Martial arts gave me more confidence!

Growing up, I was the shy kid. You know the type—the one who hid behind their parents’ legs at social gatherings, the one who rarely spoke up in class, and the one who avoided the spotlight at all costs. (Looking back now, I can’t even believe that was me).
It wasn’t until I discovered martial arts that I began to see a transformation in myself that I never thought possible.

Discovering Martial Arts

My journey into martial arts began at 7 years old after watching my little bro train. I began taking Korean Tang Soo Do classes and loved it. Little did I know, it would become a pivotal point in my life. From my very first class, I was hooked. The discipline, the physical challenge, and the friends I was starting to make. It all became very clear that I loved this sport!

Building Confidence Through Practice

Martial arts demanded that I step out of my comfort zone. Whether it was learning new techniques, sparring with partners, or performing katas in front of the class, each step required a level of confidence that I simply didn’t have at the beginning. But with every class, I started to notice small changes.

The physical training strengthened my body, while the mental discipline started to fortify my mind. I began to hold my head a little higher and speak a little louder. The accomplishments on the mat translated into small victories in my everyday life and over the years I developed such a talent for martial arts that it became my ‘safe house’.

Overcoming Fear and Anxiety

Despite the newfound confidence, I remained an introvert at heart. Large crowds didn’t intimidate me as much as small, intimate groups did. Performing or competing in front of thousands of people became easier for me than talking to a small group of ten at a workshop. This might sound unusual, but martial arts taught me to channel my nervous energy into performance, turning potential anxiety into a powerful driving force. I will never forget some of my first tournaments, where I should have placed on the podium, however I didn’t show any form of aggression and didn’t put a single Kiai into my form. My parents sat me down and said for me to step up another level I need to overcome my shyness and add the Kiai’s (Shouts) to my forms… As much as I hated the sound of that, I knew it was true and by the next tournament I was so much stronger and more powerful than ever before.

The Power of Community

The martial arts community played a significant role in my journey. Surrounded by supportive instructors and fellow students, I found a safe space to grow and express myself. This sense of camaraderie was crucial in helping me come out of my shell. I learned that I wasn’t alone in my struggles and that others were there to lift me up when I needed it.

Today, martial arts remains a central part of my life. It continues to shape who I am and how I approach challenges. The confidence I gained through years of training has become an integral part of my identity. It’s funny to think that the shy child who once avoided attention now feels so comfortable on stage and teaching the next generation of martial artists. But that’s the power of martial arts—it transforms you in ways you never imagined.


Martial arts has been more than just a sport or a hobby for me. It has been a journey of self-discovery and empowerment. It taught me to face my fears, build my confidence, and embrace my true self. For anyone struggling with shyness or low self-esteem, I highly recommend giving martial arts a try. It might just be the key to unlocking your full potential.


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