When I started attending Muay Thai classes, my aim was to increase my fitness. I have previously written about how I never expected to fight, but what I also didn’t anticipate was the boost it gave to my confidence.
I believe that any sort of fighting sport training can help to improve confidence. I don’t think that it comes from learning how to hurt other people; it is about the discipline and pushing yourself past your perceived limits. There will be times during training where you think you can’t continue, but if you keep at it and finish the class you will feel a sense of achievement. You are your own toughest opponent, after all. Over time, this accumulates with the result that you feel like nothing can stop you.
Self defence for women
Right before I started Muay Thai, a woman was brutally attacked and murdered around the corner from where I lived. I remember feeling terrified to leave the house in the following weeks. This wasn’t my main reason for starting a fighting sport, but I think self defence was at the back of my mind.
From what I have read about women who have been attacked, a very common reaction is to freeze up. Some women even report not being able to scream. If you have trained in a fighting sport, it’s not that you will all of a sudden pull out a head kick to defeat your attacker. However, I would like to think that you will at least be able to react with something rather than freeze up. When I first started sparring, I used to freeze up quite a bit, but now I feel confident that if I was ever attacked in real life I would be able to at least do something. This is one of the reasons why I encourage other women to take up Muay Thai or another fighting sport.