(Are you teaching respect in your classes?)

It seems that chivalry is dead. The days of the Samurai protecting the poor, the knight rescuing the damsel in distress, or the Boy Scout helping the little old lady across the street are gone. The family tradition is in danger. The father is no longer the head of the house, with single moms having to raise the children alone. Respect, like leaves, has been blown away by the wind.

Again, here is where the martial arts come into play. Because we teach striking and kicking techniques that can harm, break or even kill an opponent, we surround our programs with discipline and respect. It is the safety valves of the martial arts. The days of the Cobra Kai schools (the bad guys in the Karate Kid series) are being forced out of business. Those who still teach that way are dinosaurs that cannot let go of the past.

The dangerous power that our training partner possesses or the skill of the tournament competitor forces the student to respect the martial arts community. Respect shows up in the ultimate warrior who can take out an opponent in a matter of seconds but, who is also willing to help that little old lady across the street. This person carries him/herself tall, and walks with confidence, and knows and uses words like “Yes Sir” and “No Ma'am”.

This respect inbreeds our entire time at training class and at competition, and follows the student outside the training hall into the streets and into our everyday activities. Respect has a look and feel to it. It shows by our body language, tone of voice, and how we treat others. Along with self defense, respect is taught in martial arts classes with a purposeful intent. We create an atmosphere where respect is important, worthwhile and even demanded.

Respect produces by-products, the main ingredient being love. Love is patient and kind, is never envious nor boils over with jealousy; is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited, arrogant and inflated with pride; it is not rude and does not act unbecomingly. Love does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self seeking. It is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it, pays no attention to a suffered wrong. It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.

Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, and is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything without weakening. Love never fails, never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; now that I have become a man/woman, I am done with childish ways and have put them aside. 

For now we are looking in a mirror that gives only a dim blurred reflection of reality as in a riddle or enigma, but then when perfection comes we shall see in reality and face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know and understand fully and clearly, even in the same manner as I have been fully and clearly known and understood by God. And so faith, hope, love abide, these three, but the greatest of these is love. (First Corinthians 13). The bottom line is that love creates respect, and respect creates discipline. The three go hand in hand. These principles will work in any martial arts class. 

For a student to listen to the teacher and to follow their example is done so because there is belief and confidence, aka,…...respect. Be honest and truthful to your students and they will follow your example. Now respect is a two way street, you, as an instructor, must respect your students and learn to believe in them also. If you are teaching the correct information that a student needs to grow and mature, they will listen and learn. Respect is like a bank, you have to put something in to earn interest to get something back. Respect given is respect earned.

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This page was last updated on 07/05/07    

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