enough, not learning quickly enough, and so on.  Every step of the way, you’re confronting fears and overcoming them – no matter how small.  Babin’s Karate for Kids training really pushes your limits. 

     This means you’re getting out of your “comfort zone” – and this is the only place growth occurs. Starting as a beginner – and simply putting yourself out there to learn martial arts – sets you apart from so many other people who never take on this incredible challenge.

      Think of how many fears you’ve overcome just by getting out there and doing it.  They may not be big fears, but they still affect you.  Little fears add up.  By throwing yourself into martial arts challenges step by step, you blast away at your fears step by step.

 4.) Develops Your Sixth Sense –

      Another important part of living fear-free is knowing which threats are real- and which are not.  In my view, most people are good, law-abiding people who want the same things you do: happiness, security for their family, safety, good relationships with others and mutual respect. 

     But the reality is this: there are some bad apples out there.  And you need to be able to tell who is a bad apple and who is not.  This is a skill honed through our martial arts training. 

     We help you answer questions such as: “What are the threats?  What is a genuine danger and what is not?   Who do I need to watch out for?   How do I tell if a situation is turning a corner and actually becoming dangerous?”

     Much of this comes from simple awareness.  We teach you how to read body language and tell whether or not you’re in a dangerous situation. 

      This helps you know when to relax and when to be alert.  After all, you don’t have to be on guard all the time – that’s simply no way to live.   On the other hand, there are some times when you need to pay special attention to your surroundings.  This is where your “sixth sense” comes in.  Developing your sixth sense is yet another way Karate for Kids training helps you relax and overcome your fears.

5.) Leadership –

      Finally, let’s talk about our leadership program.  This is truly the pinnacle of our martial arts training.  Leadership is simple.  It means you assume an “alpha” role in our academy and start helping and guiding others.

      There are so many ways becoming a leader blasts away at old fears.  Let’s take a simple example: speaking in front of a group.  Did you know that this fear consistently ranks at the top of the list for most people?  It’s true. 

     Well, in our leadership program we condition you to being in front of people front and center.   You’ll teach you how to motivate others and speak in front of groups.  This is a crucial life skill for success in school…and career.  In fact, many people feel this life skill alone makes becoming a leader worthwhile.  You simply can’t make it to the top in any type of career without stellar public speaking skills.  It’s just expected these days.

      Of course, by mentoring and teaching others, your skills also become much more polished.  You’ll “own” your techniques much more quickly than simply being a student.

      And as you start assuming a leadership role, you’ll find your self-confidence rising.  You’ll carry yourself differently.  You’ll hold your head higher.  You’ll have better eye contact.  You’ll move differently. 

      All of these “alpha moves” telegraph an important message to others: “don’t challenge me”.  Because of this, you’ll find people treat you very differently: they’ll treat you with more respect.  As that happens, old fears will naturally melt away. 

      After all, the best way to create lasting change is by working from the “inside out”.  When you work on yourself and take on new challenges, you find yourself blasting away at old fears one-by-one and replacing them with something else: new-found confidence. 

 —Chief Master William J. Babin


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