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Courtesy and Respect -- At the Highest Level

All beginners of Karate are taught the importance of courtesy and respect -- at least I certainly hope so! But courtesy and respect are not only important for beginners. They apply at all levels of training.

I am fortunate to know many senior Karate instructors. When we get together, we often discuss Karate history, techniques, teaching methods, and other subjects. We also often discuss the importance of courtesy and respect, particularly among senior instructors.

An instructor might be technically skilled, highly ranked, and famous, but if he lacks basic courtesy and respect, what kind of instructor is he? What will his students learn from him? Will they learn courtesy and respect? Or will they only learn the surface level of the art?

Whenever I meet a senior instructor who lacks courtesy and respect, I ask myself what kind of teacher he had? What kind of instructor would have skipped the most basic and important aspects of the art? Why didn't the teacher correct his student?

Conversely, when I met an instructor (or student) of any level who shows proper courtesy and respect, I think that he must have had a fine teacher, and that his teacher must certainly be proud of him.

Courtesy and respect are not only for beginners. They are for all students of the art, at all levels, at all times.


Charles C. Goodin