There are a few ways that people find a martial arts school. Some drive by, some search for “martial arts near me” and start researching the schools in the area. But a certain amount of people in Midlothian find Gentle East Martial Arts when they were looking for something completely different. A search as simple as “How can I meet new people?” can lead adults to activities, such as martial arts, that include social aspects while being surrounded by empowering people.
While self-defense training is not necessarily what one might think of when looking to meet new friends, classes usually do involve working with partners, sharing experiences, and even directly working on overcoming social challenges, whether it is the need for greater confidence or simply the fact that perhaps you are new to town and don’t know anyone from the area.
Let’s look at 4 ways that martial arts training can help build a stronger social network.
Confidence to Open Up
The number one fear among American adults is public speaking. Yes, standing in front of a group of people and giving a presentation is worse than snakes, bugs, sharks, and even death! In my corporate career, I can recall several times when my martial arts training helped me manage my fear.
For many, a similar sense of dread creeps in whenever we encounter even one new person. What should I say? What do they like? What if they don’t like me? What if they like me too much?
In a martial arts class, we often work with partners, and when a student is new, they may not know many of the people in the class. It can feel a bit intimidating. However, because these partners are working on a similar cause, it provides a brief shared experience from which friendships can grow.
By partnering with another student to develop self-defense applications, it is also inherent that we put ourselves in a position of temporary vulnerability.
By sharing these moments, we begin to build trust between students, but more, we begin to become comfortable with opening up and being vulnerable. Ironically, this vulnerability begins to build confidence.
Having survived that self-defense partnership, suddenly saying hello to the new person in the office isn’t quite so intimidating anymore. Of course, knowing that you have the skills, knowledge, and mindset to conquer any obstacle is also helpful.
Opportunity to Interact
Whether you recently graduated, moved to the area for a job opportunity, or you simply need to join a healthier circle of friends, finding ways to meet new adults can be tough, no matter how confident you feel.
The modern adult has work responsibilities (often for multiple jobs), has a side hustle to make some extra money, maybe has kids with the myriad associated activities…. they are BUSY!
Walking into a martial arts school gives you instant access to people just like you, who are likely interested in similar things that you are. Their interests may include fitness and weight loss, building confidence, training to fight full-contact, or even for therapeutic rehabilitati0n. But at the core, they are all there to do one thing: get better.
And because most martial arts training is done in a group environment, you are guaranteed to meet several other people from your local area who share at least one or two things in common with you. In additi0n to some potentially life-changing martial arts training, you have also bought access to a great new group of friends.
Leveraging the Tribe
Friendships are important. Not just because we need someone to laugh and cry with, but because life can be tough, and sometimes we need to get a helping hand.
If you are new to town and need someone to help carry those funky carpets out to the curb, you’ll need a friend. If you’re changing your self-image by changing your crowd, you’ll need a friend to remind you why you wanted to change. If you are having a tough day and need advice, you’ll need a friend. If you have a success and need someone to celebrate with, you’ll need a friend.
Many martial arts schools don’t just have a group of people who wander in and out, they have a Tribe. People who stick together and work toward common successes.
This can mean being able to find a cheap plumber in the middle of the night (Bob from class knows his way around the pipes), or it can mean having someone come give your car a jump (Esther who you worked with in class always has jumper cables with her).
When you have a tribe to support you, things become easier. You, too, have something to offer, and you will feel good about helping out Dwight and Angela when they need it.
Slowly, those continued interactions become relationships. And suddenly… POOF! You have people you call your friends.
Take It Offline
As you can see, the martial arts school is a great place to meet new friends. But it doesn’t have to stop there! Once you feel comfortable with your new tribe, it is time to take it offline. You can continue the relationships outside of class, outside of the Facebook groups.
It is not uncommon for martial arts students to form a sort of family. We invite one another to BBQs, go to special life events, and sometimes organize activities just for our tribe. The cool part is that you will soon find that your dozen or so new friends from class each have a dozen or so friends and that those people are now available to you as well.
Need a Friend?
Martial arts training can be powerful. It has saved people from physical attacks, helped people overcome restrictive mindsets, given people the courage to ask for raises or leave bad relationships, and given people a way to get fit and healthy.
But beyond the techniques, beyond the workout, there are the people. There is the tribe that always takes care of its own. There is a supportive and empowering family that always has room for one more member.
If this sounds like something you need in your life, click the button to schedule a visit. You can try a class completely free, and if it is something that resonates with you, we can show you how to join our tribe.