In the martial arts, it is common to see practitioners bowing to each other before a sparring match. The bow is similar to western handshake. The reason for the traditional bow was a way of demonstrating respect toward the other person. For example, a practitioner would bow to his or her partner meaning that “I respect you but I’m going to do my best to kick and punch you to beat you, and it’s being done to perfect my Taekwondo skills and myself, not to hurt you. The second this match is over, it is forgotten and we are still friends, and I hope, better friends than before.”
This is an important lesson for us as martial artists; no matter what art we practice. The purpose of practicing martial arts is to improve our art and ourselves. That is why it is so important to leave your ego at the door. To improve, you have to acknowledge that there are areas in your life that need improvement. This is why we respect our teachers.
Another method of improving yourself is by respecting your fellow martial art practitioners. We respect them because they are also coming to learn and improve. As you practice, try to keep in mind the meaning behind the traditional bow. It will build your respect in and out of the school.
There are many ways you can demonstrate respect at ATA: bow with greeting at the door, answering up with your yes sirs and ma’ams, and even having your belt tied evenly. Remember to always treat people that way you wish to be treated and the way they deserve to be treated.