In every martial art we see some form of action taken to show respect: bowing before entering the training area, a customary way of greeting the instructor, rituals before sparring begins, …the list goes on and on. These actions are symbolic representations of what every practitioner should know and embrace as a true student of the martial arts.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, which is known as the “gentle art,” emphasizes the importance of safety of one’s opponent or training partner by respecting “the tap.” When an opponent submits by “tapping out”, the tap should always be respected. This ensures the safety of everyone involved.
The same is true in Judo, whose competitive rules are always enforced in a way that avoids risk to the competitors. Adherence to these rules by both combatants shows respect for the art, as well as each other, even if each wants to prove that their skills are superior.
The arts of Karate and Tae Kwon Do emphasize the importance of bowing to one’s training partner while Krav Maga students take great care not to harm each other during practice as they realize that their training partner is willingly allowing themselves to be vulnerable to physical harm.
Respect in martial arts is a part of the philosophy and lifestyle that every dedicated practitioner should adopt. Practicing respect during your martial arts training has an amazing carry over affect in one’s daily life as well; in your interactions with coworkers, family, friend, and everyone you come in contact with. That’s the mark of a true student of the martial arts.
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