I always shake during confrontations. How do I stop this? (self.asktrp)

submitted by jointfavor

This isn’t strictly TRP related, but it’s a request for advice from the perspective of an RP audience, who presumably do not have this kind of reaction. I’m not sure where else may be more appropriate to ask this kind of question. Please let me know if you have any suggestions.

So basically, during any confrontation ranging from slightly to moderately aggressive, my legs start shaking up real bad. One example is when two guys looking for a fight came up to me and my friend who were minding our own business. We may have been able to take them (no fight actually materialized), but regardless, my legs started shaking like I had Parkinson’s and they started laughing at me. Pretty embarrassing. I would have been like jelly if I actually did have to fight.

Another ridiculous scenario is when I was sat behind a car blocking the road. Everyone was raging because of this guy holding up the traffic. When he finally moved off and we got going, one guy overtook and pulled up next to me going ape shit, shouting at me about how I was blocking everyone off. I shouted back that it wasn’t me, there was a guy in front of me. He continued shouting and we drove off our separate ways. In this instance I was safe inside my car, the guy was some mid 50s man who posed no obvious physical threat (although you never know), and I was completely in the right — yet my legs started shaking uncontrollably and I had to pull up on the side of the road.

This is a really annoying and debilitating reaction to confrontations and can one day get me into trouble, for example if I actually need to defend myself. How do I get over this?

Disclaimer: I’ve been lifting for 4 or 5 years. I’m built but have a small stature, so when I wear layers, it’s not always obvious.

[–]White_pony413 50 points51 points  (6 children)

Start boxing at your local gym

[–]youcantdenythat 19 points20 points  (1 child)

Boxing, mma, any martial arts would be good

[–]y_nnis 13 points14 points  (1 child)

+1 on that. When you already get punches, kicks, and grabs on a training floor your entire perception of a fight changes. You also learn when to fight or flee.

[–]midnightreider 11 points12 points  (0 children)

Agreed. Your mindset goes from “Fuck I could really get hurt here” to “Alright I’m going to handle this” just from learning fight technique.

[–]resnine 9 points10 points  (0 children)

It's the same fear that people get when they are virgins, they worry and overthink situations because they've never been in them. Same thing starts happening, fight or flight, nervousness sets in. But if you keep exposing yourself to it, sex or fights, the thing you once were feared goes away because you've made yourself comfortable in those situations.

[–]oscarasimov 3 points4 points  (0 children)

100%. Op listen to this advice. I was in a similar position to you. Then I started doing jiu jitsu, and now 3x a week, I have big ass dudes literally trying to choke me out or break my arms. Now the idea of a physical confrontation feels, for lack of a better word, normal.

[–][deleted]  (2 children)


[–]dongpal 0 points1 point  (1 child)


whats that? google didnt show an answer

[–]ForYourSorrows 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Cognitive behavioral therapy

[–]fartt123 23 points24 points  (0 children)

Been in a lots of fight, legs shake everytime. Even my fist shake. Half the time i dont even know how the fight went i just know if i won or lost or no one won. You get comfortable as you fight more. Aim to be calm in life and you wil not get in fights in the first place. To get comfortable with confrontations go to very loud places eg bars, conscerts. Do martial arts. Don't get in confrontations to get comfortable with it. You will make more enemies than friends, especially if your goal is to get into confrontations more. Just be calm and you will be comfortable too with your before fight shivers.

[–]bannedfromWTFmod 8 points9 points  (0 children)

Lymbic system taking over/fight or flight reaction is what you're experiencing.

Learn to control your emotions and become aware of everything leading up to it.

[–][deleted] 9 points10 points  (4 children)

I think you need to get into more confrontations or difficult situations to train yourself. Like those athletes who swim in the ice cold lakes. They have to condition their bodies to handle cold by taking the plunge and I think you need to do the same. Be confrontational and be assertive. Its scary i know but you can do this I'm 100% sure of it.

[–]this_weeks_account2 3 points4 points  (2 children)

Practice makes perfect for sure.

Obviously you don’t want to go out looking for confrontations, but when you do have them, make sure you are prepared and confident in your position.

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Yes you have phrased it 100% better then I did. Don't go around challenging people to fights and shit but put yourself in situations where you can deal with this.

[–]this_weeks_account2 0 points1 point  (0 children)

But education is so much of this. Prepare yourself and you’ll be many steps ahead!

[–]resnine 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Everyone can do it, it's fear that holds them back.

[–]huge_gap 4 points5 points  (0 children)

This happened to me when I was younger. Just have to get used to stressful situations.

[–]RPAlternate42 2 points3 points  (2 children)

Fight or flight... I'd bet money your body is geared for the latter.

Before I started BJJ I was like this. I wasn't confident enough in my ability to effectively fight. My legs would do the same thing because I knew it was very effective at running; I was running sub 21 5Ks.

Then I started no gi grappling. After a year that leg shaking stopped and my arms would instead. I did that for 3 years.

Then I started BJJ in the gi

Then I started lifting. A lot.

When I did my first BJJ competition, I discovered something interesting: standing up on the mat, in front of my opponent, my arms did the shakes, imperceptibly. As soon as I put hands on the guy, it all went away and I handled him; no more shake, no more apprehension.

Now, fighting doesn't worry me so much, but I get the arms shakes when I start from standing (until I can get hands on.)

Now that I'm a purple belt, my next mission is muy thai. That should round out my confidence and my abilities.

[–]sumethreuaweiei 0 points1 point  (1 child)

No gi or gi for beginners? Also what about CTE?

