By: Sheryl Sowell | Category: Other | Issue: June 2011
Chris Velez, owner and chief instructor of Martial Arts Academy.
Does your child have a lack of self confidence, shying away from new situations, never answering questions in class, or giving up on anything they try? According to Chris Velez, owner and chief instructor of Martial Arts Academy, martial arts training is an excellent way to develop your child’s self confidence. “True self confidence is defined as having belief in oneself and one’s own abilities. Building self confidence is one of the top reasons parents bring their children in for martial arts training,” Chris explains.
Martial arts truly instills the attitude that if you don’t quit, you can’t fail. “My job is to make sure every time a student comes to class, he or she is presented with a challenge,” says Chris. “Fear of failure will hold people back. But when most people try something new, they are not very good at it initially. During martial arts training, students continue attempting a challenge until they accomplish it, and then move on to another challenge. Over the course of time, they begin to view life’s challenges as a process of learning and trying until you reach success.”
The process of building self confidence doesn’t happen overnight, but it often does happen sooner than expected. When a student practices martial arts for a certain amount of time, their new mindset to never give up becomes an automatic way of thinking. “From white belt to black belt, they will face thousands of challenges. Eventually the image of failure goes out of their mind, and they understand the process,” says Chris. “Their mindset becomes, ‘If you never give up, you can’t fail.’ It teaches them to not be afraid, and they realize that when they do their absolute best, they will be successful. This develops true self confidence.”
A few of the effects of increased self confidence in a child include better grades, more patience and kindness, trying new things, and setting more ambitious goals. Chris says there is one imperative reason kids need self confidence – dealing with the enemy of peer pressure. Peer pressure goes hand in hand with a more subtle enemy, negative opinions of others. “Even as adults, people are more likely to hear ‘You can’t’ rather than ‘You can.’ When you have true self confidence, or belief in yourself and your abilities, you get to a point where you don’t care what other people think. Self confidence releases you from the opinions of others, therefore you’re less susceptible to peer pressure. A person who lacks true confidence will not actualize their true potential.”
Environment is a key factor for building a child’s self confidence. According to Chris, Martial Arts Academy is a supportive environment for children to grow and learn. “Many students who are afraid to answer questions in class at school will do so here. They are encouraged to challenge themselves in new ways and become more assertive.”
Chris has seen many positive transformations in his students over the years. “After practicing martial arts, children are often more willing to try things they wouldn’t have before, such as trying out for a sports team or taking accelerated academic classes. Martial arts helps release them from the influence and opinions of other people, and this causes them to be unafraid to try new things and to make better decisions. When you gain confidence, you assert yourself differently than you normally would.”
The formula for building self confidence is the same whether you’re 4 or 40, but Chris explains that 10 years and younger is a critical age. “When children are younger, they are very receptive to the influences their parents provide. This is a key window of time in which to instill these survival skills,” he says.
For more information about martial arts programs and building self confidence, contact Martial Arts Academy at (918) 376-9080 or visit www.owassomartialarts.com.
Sheryl Sowell was born and raised in Tulsa, OK. She graduated from Will Rogers High School and received her Bachelor of Arts in English from Northeastern State University in 2007. She has worked for Value News as editor, writer and advertising copywriter since 2008. She enjoys meeting and interviewing people for Value News articles, learning about their backgrounds, and helping to promote their businesses and local events. In her free time, she enjoys reading, trying new recipes and crafts from Pinterest, attending concerts and sporting events, and spending time with family and friends. Sheryl lives in Tulsa with her fiancé Paul, their daughter Scarlett, and their two dogs, Gunner and Boo.