Martial arts instructors talk about core tenets – things that dictate our behavior inside and outside of class. These are things that we teach our students. Their value goes far beyond martial arts instruction. In other words, these are life skills.
There are five core tenets that our students learn. I’ll explain the first tenet to you, and talk about why I think it’s important.
The first tenet is courtesy. If you’ve ever witnessed a martial arts demonstration or competition, you know that each match begins with the combatants bowing to one another.
In our classes, students learn that courtesy and respect are essential. When they behave courteously toward their instructor – and their instructor returns the favor – it builds an atmosphere of respect. In such an environment, kids can learn easily.
We also teach kids to respect one another. There isn’t any name-calling or taunting in our school. Every child learns that being courteous is the key to success. Just as repetitive motions teach them to control their bodies, emphasizing the core tenet of courtesy helps them learn to control their minds and emotions.
It’s normal for kids to test boundaries – in fact, it’s important that they do so. However, it’s just as important for adults to let kids know that boundaries are there for a reason. Teaching and modeling courtesy for them in class is one way we do that.
Sometimes, kids idolize athletes who engage in trash talk and bragging. We think it’s our job to give them a different kind of role model. Our instructors understand kids, and they do more than talk to kids about courtesy. They demonstrate it in everything they do in class.
We find that emphasizing courtesy is a key component of building success for our students. As they learn to move through the world respecting themselves and others, they see the way giving respect changes their interactions with people. They learn that respect begets respect – and that’s a lesson they’ll take with them wherever they go.