How Martial Arts Teaches Respect

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

Sensei Jennifer Alman and her students.

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

Many people who train together form fast, lasting friendships. Martial arts teaches loyalty.

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.

The Value of Self

Perhaps one of the most important aspects of respect and martial arts is the ability to value yourself as a person. As you go through your training, either as a child or an adult, you learn to never underestimate yourself. Because of that, your own sense of self-worth grows. Children and adults understand how to treat others with kindness and decency, and how to stand up for themselves and others when necessary. It's all part of the deep-rooted beliefs of martial arts.

The Power of Personal Growth

Martial arts teaches respect.

Through understanding why martial arts teaches respect, you increase your ability to grow as a person. You learn to be confident in your self-defense skills, as someone who is capable of taking care of yourself as well as friends and family. Over time, you understand how to control your mind and body, and to focus on the positive aspects to move forward and develop.

Martial arts is an area of life that holds tight to the beliefs that all people should be treated with decency and respect, and when you realize that your life becomes richer. Through this way, you can develop your mind, body and spirit into one that rises above difficulties and the unfairness often encountered in life.

Martial Arts is About Respect

Through every aspect of training and competitions, martial arts instill a deep sense of respect for every person involved. Students bow to teachers and each other, they compete fairly and they learn how to apply those teachings to the world outside of training. Martial arts is about more than just learning how to punch and kick in self-defense. Rather, it is about growing as a person as well.

The reasons why martial arts teaches respect vary, but the core of it is that students learn how to respect others and themselves. Respect and martial arts are tied together so tightly that it is difficult to separate the two. As you continue on in life, you will be able to apply the teachings you learned in your martial arts classroom to your everyday life and be a better person because of it.

Black Belt Magazine has a storied history that dates back all the way to 1961, making 2021 the 60th Anniversary of the world's leading magazine of martial arts. To celebrate six decades of legendary martial arts coverage, take a trip down memory lane by scrolling through some of the most influential covers ever published. From the creators of martial art styles, to karate tournament heroes, to superstars on the silver screen, and everything in between, the iconic covers of Black Belt Magazine act as a time capsule for so many important moments and figures in martial arts history. Keep reading to view the full list of these classic issues.

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