Published: September 15, 2021

Martial Life and Living – Respect


Martial arts begins and ends with respect.

This respect begins first with the individual. One must have a sense of value for her or himself to even begin a training regime. It may first start with a desire to learn self-defense, balance, and centeredness, the mind-body connection or simply to be in better physical condition. Regardless of the reason, in order to desire improvement, one must care for oneself. This care, this level of self-esteem, this respect will grow as one continues to grow in the arts.

When we bow as we enter onto the mat or enter the training hall, it is to give respect to the lessons we are about to learn, the lessons we have learned, to the instructor and the fellow students. The instruction in martial arts teaches one how to use their mind and body as a weapon. It teaches how to create pain and stop those who are behaving badly and hurting others or ourselves. We learn concepts, techniques, and applications designed to defeat an opponent and keep us out of harm’s way. With this knowledge comes a great responsibility to use it correctly, to use it for good.

We give respect to our instructors for the knowledge they are passing along to us. They have spent years studying and perfecting their understanding of their particular art. They have desired to pass that knowledge along to others. We owe our teachers our respect.

We owe respect to our fellow students. Without them, we will never progress as readily as we are able. We are there for a common purpose, a common goal. I tell my students when they run applications on each other that both parties are to gain from the experience. If only one learns, it is incomplete.

We give respect to every person we meet outside the training hall. Each person is an individual. At our core, we are all one. This does not mean that we give each person the same levels of respect. Some through their character and integrity are deserving of higher degrees of respect than those who are far more casual about their character- but all deserve some level of respect.

There is no reason to be impolite. Be courteous and gracious as it is an expression of your character. This is not to be construed as being soft- one should be gentle on the outside and strong on the inside. Additionally, when we meet an opponent, we do not know what skills a person may have at their disposal. It is better to treat them with respect than be foolish and pay for it in combat.

Respect the lessons that you learn. Apply the lessons in every area of your life where it fits. In this way, you are being both effective and efficient. Understand the concepts that are the underlayment of all techniques and applications.

Honor and respect begin with the individual. When one respects and honors themselves, they will then pass that respect on to others. If they devalue themselves, they will not value others as they should. One can only give out what one has in their possession.

Respect and honor yourself. Continuously work on and build your character. In doing so you may well light the path for others to follow but you will certainly illuminate your own path more readily.

Published: September 15, 2021

Categories: Martial Arts