Din Thomas: Growth of MMA led to lack of respect
For me the Martial Arts are not just an activity, it’s a lifestyle. It’s not something I just do a few days a week, or on the weekends. It’s a way I govern myself based on a personal standard that I set for myself in order to push myself to accomplish things that I may not have thought I could. Being a true martial artist also includes living with a higher sense of integrity, self respect, and most importantly respect for others.
With the explosion of the sport of MMA, it seems that the respect for the art and for others has been lost. It seems that most guys are getting involved solely to “kick butt,” act macho, and bully others. The glorification of the sport often eclipses the art and the positive benefits that the martial arts were intended for. The irony is that the guys that get into MMA solely to “kick butt” tend not to do as well or last as long. But they surely give us a bad name.
Being instructors of martial arts, we have a responsibility to share our art appropriately. First and foremost, people should learn to respect their own body enough to train it to the highest level of their ability. They should also train their mind to give them the confidence to use it. Secondly, before punching, kicking, and grappling, people need to learn to respect each other. In order to maximize your training experience, you must respect your partners and your partners must respect you. Otherwise, training could be disastrous. Because at the end of the day, its not about “kicking butt.” Its about improving a skill set, as well as building relationships. You will find that if you can learn to respect others on the mat when practicing martial arts, it will be that much easier to respect others and command respect in your everyday life.
Dedicated to respecting my art