Many cite the boost in self-confidence as a reason to study martial arts. Ads for schools almost always mention this.
And it’s true that training is one of life’s most self-affirming activities. When you begin training, not only are you saying “my body is important enough to protect,” but you’re taking the time to build your character and confidence in the process. You’re becoming a better person more worthy of protection but less in need of it. This is when you learn, instead, to protect others.
Another thought. The entire process of martial arts is self defeating. When martial arts has completely evolved, there will be no more need of it. How often do you see or hear of a dedicated martial artist picking a fight or committing a violent crime? As you learn to protect your body, you learn to master your mind and your emotions. As you learn self-mastery, you seek to help others become better people–not to hurt them. As more people pursue the way of martial arts, and learn to improve in body, mind, and spirit, they are less likely to cause harm. As the risk of harm decreases, the need for martial arts decreases.
It’s like a backwards arms race. The more people know about martial arts, the fewer will need to use it. As much as I love training, I pray for a time when we don’t need to anymore.