Character Chats

Using Courage in Challenges

Using courage to do tough things.

Here at True Balance Karate, we have a social-emotional learning program called True Character. I’m Master H, owner and chief instructor here at the studio. We have created this curriculum to best meet the needs of our youngest students who are three, and our oldest student who is 85.

Showing Courage

This month we have been talking about courage. Today, we’re talking about using our courage when we need to do tough things. Earlier we defined what courage looked like. Last time we talked about how we can calm ourselves down. Today we’re talking about using the courage that we need to do things that are difficult, to do things that are challenging, to do things that we might not like to do, but we know we should and we know we’ll be better when we do them.

I was looking over the question and one of the students here at the studio, his face popped into my head because a couple months ago he had a piano recital. It was very obviously a difficult thing for him to do. And so he had come to the studio, somewhat nervous, worried, that kind of thing, couldn’t quite vocalize what it was that was causing him nervousness. So we put in place a couple of the strategies that we did last time, that we talked about last time being like, “Let’s talk about what you ate for dinner and let’s talk about this and we’ll talk about something else.” I got him talking about other subjects and then circled it back because his parent had given me a little bit of a heads up and he told me what was really making him nervous was the piano recital. He and I talked through, “What questions do you have? What would make you feel better about doing that? What kinds of things can you look forward to when you do those things? How do you think you’re going to feel when the recital is done?”

After getting all those questions and talking it through, at the end of the week was his piano recital, he came back to the studio the next week, very proud of himself, very glad that he got up there and did it. He did a phenomenal job, but it was a matter of giving this particular student tools and strategies and the ability to face that with some courage, with some grace, with some understanding of where they are and what they’re feeling.

What “Tough Situations” Look Like

We all are faced with tough things at different times in our lives, even as adults and grownups, we still are faced with tough things, whether it’s arguing with our children, whether it’s being afraid and dealing with a pretty serious diagnosis. There’s just so many different things that as grownups, as adults, we may not know that it’s causing us fear. We may not know that it’s making us nervous and anxious and things like that. We just know that we are very, very uncomfortable or very, very unsure.

But we also face those tough things. We also face those things where we need to find our courage and we need to reach out to people for help. We need to take those deep breaths and we need to have those conversations so that we can keep moving forward in a positive manner.

We all face all face fears. Some of them are minor. A minor fear might be the idea of is this the right thing for me? Is this the right new car? Is this the right place? A big fear as an adult, am I buying a house in the right space? Buying a house is a gigantic fear for some of us. Buying a house could be a very big fear thing. It’s a lot of financial stress that we take on.

Having a plan and knowing what we’re doing going forward is a huge help in facing that challenge. Having confidence in ourself and determination that we can do it is a huge help in facing that fear and showing that courage.

For my younger students, getting back on that bike, participating in a talent show, giving a presentation at school. Those things cause fear for my younger students. We need to face those tough situations. We need to have those conversations. We need to ask questions to help us feel more comfortable when we’re doing those things. The more we practice our presentation, the more confident we’ll feel.

For my high school students, college applications and what the next four years out of high school is going to look like, is a huge level of fear for some of them. They’re not quite sure what it’s going to look like. They’re not quite sure what they’re walking into, but instilling in them the confidence and determination and the skills and strategies to help them face those uncertain times is vital to helping them be able to show courage.

So, as we are facing tough things, as we’re trying new things, as we’re demonstrating that courage, if we remember to ask questions, if we remember to have conversations, if we remember to breathe and compare things to other things we’ve been through, we’re able to face those tough things with confidence, determination, and positivity.

Thanks, and I’ll see you on the mat!


True Balance Karate was founded in 2012 by Master Sue and Paul Helsdon.

We offer kids karate lessons for pre-school children ages 3-6 and elementary age kids ages 7 and up. These lessons are designed to develop the critical building blocks kids need — specialized for their age group — for school excellence and later success in life.

Our adult martial arts training is a complete adult fitness and conditioning program for adults who want to lose weight, get (and stay) in shape, or learn self-defense in a supportive environment.

Instructors can answer questions or be contacted 24 hours of the day, 7 days a week at 630-663-2000. You can also contact us here