Some words on Respect

At the dojo we will now have a monthly focus word. The word of the week seemed to fly by, and we didn’t really explore it more than a quick post on facebook, so I decided that we should choose a word to really think about and delve into for a month.

This months word is – Respect

This is the first instalment from the dojo blackboard: I will add others during the month to this post

1: Respect starts first with you. Respect yourself enough to do the right things for yourself. First of all take care of your health, both physical and mental. This includes (but not limited to) sleep,food, rest, laughter, positive friends, social groups, goals and aspirations. You know what the right things to do are-respect yourself enough to not make excuses. Your’e worth more than that! If you don’t know the right things to do, respect yourself enough to find out. Your‘e living in the age of information, and libraries are still free- find out !
You cannot truly respect others, or teach others respect if you don’t have it for yourself.

“Martial Arts – Without true respect and the behaaviours and courtesies that stem from this, is Just Violence”.

Respect and humility go hand in hand. You cannot have one without the other. When you conquer your ego- you can embrace humility and hence, true respect. (This differs from false, forced,fake, blind subservience)
True respect is given and shown like love. It’s honest and pure and has no Ulterior motives other than to serve the highest self, and the highest in others.

Are you strong enough and brave enough to have the neccessary humility to look inside yourself and ask if you know and have true respect? Do you Love yourself enough? Love is a weird word to hear in a dojo perhaps, but if you think on it enough the truth of it is easily apparent.

Respect- for it to mean anything, should be present in your every action and your every word. How do you talk to yourself with your innner voice? How do you see others, remembering we can only see them through the lens/filter through which we view ourselves. How do you greet others then? How do you enter the dojo ? What spirit does your level of self respect afford you? Your spirit follows you everywhere. It emanates from your eyes, and  it’s heard in your voice above your words. Strong hearts, heads up, eyes up, honesty above all, courtesy, loud Osu’s, be a good training partner and inspire others by your actions. It’s all Respect !


It’s all energy. What kind are you bringing to the dojo?

The energy that each and every person brings in to the dojo is important. When you enter the room…..the feeling that you are holding inside of yourself comes with you. Then- when that feeling is translated into the things that you say, the look on your face, and the effort that you impart throughout the class, this same energy is then transferred to others awareness and hence is passed on to others psyche.

Each individual is then responsible for their part in everyone else’s training session. It is your duty to ensure that you bring the best energy you can to a class. It’s okay to have a bad day and we all have them, and the dojo can be a great place for turning around your mood and mental state. What is critical in this process however is the ‘desire’ to want to improve. Coming to class in a bad mood and just wanting to ‘vent’ but not change your outlook is destructive for all. Inversely, coming to class with a passion to feel and do better is inspiring.

Imagine that there are two large glass Jars at the front of the dojo. One jar is labelled positivity, and the other is labelled negativity. Each time you walk in the door, you have to place the physical manifestation of your current mental state (we shall call this a mood token) into the appropriately labelled jar, and then take out another token which is your ticket to class- perhaps one that someone else has deposited.

At the commencement of the session, the instructor will collect each person’s mood token and then throw them all up in the air and this creates the feeling of the session. Everything is decided by those mood tokens down to what happens in class, whether or not everyone trains hard, does well, improves and learns, or  the opposite that the energy is low……people are lazy and uninspired, quick to give up on something or Someone gets injured etc.

It would then be advantageous if everyone who was positive- still took out a positive token from someone else. Those feeling negative…. should place their negative tokens in the jar to stay… and take out a positive one in replace. They should borrow someone’s positivity and use it to make their own.

So how does this very simplistic version of events explain a very complex topic ? It probably doesn’t as I’m no quantum physicist. However, a simple real life example might be this :

***Person A and Person B***

Person A walks into the dojo and greets person B. Person A isn’t feeling great today (they have a list of reasons why including running late for work in the morning, their stupid boss, kids, car broken down etc etc)  Person B replies……”oh no. What a day huh. You know that sucks but lucky you’re here. You can train hard and forget about all of that. My day’s been pretty crappy too….let’s go hit the bag and take out some stress. Nothing fixes a bad day like a good session huh!”. By doing this, person B just put in a positive token for person a to take for the class. Person A should take it!

Compare this to the alternative where person B replies instead “Oh no. That sucks. Man I’ve had the worst day too. Why is everything so hard. You know… I don’t even know why I came tonight. I guess I’ll just see how I go.” Now there’s only negative tokens avail for choosing.

I know what your’e going to say. What about person C or D….Well that’s just it. We are now relying on them to input positive tokens or what’s going to happen to the jars and the tokens available for choosing ?

Again, I know this is extremely simplistic. Most things however, are actually quite simple in nature.  They are just difficlut to do unless you are being aware of your thoughts, your words and how this affects not only yourself but everyone around you.

The dojo is your community and home away from home. You should always feel safe there and sure…. vent away. Sometimes it’s you… sometimes it’s your teammate. Just when you do need to vent, be aware of the positivity handed to you and take it. Inspire others. If someone downloads their woes on you – don’t take it on board. Listen- re-direct and help them lift their spirits.  Raise people up don’t give them a hand down.

What sort of energy are your bringing with you today?

What are you training for ?


