Here at Ambition Taekwondo, we don’t just teach kicks, punches and throws; we create martial artists. We want our students to be physically fit and strong, yes; but even more important is developing their inner strength, focus and confidence. From time to time, we like to share the “mat chat” discussions that Master Ricardo has with our students, in hopes that these topics might strike a chord with someone who isn’t out on the mat training with us.

Recently Master Ricardo spoke to the classes about the relationship between ACCOMPLISHMENT and CONFIDENCE. He started with this example: Imagine a little baby learning how to walk. They’re not born knowing how to walk, and when they first start trying, it’s hard. They fall down a lot. But they keep trying, and soon they’re able to take a couple steps! That builds their confidence. So they try to go a little farther, and a little farther. Each time, they get more confident, because they are making small accomplishments. Before you know it, they’re walking all over the place just like you and me.

It’s the same thing when we come into Taekwondo class. In the beginning, we start by making small accomplishments. Maybe we learn to tie our belt by ourselves. That makes us feel good, so we come into class the next day ready to try something new. If pushups are hard in the beginning, the day that we accomplish one good pushup feels really good, and that gives us confidence. Eventually we’re ready to set really big goals, like breaking a board or testing for a new belt. But all the small accomplishments we’ve made along the way have given us the confidence to try for that big goal.

The problem is, a lot of times people only want to do things that are easy. If they have to struggle, or get tired, or sweaty, or frustrated, then they don’t even want to try. They just walk away and find something easier to do. Why struggle if you don’t have to? But that’s a mistake. Anything worthwhile is going to take effort. If we never put in the work, we’ll never see the benefits. How can we be confident if we’ve never accomplished anything? How can we have the strength to push for those big goals in life, if we’ve skipped over all the smaller struggles along the way?  

Don’t be afraid to try things that are hard. Don’t be afraid to struggle or to sweat. When you eventually achieve your goal, you’ll feel confident. And when the next struggle comes along, whether it’s in Taekwondo class or at school or in a relationship or at work, you’ll be prepared to take it on. You can look back at all the things you’ve already accomplished, and believe in yourself.

In fact, seek out those challenging experiences! Take risks. Find those things in life that force you to work hard, to push yourself. Yes, there’s a chance you might fail at first, maybe even a bunch of times. But there’s also a chance you might succeed. And each time you conquer a goal like that, it elevates you even higher. Putting yourself in a situation that’s stressful or scary -- like, say, a Taekwondo belt test? A tournament? -- shows you that you can get through it. That great feeling of confidence is the reward for the risk you took. Other things in life that once were stressful or scary will start to seem easier, because now you believe in yourself. You have proof that you are strong.

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