by Keith Sonnenberg

Have you ever been completely self-confident? If you have never been confident in achieving what you set out to do in life, you certainly might ask yourself why. Is it some personal shortcoming? Is somebody else to blame…my parents, my upbringing, or my work situation? All of life’s experiences can have some affect on a person as a whole. Situations and occurrences can reinforce beliefs. After all, one’s lack of self-confidence is actually the belief that we are no good and that we lack certain abilities or skills. What good does it do, however, to place blame? Can placing blame change today’s situation? It is doubtful that any good can come from placing blame.
Changing a lifetime of confidence issues will probably not be achieved in one month or two. It will probably not happen in 6 months or maybe not even in 16 months, or even several years. It can be done however, with your desire for change.
In the practice of WingTsun kung fu (pronounced ‘wing chun’), we do it through repetition. By repeating a technique over and over again and never giving up, we can change things. The WingTsun techniques become locked into our “muscle memory.” We can become skillful and having developed a difficult skill, we can become self-confident. We have demonstrated to ourselves that we can master techniques.
“I already knew that I could learn things when I went to school,” you say? Perhaps. However, have you ever demonstrated to yourself that you could stay with any physical program longer than a few weeks? More than the learning of the skill, it is the persistence that is being tested. Negative self-talk is the little demon that sits on our shoulder and tells us “it is OK to sit and watch television. It is OK to procrastinate. It is OK to eat that piece of pie. After all, my buddy Joe does all this and he is fit and healthy.” Joe probably has an exercise routine or a hobby that you know nothing about and he is really not getting away with what you think he is.
A good exercise is to keep track of all the times during the day that this type of negative self-talk comes up and write it down. The act of writing it down, even if it is just a check mark or hash mark on a slip of paper will teach you something about yourself. It will demonstrate to you WHY you have never developed self-confidence. It is because your negative self-talk has convinced you that you cannot stick with anything and therefore you have never stuck with a fitness program or a program like martial arts long enough to reap the benefits!
WingTsun kung fu is an ideal martial art in which to develop self-confidence. This method is so effective that confidence in handling situations comes naturally. WingTsun is a genuine, practical skill. Its subtle and not-so-subtle actions on the muscles, bones and joints are actually very profound and the exercise will keep you young. If attacked, you will have the natural responses necessary to save your life.
Part of achieving self-confidence is eliminating the barriers. If you want to become self-confident, you must practice. “Why don’t I practice,” you ask? You must take an honest look at yourself and your surroundings. Am I creating barriers such as excuses and delaying tactics or rationalizations? Find out what they are and remove them. They could be simple things like the layout of your living area. If your home is a mess and your excuse is that you have no place to train, rearrange and clean it up! Is that television program so important? The answer is always NO. Is your excuse that you are tired? You are probably tired because you are out of shape. WingTsun training is energizing, both for the body and mind.
Another barrier is the commitment to your own well being. Some people allow their life to become cluttered with meaningless commitments to things and people that have no payoff, either for those people or you.
The attribute called self-confidence overlaps with others such as fear. If you have no confidence in your ability to get rid of a punch, you will fear that punch. By attaining self-confidence, you can get rid of the fear. You can see from this how important it is to train repetitions to gain self-confidence. We have not even discussed the benefits of repetitive training in other areas of your mind such as physical fitness, body chemistry, patience and peace of mind.

Author's Bio: 

Keith Sonnenberg is a 4th Level Technician instructor of WingTsun kung fu in Mesa, Arizona. He has 40 years of experience in martial arts including Tang Soo Do, wing chun, Escrima and WingTsun. Contact him at and 480-668-9220.