Social Anxiety & Training

Discussion in 'Standup Technique' started by Magx951, Sep 16, 2013.

  1. Magx951

    Magx951 Banned Banned

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    Hey guys, I'm new to Martial arts, just joined an MMA gym. I really want to learn, but I've got massive social anxiety and sometimes get so anxious that I don't even end up going to training. I feel like as a noob I'm going to be so utterly embarassed that I'll be laughed out of the gym.

    Does anyone have similar experiences or advice? I know it should be simple enough that I should just get over it, but I keep making mountains out of molehills and I don't know what to do about it. Are fighters usually nice to the newbies or will I get destroyed mentally?

    EDIT: Sorry, I meant to explain why I posted this in stand-up. I'm mostly in there for Boxing and Thai boxing
     
  2. goldennboy

    goldennboy Brown Belt

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    I used to have anxiety. I still do at times, but when it's time to work at the gym. That's the only thing I think about.

    Let's say something embarrassing does happen.. So what? If there's a good coach hosting the gym there should also be good discipline.

    You should be fine.
     
  3. Fire of Youth

    Fire of Youth Green Belt

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    No matter how long you have been training or how good you get, you will always feel a lot of anxiety going into a new gym. And you should. Its unfamiliar and there is apparent danger everywhere. This is a normal part to your martial development and probably your first hurdle to overcome

    My advice is to accept the anxiety as an intelligent caution but don't let it control you. Make a commitment to do something really minor that will mean that you haven't give up. For example, force yourself to go through the front door or to watch the class. That is relatively easy and non-confrontational. What you will quickly find is that you will become more comfortable with the environment, thus experience less anxiety, and then you wont be able to stop yourself from joining in. Then you will be a martial artist.
     
  4. Shafty

    Shafty Orange Belt

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    The most important thing you can do is actually show up to training. Once you get there and the class starts you will be fine and will forget about any anxiety.

    Just know nothing embarrassing will happen and you are there to train and learn.

    You will feel a lot better if you show up than if you don't.
     
  5. Magx951

    Magx951 Banned Banned

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    Thank you for all the support and advice guys! I really appreciate it!
     
  6. Devout Pessimist

    Devout Pessimist Tragic Vision

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    I have the same problem. I have been training BJJ for nearly two years and fit in quite well at my gym but I am still terrified to go to class and worry about who I will partner up with even though everybody is really nice.

    I just deal with the fear and go, but I have been thinking about seeking some professional help.
     
  7. MadSquabbles500

    MadSquabbles500 Steel Belt

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    You can always do privates. Like if you do boxing privates, at some point, your coach will have one of his other more experienced fighters spar with you. You can get better this way, without having to deal with people.

    I actually do privates myself but in BJJ. I find I get more utility out of it. All the conditioning is focused on me, all the tech drills is focused on me, and then I get to spar with the black belt and do anything I want. I plan on doing this same with judo/sambo (luckily I found a guy nearby).

    So if you don't feel comfortable going to class, just do privates. They are a bit more expensive, but you get a lot out of it. Part of the reason I do privates is so I don't have to smooze with the other people. I can just focus on myself, and training. When you go to a class there is always a bit of socialization you have to do, and I hate having to do that, when my main goal is not socializing but exercise.
     
  8. MadSquabbles500

    MadSquabbles500 Steel Belt

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    When I used to do classes, I too worried about who I got paired with during sparring.

    There is always that nervousness because you will be competing at the end, and you don't want to lose. That is the whole excitement about sports. Once it is done though, you feel good.
     
  9. nomilkforsanta

    nomilkforsanta Nathan

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    Take it slow and do not overtrain. According to Herbert Benson MD, lactic acid can trigger anxiety so if you start feeling anxious slow down and do some light cardio to flush it out.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herbert_Benson
    The study of anxiety and lactic acid was in his book, the relaxation response.

    Oh, and tell your teacher/coach your situation, they will help you out and break the ice with other students for you.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2013
  10. INeedARemedy

    INeedARemedy GOAT

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    Good info itt.

    Gotta remember that a good gym will be welcoming, and the people there will help you feel at home (as you will soon, once you're experienced and there's new members coming in)

    I just joined a Muay Thai gym, after ~3 years of not training at all. I was all nervous, worrying about how badly my skills had regressed, and figured I'd look like a bitch. In less than 5 minutes of being there, I felt completely at home. Point of this story is that people like us tend to build situations up in our heads, with "what-ifs" as the building blocks. Just breathe, and understand that the people there are human as well, with the same fears and worries.

    You'll be fine.
     
