When you first start martial arts, the formality can be a little overwhelming. Everyone bowing, shaking hands, saying please/thank-you, addressing instructors as Mr. or Ms. – it is all very strange – until you get used to it. After a while, you cannot imagine not doing it as you realize it is just a different way of showing respect, happiness and friendship.
Let us review what a typical student would do every single time they entered the training center.
- Enter and greet the instructor or front desk staff with a “Hello Sir or Hello Ma’am.”
- Slight bow
- Greet anyone else in the front desk area who is an assistant instructor or leader.
- Attention/salute the flags upon stepping onto the mats.
- Greet other students with handshakes or cheery greeting.
- Start class – attention/bow to instructor and salute the flags.
- Throughout class responding, “yes sir” or “yes ma’am.”
- Help other up when they have fallen.
- Cheer on others who are struggling or performing.
- Finish class with attention/bow to instructor, salute the flags and then classmate handshakes.
- Wait in line for your stripes and say thank-you with a light bow upon receiving your tape.
- Salute the flags as you step off the mat.
- Attention/bow to instructors/leaders at the front desk when you leave.
That is a lot to remember at first! What do you think are the most important parts of this?
In martial arts, teaching respect is one of the core tenets all students must learn and perform both on and off the mat. That means bowing to instructors and opponents at competitions, as well as treating every person with decency and kindness. In this sense, respect and martial arts are synonymous with each other – they are one and the same. So, every martial artist if they truly are one, should be kind, courteous, empathetic, and helpful. EMA is a traditional martial art taught for our new generation, so the formalities, discipline and respect remain.