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Personal Best Karate

One of the Most Valuable Skills Every Child Should Know

Posted: May 17, 2019

By Master Christopher Rappold

Have you ever been in a place where you are in a room full of people and you don’t know anyone? Remember how that feels? What’s the quickest way to go from a feeling awkward to empowered? The quickest way I have found is to introduce yourself to someone.

I remember being in a local gym working out. A few minutes after I started, a big, strong bodybuilder- type man came in and was lifting heavy weights near me. He had a very stern look on his face as if he was coming from or about to get into a fight. Though he was not offensive at all to me, his presence created a vibe in the area that caused other people to conveniently move to other workout stations. I waited a couple of minutes until the timing was right and we were both between sets and resting at the same time. I went over complimented him on what he was doing and introduced myself. I watched his face magically transform from an intimidator to a gentle giant. His exterior was really just a mask to hide his inability to relate to the people around him. Once I made the connection he never went back to the same stern look for the rest of the workout.

have never forgotten the lesson that day at the gym taught me about the power of extending a hand of friendship. If you have the secret weapon of a comfortable and inviting introduction you can turn in a ton of awkward moments immediately in your favor. Imagine, too, children going through the same thing when attending a new school, starting a new activity or being in an unfamiliar social setting. Like many things, learning this skill provides the double benefit to both you and them.

There are three simple steps to ensure your child’s success.

1. Eye Contact – make sure to look at the person in the eyes when introducing yourself. Sounds like common sense but sometimes habits not attended to can become lazy and lacking the detail for optimum effectiveness.

2. Firm Handshake – while some exert their python grip, others dangle their hand out like it is a dead fish. Somewhere in the middle seems to be optimum. A firm shake emits a confidence that is perfect for most situations.

3. Loud Voice – Depending on the size of the room and the amount of people you have to project your voice so the person can hear you with ease. Like the handshake, the middle between yelling and mumbling is optimum.

Repetition is the key to building the confidence habit muscle. The more you do it the better you get at it. Remember, the person who introduces himself first is usually the person who is in the position of power. Take time to practice with your children and also observe them in social situations as they warm up to people. The better you can develop this skill within them the more confident you will be in knowing they are OK no matter where they are.


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I promise you that our team of highly-skilled martial arts teachers and mentors will make you and your family feel right at home.