Martial arts are based on core values that dominate the practices and teachings. One cornerstone of most martial arts programs involves teaching and learning respect for yourself and those around you. While the sport is about self-defense, it also embodies certain characteristics such as confidence, control, focus, and respect. There are many reasons why martial arts teaches respect, including learning the value of self and others. As such, respect and martial arts go hand-in-hand.
The Belief of Respect
To respect others, you must first understand what it is. In short, respect is showing positive feelings and attitudes towards yourself and others, and always taking others into consideration. There is a deep sense of this for everyone in a martial arts program.
In martial arts, teaching respect is one of the core tenets all students must learn and perform both on and off the mat. That means bowing to instructors and opponents at competitions, as well as treating every person with decency and kindness. In this sense, respect and martial arts are synonymous with each other.
The Admiration of Leaders
Students are taught to bow to their instructors at the beginning and end of class as a sign of acknowledging their leadership and skill. This is important because students learn to recognize that people in higher positions deserve deference for their work to reach that position. Just as one would respect an elder, martial arts students do the same to their teachers.
This is ingrained in students from day one. Learning this in the classroom leads to appreciating others, and yourself, out in the world whether that is at school, home, or work, which is why martial arts teaches respect.
The Bond of Camaraderie
There is also a strong sense of respect towards other students and opponents. No matter how intense a competition or training session may be, valuing the people around you is key to a safe and healthy environment. This is shown through obeying the rules, not performing any illegal strikes and bowing or shaking hands. Through these actions, students learn that no matter their skill level or situation, people and themselves deserve to be treated justly.
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