Life Applications of Martial Arts # 1

I’m in my second year of college and my last year at the community college I’m at now. What that means is that this semester I had no choice but to quit putting off taking a Speech class.

Just the thought of giving a speech in front of a group has always made my heart start pounding and my pulse start racing. At times it has even made me sick to my stomach. It’s no wonder that the #1 fear that people report of having is that of Public Speaking.

I guess that’s one of my top fears also.

Or was.

Now I’ve taken a Speech class before, but it was not at the college level and I basically read my speeches out loud from a fully written paper.

The challenge that I faced this semester was to not only give two speeches (1 informative and 1 persuasive), but to give them as “extemporaneous” speeches. No reading off a piece of paper anymore. I could have sparse notes – say on notecards, but that would be merely to jog my memory.

When my teacher first announced this, all I could think of was “Oh no.”

We were told to choose a topic that we knew a lot about, or were passionate about. That decision was an easy one. I decided to give my speech on “The Benefits of Martial Arts.”

I had several weeks to prepare, but as I did, my anxiety continued to stay with me.

The day of the speech finally got here, and as I went up to the front to give it, my heart was still pounding so loudly in my ears. But as I gave the speech, and especially after I sat back down at my desk, I realized something.

I actually enjoyed giving my speech.

Just a few years ago, I could have never said that. The conclusion that I came to as to why I can say this now is first and foremost my training in Tae Kwon Do. Being put in the position of teacher and the guidance I have received has helped me improve my speaking qualities.

I can tell what has improved by the dozens of times my instructors have told me:

“Speak up!”
“Speak from the diaphram, not the throat.”
“Project.”
“Speak with confidence.”

I rarely hear these things now. And it shows.

On my critique, “Projection,” “Rate,” and “Volume” were marked as the best aspects of my speech.
Whoever says that the only benefits of martial arts is learning how to fight and defend yourself clearly hasn’t experienced the best their art has to offer.

By the way, I made a 100 on my speech.

3 comments:

SueC said...

Well done! It's such a great feeling when you overcome a fear and realise you can do something you didn't think you could.

I suspect the secret to public speaking is good preparation and a passion for the subject you are talking about. Success, as in martial arts, is all about practising the 'basics'. In public speaking this would involve practising speaking in an animated, interesting way with varied intonation, a good volume and a pace people can follow comfortably. It wouldn't matter how interesting the speech was, if it was delivered in a quiet, rushed monotonal way it would be boring. Clearly you've cracked the basics!

Felicia said...

Congratulations! I've just given the 'puter screen a high-five in your honor :-)

Chalk another one up for "the benes of MA training." You should be very happy with your speech...

I was going to suggest connecting with Black Belt Mama who teaches speech to college students in her neck of the woods, but she probably wouldn't be able you too much more than you already know, seeming you got a bit 100 and all :-) (honestly, you'd think it was my grade, LOL)...

Hoping you'll share this with your instructors. I'm sure they'll enjoy it, as well!

Ariel said...

Sue -- Yes, I agree! I think the preparation and the passion were some of the most important factors in my speech. Knowing the basics are definitely the key. Thanks!

Felicia -- Thank you! I was honestly surprised with my 100. Wasn't expecting it at all, but I'm thrilled to have gotten it. Oh, and as for my instructors...this is funny. I told two of them who were at class about it and they asked me to give my speech to them. Since that night, I've been asked to give it twice more when more instructors showed up. I was actually more nervous giving them my speech, but they loved it -- and that meant more to me than my A in class.