If uncontrolled, it may prevent you from doing something good or important. It may slow your progress and delay your success. It may also hurt you mentally and physically. We all have fears we want to reduce and control.
Learning martial arts is one of the proven ways of reducing and controlling fear. Martial arts is both a mental and physical discipline. By learning to direct your thoughts and actions, combining it with an ability to sort which actions and sequences are possible, not only can you reduce your fear, you can possibly eliminate your fear altogether.
Here are some of the basic fears learning martial arts help you reduce or eliminate:
Fear of bigger opponents. From childhood we all learn that bigger people are stronger and can hurt or harm us. Consequently, we often underestimate our own capacities. Unless something happens to our thinking and experience, this belief will naturally persist in us.
When you study martial arts, you learn that bigger opponents do not always have the advantage if your techniques are effective. There are many vital points which can make any person vulnerable. It is impossible for any person to protect all vital points at the same time. A bigger person will move slower in protecting such vital points. And your opponent may not know which vital point is your target.
Fear of stronger opponents. We all have a tendency to overestimate the strength of the opponent. Most girls think they are weaker than guys. Skinny people tend to think stouter people are stronger. Lean persons tend to think muscular persons are stronger. These are all assumptions which may or may not be true at any given time.
With martial arts, you learn to use leverage. We know from basic science that a small piece of wood can be used to move a large rock. It's all a matter of leverage. You learn how to use principles of balance and inertia so you can use your opponents force to your advantage. You can use your opponents powerful push to easily pull him to the ground.
Fear of the unknown. This is the most basic fear of all. We all grew up learning from our mistakes, which is a good thing, but we also had a little pain from every experience. Sometimes the pain for a little mistake was big, especially when someone was trying to win at our expense. Ninety percent of human fears never happen, and yet we go on as if something bad will definitely happen.
Part of martial arts training is intentionally exploring as many possible dangers as possible, and to accept such dangers by learning how to face them. By rehearsing possible dangers before they could happen, and knowing a range of possible actions, fear is reduced if not eliminated.
Martial arts never guarantees that you win every time but it certainly will reduce your fear. Learning to focus on what you can possibly do, rather than what you cannot do, is at the heart of learning martial arts.
Learning martial arts does not teach that you need not trust in God's ability to protect you. Just as you learn your opponents limitations, you also learn to understand your limits. There are things that you can change, and some things you cannot change. Knowing the difference between these two is part of martial arts discipline. You are responsible to act where you should, to act when you could, and to trust God where you don't make the difference. This is the secret of contented and fearless living.
Brown Belt, Shizen-na Karate under Richard Morris