It's well known that martial arts moves can lead to heightened reflexes, better muscle tone, a stronger heart and an improved mood. But recent research has proven that this practice is also linked to high emotional intelligence.
Professors at the University of Findlay surveyed 77 first-degree black belts in martial arts to evaluate their levels of emotional intelligence and determine what precisely contributes to their skills in this traditional practice. The research revealed that, compared to the general population, black belts have a greater ability to identify, assess and control feelings – the group scored higher in 15 different aspects of emotional capacity.
While the study looks into the correlation – not the causation – between martial arts and emotional intelligence, the researchers are convinced that the practice teaches essential social skills and spurs emotional growth and development. Professor of communication Cheri Hampton-Farmer stressed the importance of such skills in everyday life.
"I am fascinated by the fact that many of the EI attributes are ones that individuals can develop," Hampton-Farmer said. "In fact, we help students develop many of them in our communication classes. For example, developing good interpersonal skills requires that an individual reflect on how their actions affect other people, which is one of the attributes."
These findings have encouraged the researchers to advance the efforts to incorporate martial arts moves, philosophies and approaches into peoples' daily lives from an early age, such as in elementary school, as well as in the workplace.