Fear And The Martial Arts


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Fear and the martial arts? Sounds like a contradiction in terms, doesn’t it? Yet, fear plays a part, possibly a large part, in training for and using the martial arts.

For some people, fear is the motivating factor in starting martial arts training in the first place. Fear of being attacked in this increasingly violent society in which we live. These people believe fear and the martial arts go hand-in-hand. They’re afraid, they get trained, they’re no longer afraid. Their fear of vulnerability turned into their ability to feel confident about handling whatever happens in their lives.

For some, the relationship between fear and the martial arts goes in a different direction. These are the people who begin training, learn some good techniques, then freeze up when they get into sparring matches to test their training. They begin fearing they’ll accidentally injure someone with their fighting ability. Thus, they keep themselves from progressing very far in the sport because they never really test themselves and their abilities.

Others run up against this seemingly contradictory issue of fear and the martial arts when they learn what it takes to train and learn the skills in this sport. In this case, there may be two ways this fear goes: Either fear of failure or fear of success.

Those who fear failure most of us can identify with. The amount of training, of self-denial, of self-discipline required to really learn a martial art can be significant. Many don’t think they can do it. There’s too much time involved, too much they have to give up, too much of the “I gotta do this again?” kind of requirement. They fear they can’t do it.

But those who fear success are different. It’s harder to identify with them. After all, who doesn’t want to be successful at something they start? There are those who fear getting good at something. Their thinking may be, “If others see how good I am, they’ll expect more of me.” Or they may believe others will not like them if they’re successful. Thus, the fear takes root.

Where does fear come from? Most of the time, fear comes from our thinking. Certainly, there are times and situations when there actually is a threat to us or someone we love. Fear is a normal response there. But for the majority of us, fear is what we think. Those long-remembered bad experiences when someone told us we couldn’t do it, we tried it, and sure enough we couldn’t do it. Whatever ‘it’ was. When this happens to us at times we’re vulnerable due to age or other factors, it sticks with us. Those kinds of memories don’t always go away.

The best way to deal with fear? Face it, charge through it. Do it quickly. Otherwise, you may begin overthinking it and ultimately talk yourself out of doing whatever it is.

Shifu Raymond Ahles at Blue Dragon School of Martial Arts is ready and able to help you in practicing the basics of kung fu and in learning the skills that will help you in facing and conquering your fear. Contact him at 201-385-3130 today and get started or started again!


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