Contrary to popular belief, karate has less to do with fighting and more to do with the improvement of mind, body, and spirit. Learning a martial art can develop social and interpersonal skills in surprising ways.
There is a longstanding and deeply rooted misconception about the martial arts. Many believe the training is all about violence. However, this is not the case. It is not the goal of responsible martial arts instructors to teach students to fight. Self-defense skills are central to the practice, but their true purpose is more diverse and more important.
Many important lessons can be learned from studying martial arts. Self-improvement of body, mind, and spirit is the true purpose of training. Along with the physical skills, karate students learn to practice the art of self-knowledge. Quality training programs instill in students of all ages the virtues of respect and self-discipline. These are virtues that carry over into all areas of life.
How can martial arts training improve social skills in you or your children? First and foremost is by teaching people to respect each other. No student of the martial arts can progress without an understanding of this essential attribute. It can be humbling for a successful, middle-aged executive to ask for help from a boy or girl younger than her own children. Karate training teaches us that knowledge comes from those who possess it, regardless of age or any other factors. We learn from those who know more than us, and we respect them for their knowledge. Karate students learn to value one another because we are all on similar journeys: we all face challenges and setbacks, and we are all trying to better ourselves.