A research study conducted to set out to investigate, explore and analyse the behaviours of martial arts practitioners to manage and resolve conflicts. Having looked at the martial arts as an overview of where it was to where it stands in today’s society. It has changed a great deal from a necessary form of self defence to a hobby available to almost everyone in the form of health and fitness, competition, self defence and a form of entertainment. Martial arts teaches self control and that fighting should be the last resort. It was also prudent to look at legal procedures and conflict management theoretical frameworks, emotional intelligence and non-verbal communication as points of reference in order to inform and devise a suitable research methodology.
The questionnaire administered revealed from 30 participants that whilst all situations are different, if individuals are able to remain composed, they will always have an impact over the outcome of the situation, stating that emotional states play a significant role in conflict resolution. Action through calmness and empathy can help to resolve a situation whereas reaction through aggression can exacerbate it and lead to dire consequences. Situational awareness was listed as a key factor to keep into consideration as the conditions of the environment are always subject to change.
Frame of being determines behaviour; being calm allows one to be present, to see what is actually happening; empathy breeds harmony, which does not damage, but helps to find a solution with an aggressor by understanding the situation. Harmony refers to the alignment of body (language) and mind; one’s input therefore does not oppose the aggressor’s, but seeks to collaborate. Fear keeps one dwelling on conditional tense of what has yet to occur. Forcing one’s opinions can lead to aggression and overconfidence. Harmony through empathy from calmness is therefore grants an individual a strong position of influence in conflict management and resolution.
Conflict has been prevalent throughout the history of humanity and will continue to exist. Though, in learning new attributes whilst consolidating and practicing old ones in terms of controlling oneself through the martial arts will help for conflicts to be resolved before they escalate into undesired outcomes and to encourage a more peaceful environment. Martial arts teaches self control above all else and fighting as the last option. It is therefore the recommendation that martial arts schools should endeavour to teach the ways of peace before the ways of battle. With martial arts participation on the increase year upon year, if conflict resolution is taught more formally, there will be more trained martial arts practitioners and less conflict.
From the results of this research, a theoretical framework I devised, which can be seen below:
Conflict Resolution Matrix (Zhang, 2019)
Situational awareness takes into account future events that could occur from actions / words being carried out now. If an individual is angry or scared, the experience becomes subjective, where s/he may say or do something rash, which may in turn exacerbate the situation; being calm in comparison allows for objectivity to see the situation for what it is as opposed to what it could appear to be in order to determine the most appropriate course of action. This model also looks at breathing according to the emotional states, which can determine the behavioural attributes. In order to change one's emotional state, where s/he has experienced something subjectively, s/he must first revisit the breathing in order to be able to regard the situation objectively whilst being aware of the circumstances and taking into account possible consequences; in doing so, s/he will be able to respond and behave accordingly. It is therefore always more advisable to respond in empathy than it is to react in aggression.