How Martial Arts Training Teaches Respect

Many modern, high quality schools in the area offer provide Martial Arts training with a range of programs and options for adults and children alike, with a host of benefits at every level. Some schools even offer training in multiple disciplines, such as Karate, Taekwondo, Jiu-Jitsu, Tai Chi, Kickboxing, MMA, or Krav Maga, a fiercely effective combat system developed and used by Israeli Defense Forces. Methods and moves vary, but one distinct virtue all of these styles share is the deeper sense of respect practitioners develop: respect for the art, for family, teachers, peers, seniors, juniors, authority, duty, community, life generally, and perhaps most importantly – respect for self.

Martial Arts and Respect

There are a number of key principles that underlie and unify traditional Martial Arts training programs. Most systems promote a culture of courtesy and self-discipline, and invariably deliver to committed students greater self-esteem and improved self-confidence. However, there is one main principle that is fundamental and integral to all the others: respect – showing it and earning it.

Respect is a philosophical cornerstone of most reputable, traditional Martial Art training facilities.
In concept and practice, respect is key to how martial arts can help improve people’s lives. This is particularly true with regard to children and teen students, whose perceptions, attitudes, and interpersonal skills are being influenced and developed.

Traditional styles of Martial Arts generally offer programs for kids and teens designed to promote positive behavior both on and off the training mat. The considerate, self-controlled, active-listening, respectful manner in which instructors, staff, and students conduct training and interactions usually has a powerful effect on a students’ outlooks and other aspects of their lives.

In quality Martial Arts classes for children and adults, students experience and contribute to an environment of mutual respect and self-respect. Seeing the behavior modeled in class is useful, but
the lessons are reinforced when parents demonstrate self-respect and courtesy for others in their daily interactions. Because kids usually do what they see, we must be mindful to make showing respect for all a natural habit.

Martial Arts, Discipline, and Respect

Just as in most other educational, career and personal pursuits, when practicing and studying Martial Arts the maxim “you get out of it what you put into it” applies. Martial Arts offer so much more in terms of power and growth than simply learning how to kick or punch someone. Martial Arts challenge individuals to push their own personal boundaries and go beyond them. Reaching any ambitious goal such as earning a Black Belt requires hard work, discipline, and perseverance. Fulfilling these requirements to improve ourselves as Martial Artists is invaluable experience that develops a work ethic, confidence, and sense of determination that serves us well in all aspects and stages of life. The respect that students develop for their teachers, fellow students, and their own abilities is projected, shared, and applied to our interpersonal relationships at work, home, school, and in the community. The practice of showing and earning respect for others leads most Martial Arts students to become better citizens, better leaders, and better people overall.

Teaching Children the Nature of Respect

In many ways it seems that we live in an ever-worsening culture of crude, rude, and vulgar speech and behavior. Respect now has the same status as a precious, limited resource like diamonds, oil, or clean water. Too often we hear ourselves complaining that “today’s children just have no respect for people or anything for that matter.” Why is this? Experts suggest that children usually mirror what they see and that means that they’ve learned a lot from us adults. The first step to teaching children about respect is to model it ourselves.

Respect your children

The first mistake that we as adults make is to assume that children are too young to understand what we say or do. On the contrary, psychologists state that children have highly impressionable minds that not only understand but “record” everything that adults do. So if you’re child just used foul language, there is a very high chance he or she picked it up from you. One of the biggest ironies is that adults disrespect children while trying to teach them respect. It is necessary to know that even children are human and they too have a desire for dignity, acceptance, and encouragement – not just scolding or correcting. The next time your child requires correction, try to a tack that’s less harsh on them – firm but gentle, praise- correct-praise.

As they say, good things have small beginnings and this is true for human behavior too. Start your children with small, basic manners such as saying ‘thank you’ and ‘please’. Encourage them to make polite requests rather than demands. If your child requests you to do or give something, ask him or her to state the reason and purpose. If the reason is valid, go ahead with the request. This teaches them that polite requests are much better than rude demands.

Teach your children to be polite and respectful to other people and explain to them as to why they need to be courteous. Explain the ‘golden rule’. Lectures usually aren’t enough to do the job. Witnessing and applying the rationale and results of living with respect for self and others will help them understand more personally.

Karate and respect

A good way to encourage your children to learn about respect through a year round, structured activity that is all about respect. Karate for kids is a martial arts form pretty much built on the values of discipline and respect. Karate classes are the perfect environment for physical, mental, social skills, and leadership training. Traditions and rules that your child will have to adhere to while learning karate make showing respect a natural habit through repetition. A series of ranks and belt colors help children understand where they stand, and that they have to put in, to achieve each new rank and belt. Karate teaches people to respect each other. For instance, the master is referred to as ‘Sensei’ or ‘Sah Boo Nim’ which means teacher, and he or she is most be shown respect through trained actions and responses. These are some of the methods that are proven to help children learn the value and adopt the practice and attitude of respect.