The Real Secret by Kevin Seaman
What is the most important skill you need to develop in order to become a great martial artist? Kicking skills, right? Because if you have powerful, lightning fast kicks you will easily defeat any opponent. Wrong! What about footwork and agility? Then, no one can touch you. You will control the distance, being able to strike out with blinding speed and effectiveness, frustrating and overwhelming your opponent at will. No, that’s not it! It must be MAD Jiu Jitsu skills?? Grappling will overpower the most extreme individual. Not that, either?? Remember, we’ve all been told if you lack conditioning everything else will go down the tubes if you get tired, thats it right? Okay, Okay. Then it’s got to be a winning attitude. No one can stop you if you have that.
It has its time and place when it’s important. You’re on the right track, but guess what? The most powerful, effective tool in your martial arts toolbox is RESPECT, consideration, and courtesy for yourself and others!
Respect for yourself means to take good care of yourself. Your appearance, your hygiene, your personal habits, how you eat, and what you put in your body all reflect a personal respect for your body. And what about respect for yourself on a mental and emotional basis? Do you treat yourself the way you would like others to treat you? Do you put yourself down, ignore your potential, put guilt trips on yourself, let others manipulate, use, and/or take advantage of you? Do you then lose your temper or patience with yourself rather than being honest and assertive about your problem and solution? These are all issues of personal consideration and respect.
Why is respect for yourself so important? Because people who lack respect for themselves and others also lack self esteem. If you don’t care about “you” how can you possibly meet or exceed your potential as a martial artist. More profoundly, how can you respect others if you don’t respect yourself.
Ever wonder why courtesy and respect is stressed so often by experts when teaching others how to develop their skills in the Martial Arts? Because we want you to understand that the way you treat yourself and others is a direct representation of your attitude. We want you to respect life and use discretion as to how and when you use your skills. We want you to reflect a positive image of yourself to others, for them to admire and respect you. We know that without self respect and respect for others you will never reach excellence in the martial arts. We know that without self control, self discipline, strong ethical standards, and courtesy and respect for others you’re a dangerous liability for yourself and others. With SKILL and POWER, comes responsibility. That’s why!
What can you do to improve? Quite simply exercise your simple courtesies on a daily basis. Simple courtesies are FREE. They don’t cost you a thing and they are an excellent emotional investment, because of the positive impression they impose on others. Look for opportunities to sharpen your respect skills everyday. It will totally amaze you how you will feel and more importantly how others will feel about you. Say something to make someone feel good. Point out a positive quality you’ve noticed about them. Hold the door for someone, give a cheerful thank you or please, or help someone with a problem. Listen to a friend, spend more time trying to be interested instead of trying to be interesting. A simple act like giving your seat to a senior or shoveling their walk can mean a lot to someone in need. The bottom line, is that martial arts is one of the most amazing vehicles for self improvement you have available to help you become a better person. Make the emotional effort to improve your courtesy skills next time you are in class or out in the world. Develop a Winning Mind Set, seek excellence and always remember, in life you don’t get what you want, you get what you are.