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.

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Have you ever seen one of those incredible demonstrations of martial arts power? One where a tiny Asian master will show seemingly superhuman strength by standing immovable as half a dozen men try to push him? Or have you ever heard about the little old sensei who could defeat an opponent half his age while barely lifting a finger? Assuming that, unlike Luke Skywalker, such martial artists have not actually tapped into the force and don't possess superhuman powers, then something else is obviously going on here. But what?

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I warn you now, I knew when I wrote this article that it would make some people uncomfortable. All I ask is that you read to the end before you get out the pitchforks and torches. This article is simply based on my opinion, which has been formed from my personal experiences. I hope this will spark healthy conversation and the sharing of opinions, and I welcome hearing yours.

Humility and martial arts are supposed to go hand in hand, along respect, integrity and honour. However, if you take a long, hard look at the culture of martial arts, you may begin to doubt its efficacy in instilling those virtues in practitioners any more than any other sport or discipline. Over the years in this industry, I have witnessed behaviour that tells me humility, honour and integrity may be integral to a select few, but for the most part, they are just catch phrases used to manipulate people.

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