I like a good “piss take” as much as the next bloke. Even though I’m not a bloke…..I sometimes like a giggle at someone’s expense, even if that person is myself .Cuz I’m an Aussie…..and that’s how we roll. We aren’t afraid to laugh at ourselves. Now perhaps it’s just the circles that I am involved in, but it does feel like at the moment, there is a lot of ‘memes’ circulating the social media traps about different types of training within both the martial arts, and fitness industries. I of course have shared more than a couple of these ‘memes’ as they are often what I think are quite funny, and very witty.  Sometimes however, I stop and look and think….now hang on a minute – fair suck of the sav mate (wicked expression don’t ya think ! )

One of those such times was during training a couple of weekends ago. Something I had seen recently on Facebook came to mind while I was lunging backwards down a ramp I had just sprinted up for the 6th time, and I got to thinking. It’s all about work ethic. Every training style must have merit or nobody would do it. Each individual chooses that particular method of defence, fighting, self improvement or fitness regime for their own particular reason. And that reason may not be it’s makers original intention, but important and valid for this person nonetheless. So we must not judge that person or that training style before we know what these reasons are, and then again, perhaps we shouldn’t be judging at all anyway.

Unless we ourselves are involved in that particular sport or training type…how we can possibly hope to judge the level of another persons training. Of course, there are always going to be the extreme examples…….like a Facebook post I saw recently with a young man thrusting an ezicurl bar fwd and back with dance like footwork. It looked like he was training to get more power in his rave…and see this is what I mean….if that’s what he was doing…then hey…..maybe that’s the best way !  Of course this video did make laugh and I didn’t think what he was doing was safe to say the least. In terms of body building or any hopes of Hypertrophy it was a waste of time, He didn’t do it long enough to reap any significant cardiovascular or stamina gains and well….I can’t really see the what or the why…but does that really matter  ? If he is getting what he wants out of training, who am I to judge ?

And then comes the sticky part. The grey area. That bit where the Crossfitters bag out the Body Builders , the Gymnasts pick on the power lifters, the Karateka’s judge the Kickboxers, the Boxers the Muay Thai, The boot campers v’s the obstacle racers and the Marathon runners the Ironmen and  MMA versus the world and Vice Versa.  I’m not trying to settle any arguments here because really I don’t think there is one.  No one style of training can be right.  An easy example is the Kipping V’s the Clean Full Form Pull Up. Now, if you are training to achieve not only high rep ranges to max out your Aerobic (and maybe even anaerobic) systems then the cross fit style of kipping pull-ups is definitely going to help you achieve that aim. Of course, the muscles don’t quite work the same way they do with a full form pull up, but well….that’s not the goal here is it. Nope, Max gains are not going to happen and yeah….it might be considered cheating by old school enthusiasts’, but have the nay sayer’s tried the Kipping ?  I have- and I suck at it. There is a certain amount of rhythm you must develop and I think different muscles are recruited through your core to do this. So maybe there are gains to be had after all, albeit not perhaps those intended for targeting with a pullup. Then I think of thing’s like maybe Move Nat &  Parkour (free running) and that type of training .  If you need to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible – or run away from an attacker say….and you knew how to kip……then maybe when you needed to run and jump and climb a tree it would be far easier. Then…..when you needed to scale a wall or a fence….perhaps a static dead hang pull up would be your best training. I just think that before a training style is attacked, then end goal must be considered.

So now….fighting. In reality, there is one goal. To beat the opponent and win. There are so many styles here and MMA has come a way’s in bringing this argument to the fore. It has however also shown no doubt that it’s the people behind the styles and their own abilities and strengths which come into play too. Not every BJJ practitioner wins all fights . Some great stand up competitors dominate rounds over Grapplers and the like.  It’s my belief that good MMA fighters must have knowledge of other styles, but they need that one that they are great at. The one which makes them who they are as a fighter and that is what they focus their training on. So……can anyone really say one training style over another is better ? I think a lot of it comes down to the person. There are millions of Kung Fu students, but none of them are Bruce Lee. So….you can’t judge the style by grabbing Joe Bloggs from the local Wing Chun School and put them up against Manny Pacquiao and say that will settle the argument between which is better. Kung Fu or Boxing. The only way to really know this… if say Mohammed Ali was equally a good Karate student as he was Boxer. Then …pit him against himself. Maybe then we’d know !

And then, one must consider that Martial Arts in a controlled environment is much more different than the street. I’m not for one minute going to pretend that I’ve ever been in a really dangerous situation in the street. I’ve never had a bar brawl or been attacked…but I have had times where I have had to defend myself and or use some real life skills and the game changes. Dramatically. Now you are going to need some street smarts, and some knowledge that you will never find in a dojo or gym. You are also going to have to know what fear feels like , or perhaps even rage and what that does to your perception and will. Hmmm…….so what are we training for again ?

But….I digress slightly from my original topic. We cannot judge another’s training. There is no way to measure their “how” against their  “why” because will we ever really know ? and also…we first must know their abilities and limits. And that brings me to my conclusion in a way. I think the only thing we an analyse is a person’s training ethic. Are they doing the best they can ? Are they giving it their all ? Are they asking the right questions of themselves whilst training? Are they researching their why and adjusting their how ? Now these thing’s we can look at and pass judgement if we wish…however….before we do that…..maybe we should do the same to ourselves.

This really could have been a more indepth look at this topic…but seriously I’m not trying to write a thesis.  I just like to provoke thought by telling you some of my own.  I hope it resonates with you.