Confidence is a valuable attribute. Those who exude confidence believe in their own abilities, skills, judgment, and decisions and are likely to approach challenges in life with a sense of self-assurance and the belief that they can succeed. In addition, confident people often perform better under stress, exhibit greater resilience, and tend to be perceived and treated more positively by others.
In the karate context, a confident fighter will face an opponent on the mat or on the street with a calm demeanor and display assertive body language with a strong belief in themselves that they are well capable of handling the situation. They stand tall, maintain eye contact, and convey a sense of readiness. They are able to adapt to fast-changing situations while remain composed and focused. Confident fighters are willing to take calculated risks and are less likely to be shaken by minor setbacks and can maintain a high level of skill execution throughout a match.
In short, there are a lot of advantages associated with cultivating confidence in karate and in life in general. But how do you build confidence?
With a simple online search, you’ll find numerous articles offering quick tips to boost confidence. For example:
- Practice positive self talk
- Learn positive language
- Use high-power body postures
- Visualize yourself exuding confidence
- Eliminate negative thoughts
- Think positively
- Surround yourself with positive and supportive people
- Dress nicely
- Establish and follow daily routines
- Adhere to your core values and principles
- Set achievable and realistic goals and work towards accomplishing them
- Prepare thoroughly
- Foster a growth mindset
- Focus on what you can control
- Improve your fitness
- Engage in activities you love or excel at
- Be kind to yourself and others
- Practice gratitude.
These tips may work for some people and provide some benefits. However, I believe the most effective way to build confidence is to invest time and effort in cultivating it from the inside out.
In karate, for example, in order to build your confidence in your karate skills and become a confident fighter, you should put your time and effort into building a solid foundation of karate techniques and principles and gaining as much fighting experience as possible.
No amount of positive self talk or high-power body postures can instill as much confidence as the knowledge that your techniques are solid enough that you can actually finish off an opponent with a single blow, achieved through thousands of hours of makiwara practice, or that you can handle anything the opponent or situations throw at you because you’ve got thousands of hours of sparring practice with all kinds of opponents.
If you are a kata competitor who has mastered each individual technique within the kata, practiced the whole kata extensively in various environments, recorded your performances for thorough analysis, compared your performances with those of other professional competitors, and diligently addressed and improved upon identified weaknesses, you will approach the competition day with a strong sense of self-confidence.
If you are a kumite competitor who has dedicated thousands of hours to refining your reflexes, mastering combos, working on the right distancing and timing, building strength and endurance, and has faced a diverse range of opponents – passive, active, distance, close-quarter, tall, short, aggressive, calm fighters – you will possess confidence in your ability to handle whatever challenges your opponents may present when you compete.
Similarly, in your chosen field, if you have an expert level knowledge and ample experience and are well capable of handling any complex questions or problems thrown at you, you will possess that deep and quiet confidence backed by a solid foundation of your knowledge and experience and not the kind of hollow confidence based on superficial gestures, impressive language, or flashy attire.
So, avoid wasting time on gimmicks, shortcuts, and cheap tricks; remember the importance of substance over form. Invest your time in what truly matters—gaining a profound understanding, knowledge, and experience in your chosen field, be it karate or any other areas that you are passionate about.
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