Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Applying the Myers-Briggs type indicator to Martial arts training


The Myers-Briggs type indicator or MBTI assessment is a psychometric questionnaire designed to measure Psychological preferences in how people view the world and interact with it to make decisions. The questionnaire and the resulting personality types system was created by Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabell Briggs Myers from a set of theories that Carl Jung first published in his book Psychological types.


Jung developed his theory stating that he felt there were four principle psychological functions by which we experience the world; sensation, intuition, feeling and thinking. One of these four functions is almost always dominant most of the time. Essentially this was made up of four sub dichotomies, meaning you were more one way than another in four main areas; Extravert/Introvert, Sensing/Intuition, Thinking/Feeling and Judging/perception.


Selecting one over the other influenced your personality type and basically makes us who we are. All have strengths and weaknesses associated with a selection and neither is better than the next, they are just how we express who we are and perceive the world around us and our interactions with others.


Seeing the first level of dichotomies as most important he created 16 personality types that were basically how people saw the world. He then gave them names that were descriptors to the personality type, like the champion, visionary, composer ext.


I remember sitting in my intro to psychology class and a paper test was handed out. We took the test and were given feedback on who we were. The professor said he would not be splitting us up into our groups because he felt that the descriptor was just that, it should not be running our lives or causing us to split into different peer groups simply because of a test. So, first off don’t panic if you don’t get who you think you should be on a test like this, people may have some specific preferences, but the facts are that we are who we are and our life’s experiences may affect us more than our natural instincts do.


Someone may be labelled as a “Commander” and yet be shy as a church mouse, or they may be seen as a mastermind but really they are more of a teacher. This just helps us figure out what your Natural tendency would be.


I thought at the time how cool it would be to put the test to the old Karate challenge and see what I could figure out as to who was training in Karate and what their natural tendencies would be. I took the test several times over the years and always get the same result. But how could I test the test as it were. Well I had ten people volunteer to do the test and all ten came back with results I would expect having known the people who took the test and their natural tendencies.


I used a simple online version of the test then sat down with my text books and went over the test results, the persons results and basically figured out what I already knew. The test is very accurate but in some cases people exhibit slightly different tendencies because of life experiences, personal “issues” and in a few cases they were slightly different due to outside factors; dealing with hardships, loss of close loved ones, parental influences ext.


What I was reaching for was more a guide on how to interact and teach or guide these people in the Karate organization and what I came up with was a really cool way of figuring out how to interact with people based on personality types and also a neat way of figuring out who was who without taking the test, just observing the students/person and seeing what they are like. I also saw this as a great way to read the parents of students and family members to best help the student and interact with their family.


The following series is based on my results, guesses and very uneducated, but researched, thinking on this whole process. I hope it helps a bit.

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