Raise Your EQ with Tae Kwon-Do


COVID really screwed things up. 

Public health, business, school, government… you name it, and COVID had a negative impact. 

But the thing that COVID seems to have screwed up the most is social skills. Schools were already pretty bad at teaching those skills before the pandemic. Kids are used to being discouraged from talking; in the lunchroom, in the classroom. But they have really failed kids after the pandemic by furthermore not teaching them how to cope with what happened, and how to reconnect after being separated from each other for almost two years. 

Unfortunately for most kids, school is the primary place where they can learn those social skills. For some, it’s the only place they learn them. Fortunately, the kids at our school don’t have that problem. 

Through the natural course of training at our dojang, they learn important skills to help them cope with life outside of it. In Tae Kwon-Do students develop relationships – especially as they start to rank up – sometimes only by holding mitts and shields for one another. When we do that, it’s up to us to be a sort of mirror for the person we’re training with, and respond to each kick or punch with feedback; good, bad, or otherwise. 

Even that seemingly transactional communication can actually help to build a very strong friendship. In fact, we very often see students gravitating toward the same partners over time. That’s why when we notice that it’s always the same pairs or students training together, we will step in and tell them to switch it up. But, you can’t fight human nature.

When you have the ability to get into a sparring ring, punch and kick your partner, be punched and kicked by them in return, and still shake hands or even hug afterward, that demonstrates a high level of emotional intelligence and empathy. Outside of the dojang, that emotional intelligence, or EQ, is invaluable. 

In Tae Kwon-Do, we develop students’ emotional intelligence through character-building. When students can see themselves improving their skills and becoming better people, it does wonders for their EQ. So in class, when someone hits you a little harder than you like, you’re able to control your emotions, to empathize with them and, ultimately, understand what happened. 

These are highly-transferable skills outside the dojang as well. So, when a non-student is mean to one of our students, the student is far more prone to diffuse the situation peacefully, and less prone to lash out and make a bad situation exponentially worse.

Our students understand that words only have power when you give them power. As Tae Kwon-Do practitioners, we are able to see the person being mean for what they really are, and for the threat they really impose, which is almost none. We know they’re not really a threat. 

It prepares a young person to face challenges of all kinds, from being picked last in dodgeball, to being excluded from a clique, and everything in between. My son Charlie goes through this, even at his age. Recently, he came home from school upset that so-and-so didn’t talk to him in class that day. 

Most parents would want to march into that school the next day, grab those kids by the collar and scream “talk to my son!” at them. But, you can’t (and should never) do that, so I simply responded, “So? If you want to talk to them, go over and talk to them.” It was that simple. And he got it right away. 

These days, the stakes are higher for kids. Most have never been taught how to handle themselves, physically or emotionally. Too many times you hear about verbal disputes over trivial things ending in someone being shot to death.

This inevitably creates or intensifies anxiety, which is all people seem to talk about these days. It’s everywhere, in every aspect of human life. It’s the reason that public speaking is still the number one fear amongst Americans. It’s the reason people don’t ask out their crush. 

But at the dojang, social anxiety seems to vanish. This is because we encourage changing partners, we encourage new people to come up and lead the count for us, we encourage men and women to train with each other. All of this gets people out of their comfort zone, and that’s never a bad thing.

But that’s just the thing. It is everywhere. It is a part of every aspect of human life. In other words, it’s a natural thing. You can’t defeat or eliminate it. It will always exist. 

The key is not trying to eradicate anxiety. The key is learning to accept it when it happens, and learn skills to cope with it. 

In short, life is hard. Adversity is a given. You need to be able to handle it. And with Tae Kwon-Do, you’ll learn how. 

Master Gorino’s Tae Kwon-Do offers a trial program for individuals and families in Buffalo, NY and the surrounding areas that allows you to get a feel for the different classes, meet our instructors, and experience our dojang. It’s a great way to see if Tae Kwon-Do is right for you. To learn more or to sign up, visit the Contact Us page or call (716) 836-KICK (5425) and a member of our team will follow up with you on next steps. We look forward to helping you achieve your goals. Pil-Sung!


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