[–]RPAlternate42 0 points1 point  (0 children)

First I was no-gi only... then I went to BJJ, which is in the gi. I still train in no-gi, but the gi rounded a lot of things out.

In the 7 years I've been training in grappling arts, I've been kneed in the back of the head once, lightly, and it was a strange accident likely never to be duplicated. I had a light headache the next day, but otherwise fine: not even a concussion-level of impact.

As for Muy Thai: you start on bags and pads only. The more advanced classes do live sparring and they wear the helmets for that. Once you are at that level, they tend to be glancing blows; muy thai is more about debilitating with kicks and finishing with head strikes.

In any case, I'm not worried about CTE.

[–]deville05 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Doing more of it till you get used to it

[–]scl17freak 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I get this when I'm minutes away from something big thats about to happen, arms and legs shake uncontrollably. Only cure is to completely take my mind off the situation

[–]Jay-G 1 point2 points  (0 children)

It's just your fight or flight response taking affect. In my opinion there's not really a way to just stop shaking, but you just have to manage it. A lot of suggestions here are to do a martial arts and I agree with that. I have the same thing, my legs shake when I get into an altercation. This is just adrenaline coming in. If you have a background of martial arts if it escalates to physicality then your training will take over from there. You will feel extremely weak, and possibly even sick to your stomach but just remember its just a high dose of adrenaline. If it gets physical you will have strength in your legs and everything will go away, just don't blow your load too fast. Stay calm and in frame. They are feeling the exact same thing you are they just might not be showing it.

[–]MentORPHEUS 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Spend time (at least a year) learning a martial art, preferably more than one. The confidence it gives you not only stops the shaking, it gives you a body language that heads off bullies before they even start in on you. It's a confidence and nonreactivity that can't easily be faked.

[–]WonderfulPipe 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Hahaha i can relate in someway to you:

when I was younger, I didn't have any problem at physical confrontations with my classmates, but when it was about insulting each other aggressively, my mouth always started to shake, I tried to smile and keep my cool but I could feel my mouth out of control.

As someone said already, I think it is because you haven't been in many fight situations, you get nervous because you don't know if you can really handle it, try boxing or martial arts, I'm going to do it myself too.

[–]Black_m0ngoose 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I had the exact same problem growing up.

It's the adrenaline: your body isn't used to processing a huge dump like that. Your confidence is low.

Take up MMA. After training for several years, I've never had this problem again. Calm as a cucumber.

[–]NewBoomAction 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I don't practice a martial art. I should. But I'd wager you should start so you get use to physical altercations.

[–]rejyjohney 0 points1 point  (0 children)

You need to resolve your fears.. Meditate.. It solves everything :)

[–]PhaedrusHunt 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Something you'll get used to by exposure.

Training BJJ, MMA, boxing etc. helps.

I almost got into it with a bouncer last year. I was super pissed, but felt zero fear. Heart rate went up a bit but no shaking or anything.

The other day I actually put hands on someone and it didn't make my system spike.

It's all attenuation

[–]TehJimmyy 0 points1 point  (0 children)

This happens to me all the day. Approaching talking to people etc

[–]JustSatan 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Adrenaline, bro. Sounds like you're ready to whoop some ass. Just gotta deal with it, really. I don't think that it would be debilitating if you actually initiated a "fight." In fact, it's your body telling you that you're ready to go. Just means that you're sensitive to perceived threats. In any case, I don't suggest fighting. But, since you have a sensitive stress response, I imagine that you'd react well if you actually decided to let that energy go on somebody.

[–]michaelmindset 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Yeah self defense Is cool, but fuck fights they’re never worth it. id rather keep my record clean, and avoid life threatening (often meaningless) situations. Just laugh at guys who try to pick a fight with you, if I’m in a club and a dude picks a fight with me...I start dancing...guy never knows what to do because if he hits me looks like a total cuck...I’m just the dude having fun haha.

[–]wawakaka 0 points1 point  (1 child)


you need to get PUNCHED IN THE FACE (not really just quoting COBRA KAI)

what you need is to get into some fights. not with stranger but like at a boxing club or even a karate dojo. you need to experience it to get comfortable with physical altercation not that you will ever have to do it in real life....WHEN I was a kid we would always having sparring fights sometiems they wen to far...so get some of your buddies and go to a boxing ring and duke it out.


you can also build up your endorphins and that will keep you calm under pressure..YOGA IS GOOD FOR THAT TOO.

[–]TRP VanguardWhisper 0 points1 point  (0 children)

you need to get PUNCHED IN THE FACE (not really just quoting COBRA KAI)

Yes, really.

[–]AnonThrowYaAway 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Get in more confrontations

[–]huntersam13 0 points1 point  (0 children)

my hands shake but it doesnt stop me

[–]cl3537 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Lift, martial arts, meditation, stress management and learn to avoid confrontations.

Mostly just avoid confrontations, your body is telling you to exit a situation you should listen.

Even if you can kick someone's ass cleanly without them getting in a shot(almost noone except Bruce Lee), you are still a loser for allowing yourself to be drawn into a fight.

There is a common misconception here that if you look weak you are more likely to be targeted for a fight. NO, if you look like a douche bag, act like a douche bag, and choose locations that contain a high number of other douche bags is where you can be targeted for a fight.

There is no 'just minding your own business' and I still got into a fight, even at Carnival in Brazil its your fucking fault if someone takes a swing at you. You should never have been anywhere close to that person in the first place.