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10 Reasons Why You Should Date A Martial Artist

10 Reasons Why You Should Date A Martial Artist

Martial arts aren’t all about breaking boards and breaking arms; martial artists have also been known to break their own fair share of hearts. But don’t let that stop you, because men and women who practice martial arts offer a ton of great benefits to potential partners. Want to find out more about why your next lover should be a black belt, or at least halfway there?

1. They have high confidence levels.

People who engage in regular martial arts often carry themselves a little differently. Look at guys like Steven Seagal, Bruce Lee, or pretty much any current UFC champ and you will realize something right away: these guys are oozing with confidence. Whether you are a female or a male, there are few things more attractive than being with a person who is supremely confident that they can take care of themselves and protect those that they care about.

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2. They have small or nonexistent egos.

Arrogance is actually the result of low self-confidence and insecurity. Sure, the wanna-be tough guy walking around flexing at the gym looks “tough,” but he is probably just a scared little boy inside of a balloon suit. When a person is unsure of who they are and lacks self-confidence, they often walk around puffing out their chest, criticizing others, and acting tough in order to project an image of confidence. Someone with confidence is attractive, but someone with an ego twice the size of Texas is just about as annoying as a rock in your shoe. Ego is the false projection of confidence, and it almost always leads to bad things.

3. They are fit.

People involved in the martial arts are almost always physically fit. I know from being a competitor at some of the largest Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competitions in the world that most of the people walking around are sporting six-packs and bulging biceps. Personally, I trained up to 6 hours a day at times, and with that much working out, you are bound to get fit in the process. Martial artists often treat their bodies like a temple and avoid things that will detract from their health. They are always active in some way or another.

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4. They are better lovers.

Not only do martial artists have better stamina from being in great shape, but people in the martial arts are often much more in touch with their bodies, more balanced, more flexible, and more in tune with the bodies and reactions of others. I am going to keep this article PG, so I will let your imagination run wild with that one for moment.

5. They have more discipline.

Martial artists not only discipline their bodies through drilling, hard exercise, and physical conditioning, but they also learn to control their minds as well. Martial artists must develop the power to force themselves to do things that are uncomfortable. They must continue to train even when they are tired, sore, or getting beaten. A true warrior of the martial way has to learn to be in control of themselves at all times, and it helps them to develop tremendous personal discipline. Are you bad with diet, budget, or setting goals? Find a martial artist. They can probably teach you a thing or two.

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6. They are better listeners.

Martial arts require a high degree of concentration and focus in order to excel at practice or competition. The same powers of concentration that allow a warrior to seize an arrow out of the air or dodge a punch will allow your new partner to listen to your problems, offer solutions, and be a shoulder to lean on in tough times.

7. They are happier people.

Have you ever wanted someone who just rolls with the punches, passes through life, and encourages you to smile all the time? A martial artist is a person who often takes things lightly, learns to exist within the flow of life, and finds joy in the small and passing moments that many of us take for granted. Who doesn’t want to date someone who is happy? More confidence, less ego, less anger, and a quiet dedication to the body and the mind: all these things make a martial artist a happier person.

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8. They are gentle and slow to anger.

The martial way is not one of violence and bloodshed, but rather one of patience, virtue, and peace. A true warrior doesn’t go around provoking fights or arguments, but avoids confrontation and fighting when possible. I don’t know about all martial artists, but I know my instructor won’t even kill a spider that walks out onto the mat, and I am the same way. I am not saying that a martial artist is someone to walk on, just that they probably are the last person that will start screaming in your face.

9. They are honest.

The martial way is one of humility, respect, and honesty. Martial artists often dedicate their lives to cultivation of their spirits, bodies, and minds, and along with these pursuits, they must learn to develop strong core values and beliefs. A person with integrity—a clear focus on what they believe and value—is much more likely to be honest than a person who has no purpose in life.

10. They are dedicated, faithful, and loyal.

Martial artists often devote their lives to those closest to them. Along with their strong values comes a strong sense of belonging and responsibility for and towards those they love and care about. A martial artist sees him or herself as a tool to protect honesty, integrity, wisdom, truth, and all things good in the world. If a lifelong practitioner of the martial arts tells you they want to be with you forever, you better believe they mean it. They will probably stick with you through fights, adversity, challenges, temptations, and anything else life can throw your way.

Featured photo credit: Fighter Portrait by Jorge Gonzalez via flickr.com

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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