  11. Heikki Mustola

    Heikki Mustola Slightly Psychotic

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    I have social anxiety, a lot of times I have hard time going to supermarket because all the people, I moved to the city where there is less amount of people and I cant even look straight ahead when im walking if someone is walking towards me - I automatically look just on my feet and cant help it

    Its very hard for me to go for a new group or start a new hobby

    But it was surprisingly easy for me to start mma / kickboxing. I remember first times being on a group there, my hands, feet, shoulders, everything was shaking and I was embarrassed by it.

    But it only took around 10-15 times and I dont have that problem anymore. Still have it everytime when I go outside, but dont have it on training. Maybe because those people there have saw me so many times already, I dont know them, they dont know me, but they still aren't unknown people to me - and for me, that helps.

    You should try going there at least couple of times, if you just absolutely cannot train after trying, then dont. But you should at least try, who knows what you might lose if you dont go there.

    I was in a submission wrestling tournament, had my body shaking again.. hate that, its embarrassing. It was quite hard for me to be there, and especially to compete but its worth it and it does wear away with the time.
     
  12. Fire of Youth

    Fire of Youth Green Belt

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    I second the private lesson option. You get way more out of your training and develop much faster but it is more expensive. Once you have a little bit of faith in your ability to defend yourself then going into the larger class format is not so intimidating.
     
  13. goldennboy

    goldennboy Brown Belt

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    Another thing that helps is trying to at least act like you know what you're doing. Especially shadow boxing, I see a lot of new guys avoiding this cause they look dumb or not as good as us experienced guys.

    If the trainer shows you how to jab, jab just like he shows you and look for perfection. One thing I did when I was new was YouTube a whole bunch of shadow boxing videos from professionals like Floyd for example.

    Whatever they teach you, just flow with it and do it right. Everything is fine.
     
  14. MadSquabbles500

    MadSquabbles500 Steel Belt

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    One thing that always bothered me especially when I was younger, is being watched. Like I much preferred the round robin sparring sessions because everyone had to mind their own business. But then when it was time of everyone to sit in a line and wait to be called to the middle for a matchup, I was shitting myself. Yes, I was nervous because all eyes were on me.

    I sometimes think that part of the reason they came up with forms was also to help us cope with that. Forms competition is like dancing, or figure skating, or doing some kind of performance. If you can embarrass yourself doing that, then you should have no problem sparring.
     
  15. hell wall

    hell wall Blue Belt

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    Lifes scary kid,and people at ur same gym feeling the same way as you but they show up too...just go in there and train bro....also check out rosea rhodiola supplement gives energy and kills anxiety
     
  16. apizur**

    apizur** Aggressive Finesse.

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    Dude, you're supposed to suck. That's why you're going to a gym and not a reigning world champ. Anybody who has boxed or kickboxed for more than a year and is worth having the respect of has seen people that sucked worse than you... and probably had cockier attitudes.

    The greatest success stories often begin with people taking on challenges nobody believes they can handle.

    If it's a class: Show up early, and do what everyone else is doing.
     
  17. Fire of Youth

    Fire of Youth Green Belt

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    Cool way of looking at it.
     
  18. I have Asperger's Syndrome so I can relate to you TS. This is the kind of situation where you have to kind of learn to swim by being thrown in. I was terrified before I began training (this was a long time ago) and I was young, but I just went in with the mindset of "I'm here to train myself and to learn skills that I desire to have, if no one ever wants to talk to me that is fine with me". However, you will come to learn, as did I, that the gym is a very interesting dynamic. When you share blood, sweat and tears with people on a daily basis some strange friendship is created, even with people who you would NEVER be friends with outside of the gym. Once that starts happening, it will make it a bit easier.

    I still have anxiety before class sometimes or when I pull up to the gym and i've been doing this for nearly 8 years, I just sit in my car for a second and think that I can better myself by walking in those doors, and by the time warm-up is finished I am in the zone and feeling good. As uncomfortable as it is, you just have to force yourself the first few times and each time gets easier, especially once you realize that most of the people there are just as crappy as you.
     
  19. Phlog

    Phlog Dad Belt

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    My father told me a story from when he was a teenager. He was travelling by plane and had been asked by family to deliver an iron kettle, it meant him carrying it by hand and he thought he'd look a bit of a rural Irish idiot.

    My uncle said: "sure, all they can say is there goes a man with a kettle"

    It's just a kettle dude.
     
  20. bowlie

    bowlie Purple Belt

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    If its a good gym your in safe hands. People will respect you if you train hard, and everyone understands what its like to be a beginner. They were beginners too once. I remember when I first went to a boxing gym. I got my ass handed to me in sparring and the first thing anyone said to be when I got out of the ring was 'That was really brave to spar on your first session. I respect that'. It didnt matter I was crap.

    Occasionally there will be dicks, but if your at a gym with those kind of people you dont want to train there anyway.
     

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