A Champion's Courtesy
There is no better place to see the values of courtesy and respect at work than in the martial arts. A great venue to test the true character of a man is when you put him head-to-head against a similarly skilled opponent. Stress, fear, fatigue, pain, and excitement all work to break down the character of a fighter when they enter the ring, cage, or mat. This is when you get to see the true heart of a person. So why is it that these men and women, despite the heat of the competition, often show the utmost professional courtesy towards their opponent?
When I first started competing, I had already been in martial arts for many years. But I hadn't quite grasped the concept of showing courtesy in that setting. I would shake the opponents hand, or wish them luck, but in the back if my mind, they were my enemy and I was just there to take them down. I didn't have any true respect for them. Especially if they beat me. I couldn't wait to get my "revenge."
As I made the rounds in the field of competition I began to realize something. My opponents were in the same position I was when they stepped onto the mat. They were facing the exact same fear, the same frustration, the same fatigue that I was. I needed to respect their willingness to face those challenges and compete anyway. Now when I step into the ring, I show respect to my fellow competitor. I respect his bravery, his skill, his training, and his heart. I just know that I have to be a better fighter than him on that day. No anger, no resentment-only one person vs another. That is the role of courtesy in the martial arts.
But how different is that really from everyday life? The people we meet on a daily basis are just like us, and deserve to be shown the same courtesy that we would like to be shown. Simple things, like speaking kindly, holding a door for someone, being nice to your server at a restaurant, or just smiling once and again, can show that you respect that person's willingness to fight their own battles and overcome life's challenges. And that is true courtesy.
Posted on Tue, November 11, 2014
by Kannon Manis filed under