Self Defense and Confidence
When you think of someone who was very confident – who do you think of? If I was to ask you to think of a famous personality, past or present who you believed represented confidence, I am willing to bet one name would surely cross your mind, the man who proclaimed himself that he was ‘the greatest’ Muhammad Ali. If you were thinking of someone from more recent times surely two more names would enter your mind, the undefeated Boxing champion who retired last year, Floyd Mayweather Jnr and the 1st two weight world champion in MMA, Conor McGregor. For those of you who prefer the martial arts, I’m sure Bruce Lee was a name which entered your mind. So what is it about fighters and confidence? It’s not only the men either, Ronda Rousey ruled womens MMA and is arguably more famous and more confident than a lot of her male counterparts.
So does having an ability to defend yourself, inspire an increased amount of confidence in the individual? Does it spread into other areas of your life? Will you be more confident to take a stand at work for example and speak up in meetings? Does the discipline required to become a fighter spill over in to how you approach your studies or your working life, or your relationships?
I am of the opinion that self defense is for everyone, young and old, men and women, everyone should have the right to learn how to defend themselves. Indeed it was only a little over 50 years ago that learning to Box was compulsory at school so all children grew up knowing how to defend themselves. Boxing has not been taught in schools since 1962, when a campaign to ban it from PE classes won popular support.In the early 1960’s MP Edith Summerskill tried to get boxing removed from schools sports curriculum but lost several votes in Parliament. However, her campaign won popular support and after many parents wrote to schools asking their children to be excused from classes involving boxing, the sport was gradually removed from schools. It has seen a return to a small number of schools in London, reintroducing the sport as a part of PE but it’s not just Boxing which should be considered, martial arts such as Kung Fu would also be of benefit to young children. We’ve all heard of Bruce Lee, no matter which generation you are from, so why not teach the kids Wing Chun which Bruce Lee himself learnt, or even Jeet Kune Do which Bruce Lee created! That would be a great way to motivate and inspire the children.
I know what you are thinking, Boxing or combat sports attract the wild children, the bullies and bad boys but believe me they will very quickly learn that you won’t get far in Boxing without self control. Self Defense will change a man and it can change the children. You can’t Box without ending up fit, the overweight children will lose weight, the bullies won’t be bullies any more, even girls will develop a sense of empowerment. Sport is a great leveler, very often it is the playground where differences are created, but with sports, especially combat sports, everyone is equal, afterwards you all shake hands and become friends, part of the same community, there is no colour, religion or nationality. You don’t even need them to challenge each other, few workouts are better at getting you fit than Boxing, the pads, the bag, the running will all enhance your levels of fitness.
There is also the big monkey on your back which many don’t like to think about. What if you belong to an ethnic minority? If you happen to be muslim or jewish? Well if you are a muslim then you may know that Anti-Muslim hate monitoring group Tell MAMA reported a 326 per cent increase in incidents in 2015 – and warns Brexit could make it worse, the Muslim Council of Britain group of mosques said it had compiled a dossier of 100 hate crimes over one weekend alone in June 2016. In the article http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/brexit-muslim-racism-hate-crime-islamophobia-eu-referendum-leave-latest-a7106326.html it comments the effect on Muslim women – particularly those wearing any Islamic clothing – was now so grave that many were being prevented from conducting “day to day activities”. A shocking 61 per cent of victims in the cases recorded involved women.
The times of Israel found a 50% increase in violent incidents against jewish people in the UK, and a fall in the number of suspects charged and the BBC reported that the Community Security Trust said 557 incidents targeting Jews were reported to the charity from January to June 2016. It doesn’t stop there, Polish people reported a rise in the number of hate crimes after Brexit.
I am by no means offering violence as a solution to hate crimes, but it is a well known fact that criminals often ‘choose’ their victims, usually from your body language. If you were someone who learned self defense and had full confidence in your abilities to protect yourself and your loved ones, do you think your body language would be more positive or more negative, certainly the former and who do you think a potential criminal who knows nothing about you would pick on? The one with the ‘softer’ body language of course! This is not to say it won’t ever happen to you, but give yourself the best chance to both avoid confrontation with positive and strong body language, and the best chance to defend yourself should the unfortunate occur. Knowing how to protect yourself creates a shield of self-confidence allowing you to discourage an attack before one even starts.
In the article https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200901/marked-mayhem it comments “Street criminals are selective about their victims. Unfortunately, many of us unwittingly give off signals that mark us as easy targets.Criminals, like their victims, come in all varieties, but researchers have found that they don’t choose their victims randomly”. The report goes onto describe how a criminal selects their victim “there was a clear consensus among the criminals about whom they would have picked as victims—and their choices were not based on gender, race, or age. Some petite, physically slight women were not selected as potential victims, while some large men were. The researchers realized the criminals were assessing the ease with which they could overpower the targets based on several nonverbal signals—posture, body language, pace of walking, length of stride, and awareness of environment”.
We are born with a need for security and safety. In his pioneering work “Hierarchy of Needs,” Abraham Maslow, a leader in the field of human motivation, identifies it as a fundamental drive of all human beings. Randy LaHaie the founder of “Protective Strategies,” a training and consulting company providing self-defense and combative fitness solutions to law enforcement, high-risk professionals and private citizens commented “When you are prepared to stand up for yourself, assert your rights, even injure another person to protect yourself or someone you care about, what does that say about your value and importance?” and self confidence is all about self respect 1st.
In my time as a Boxing coach I have taught Boxing to children as young as 8 and adults approaching 60 and it never ceases to amaze me at how much it brings to someones attitude and confidence level, the mindset shift can be quite dramatic so get learning and watch yourself develop a powerful personality and increased confidence, but not only that, watch your self discipline, self respect, goal setting, physical conditioning and much more all improve the quality of your life!
Boxing Coach Strength and Conditioning Coach Boxing Writer for the Ringside Report Boxing Author of: (Available for download on Amazon) The Boxing Cheat Sheet - Your Ultimate Guide to Ring Survival Strength and Conditioning for Boxing - Work out Hits to get you Fighting Fit! Forgotten Legends of the Ring - Ten Past Masters of the Squared Circle