Hi All, I am 45 years old and considering learning a martial art. There are not a ton of options in my area and I am sort of stuck on which direction to take. The primary goal I wish to get out of this is to slow down my mental reaction and increase my awareness in high stress situations. A little background on me. I am deathly afraid of confrontation. Always have been. My reaction to any threat, and any amount of adrenaline is immediate retreat. Even the slightest notion of confrontation triggers my adrenaline. And when faced with a situation where I must (or should) confront someone, I will almost certainly fold. As a result, I've lived my entire life with no confidence and very little self-respect. Someone suggested I take a martial art. Most of what I can find in my area is Taekwondo that caters to children but some also have adult classes. Also nearby is an Okinawan Karate school, an Aikido school, and a boxing gym. If I wish to drive a ways, I could also consider a Kung Fu school, and I think there is also an MMA school. What I *think* I should look for is a school that does sparring or other application work. Everything I've been researching says the best way to learn adrenaline management is to find a school that does sparring or other type of "free fighting". Basically, put myself in a confrontational situation where I don't know what's coming next. For that, I figured boxing or Karate (as the Karate school near me does have sparring classes). But not many other schools do any type of sparring. What I *want* to learn is Aikido. Mainly because there is a school nearby, I think it is an incredibly beautiful art, and I'm a small person without a lot of physical strength. But I don't think they do any type of sparring work. All that said, I have been going to different schools, observing classes, and speaking with the instructors. I was hoping some of you experienced people could also weigh in with your thoughts about what I should look for and/or things I maybe haven't considered. And maybe a martial art isn't going to get me what I'm looking for. Brutal honesty is OK too. Thank you in advance!