The martial arts can offer lots of benefits beyond physically skills. These are often listed in adverts for martial arts school, building confidence is often touted as one of the main advantages
However, in many of the gyms I have trained at often the confidence that people build stays only in the gym. In the dojang or other training place they are maybe a black belt and get respect from all the people around them. They feel safe and secure, and why shouldn’t’ they? The hard training that they have been through has developed them in many ways. The people they are training beside have seen them pushed to their limit and beyond maybe. It is part of the bond that keeps people together in a class
This is assuming that the Training they are doing is tough and not just a group of people hanging out in uniforms talking about mystical qi energy and living out their violent fantasies under the guise of self defence. Training at its core needs to be realistic and hard, you need to be challenged and challenge yourself every time you step on to the mats.
We also have to take things with us after training. I have seen many a hard trainer that when they step out of the class they are a completely different person, they don’t bring any of what they learn about themselves in the dojang with them to the outside world. They are still too scared to take control of many things in their life jobs, relationships, even controlling themselves. In this case their dobok has become armour and the dojang a fortress in which they sit. Often people will spend all their free time in the dojang just because they feel safer or more powerful there than anywhere else.
In this case we are not taking the lessons from martial arts and pushing them on to really life, we are only hiding in the dojang.
The cure for this is not to quit martial arts, nor is it to bury yourself deeper. Training should be a strengthening experience both inside and out but just like training unless we focus on our weaknesses they will always be with us. We need to consciously approach life the same way we approach our training.
This may involve some tough conversations with yourself and possibly others, but after that there is a feeling of strength and empowerment equal if not greater than that you have experience in the gym.
In my opinion you can only regard yourself as a martial artist if you are applying the lessons you have learn to your own personal life. Facing demons and taking control