3 Ways That Martial Arts Can Help Improve Social Skills
Blossomed young, and worked on for life- that’s social skills. Although a skill that is carried on throughout life, it oftentimes stems from who one was in their younger years and the environments that they were brought up in. Martial arts presents a domain that can help improve social skills in three core ways: through accepting feedback, respecting others, and allowing people to connect with those of like interests.
1. Accepting Feedback
Having the ability to truly and wholeheartedly accept one’s feedback is not a social skill that comes quickly. It is something that develops over time and typically relates to one’s upbringing and the environments in which they are placed. For example, an employee that never receives any notes from their superior is likely to assume that the work that they are doing is sufficient. Similarly, if a child isn’t behaving but their teacher or parents don’t comment on it, they are likely to not realize what they are doing may be incorrect. In instances like these where feedback is eventually given- the person on the other end tends to not take it well as they are unfamiliar with the benefits of receiving such.
In the world of karate and martial arts, having the humility to accept one’s feedback and having the ability to give feedback is a tribute to having the right social skills. These social skills are developed and worked on over days, months, and even years in the dojo. Once established, it works as a loop of greatness. Being successful also means taking feedback from others in a positive way to help improve, and, the ability to take feedback from others in a positive way is a testament to one’s social skills. When one trait grows, so do others. When one struggles to take feedback in a positive way, anger, arguing, and disagreements can surface.
2. Respecting Others
We all know the phrase, “treat people the way that you would want to be treated”. An old thought, but it still rings truer and truer each day. In the dojo, respect is always a word of the day. One of the finest ways to show respect for others is in the way in which you converse with them.
Respecting one’s thoughts means:
- Having a back and forth conversation.
- Listening to all that they have to say without interrupting.
- Asking questions if there is something you don’t understand or would like clarification on.
- Thanking them for taking the time to share their thoughts with you, especially if they are doing so to benefit you in some way like offering feedback.
By making a conscious effort to follow these four tips when chatting with others, a polite and equal level of conversation can be established. This is a skill that too can be taken with you in conversations outside of the dojo, in the workplace, and more.
3. Connecting With People That Share Similar Interests
One of the greatest benefits of the dojo is that it provides students with a new environment aside from school or work in which they can chat and connect with one another. However, it also allows them to be surrounded by a group of people that all share the same interest as them. That being, the world of martial arts. Having an established basis of conversation about martial arts can help improve social skills that are already existing and segway into other conversations more seamlessly.
Some individuals, whether at school or work, may have difficulty connecting with their peers in those environments. The dojo can oftentimes work as a separate social outlet for these individuals in which they can converse with their equals.
Martial arts can help improve social skills for those of all ages by teaching one how to accept feedback, respect others, and connect with people that share similar interests. You can learn more about our tykes, kids, youth, and adult karate programs here.
Please note this article is based on our own thoughts and has not been formally approved by a healthcare or fitness professional.