8 Ways Karate Helps Kids Improve Communication Skills


2007 Windingland family karate picture

Participation in karate offers many benefits for children (and adults).  The physical benefits are obvious (endurance, strength, flexibility, coordination and balance), but there are several mental benefits as well, including improved communication skills.

Karate is even seen as a way to help kids with autism improve communication skills (CBS.com Video).

As both a student for the past 8 years and as an instructor at Rogers Professional Karate Studio, I have noticed the following communication benefits from karate:

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Don’t Be an Accidental Liar!

Have you heard that baby carrots are made from deformed full size carrots that have been soaked in chlorine?  That white film you see after they have been stored in the fridge a few days is the chlorine coming to the surface.

Or, maybe you have heard some other disturbing story forwarded by a friend.  Do you ever check the story out?  Most of them are “urban legends.”  The baby carrot story is an example of how easy it is to take truth and mix it with fiction.  Forward that email and you are an “accidental liar.”

Misuse of statistics is another way to be an accidental liar.

“There are three kinds of lies:  lies, damned lies and statistics”

–popularized by Mark Twain

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The Pygmalion Effect–The Importance of Expectations

“Well, at least I received a fairly high rating on “encouragement,” I thought as I glanced at the “Trainer Observation Form” that my supervisor on my new, very part-time job handed me a few days ago.  She had been taking notes discretely on my performance during my 3rd training session with a student (as a cognitive skills trainer).  Although I felt good that I had been encouraging to the student, it was disheartening to see some other areas that fell in the column “needs improvement.”  My supervisor did say that the “needs improvement” areas were pretty normal for a beginning trainer, but it was still slightly de-motivating to receive the somewhat negative feedback. 

Reflecting on my feelings a few days later, I considered the influence of expectations and feedback on performance.  If I have high expectations of someone (or even myself), my feedback tends to accentuate the positives and downplay the negatives, which usually results in a desire to improve performance.  On the other hand, if I have low expectations, my feedback tends to focus more on the negatives and performance typically suffers.  A performance rating doesn’t just sum up the past; it can affect or determine the future.

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Host an Improv Party: Free, Easy & Fun!

How would you like to host a party that gets everyone involved in fun, positive activities while encouraging people to be flexible and creative all while having such a blast that they will be talking about the party for months?  Would you like it even better if it is no- or low-cost and simple to host? 

Have an improv party or as I like to call it “Game-time-for-Grown-Ups!”  Improv is short for improvisational which basically means making it up as you go.  Improvisational theater has been around for a long time, but has more recently gone mainstream in the show, “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” which basically combines improv comedy and a game show.

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Embracing a Shadow–Technology-enabled Communication

An online relationship with Robert never would have worked. He didn’t email, text, Twitter or update a Facebook status. When we met in 1993, people didn’t have those modes of communication available anyway. Well, a few people had email, but I didn’t use email until 1997!

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Get Big Results with Small Talk–Get NOSE-y

A couple of weeks ago, I was at a networking event and observed two well-dressed business men talking. Even though I was across the room and couldn’t hear what they were saying, I could tell the conversation was going badly. An older man with a neat, salt-and-pepper goatee was talking and shaking his head from side to side while jabbing into the air with his index finger. He reminded me of the Uncle Sam “I Want You” poster. His gestures were aimed at a 40-something George Clooney look-a-like. This younger man appeared to be merely enduring the conversation and had his arms crossed and his body turned slightly away. He looked to be controlling his expressions with his “game face” on, save for a brief rolling of the eyes. I didn’t have to hear what they were saying to determine that they were not going to come to an agreement anytime soon. Their body language spoke volumes.

Numerous studies show that the non-verbal aspects of communication convey 50 percent or more of your message. It’s not what you say sometimes, but how you say it! How you use body language (posture, position, movement, gestures, eye contact, facial expressions, etc.) will either harm or help your relationships. Using the Small Talk, Big Results NOSE-y method will enable you to connect with people more quickly and to be remembered as a great conversationalist!

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