By Jose R. Villanueva

As originally published on the Listen & Be Heard Weekly1, November 30, 2005.

It is important to define the word respect and how it pertains to the Martial Arts, other activities, and individuals. There are misconceptions about how respect is applied. My viewpoint is that respect is given when it is earned. No individual, school, or activity should be expecting respect to fall onto their laps without having proven oneself as an individual, group or activity. Respect is not something that can be forced. If one tries to force respect on someone, one will not get respect. One will definitely have dissatisfaction.

Respect is defined as the interest and attention placed on something or someone because one has admiration for that thing or individual. That thing or individual inspires interest and motivation by their mere presence. An individual receives respect not by the direction to do so, but by the individual's command of his environment. Respect can be accomplished by what you do as a leader of people. Are you an ethical example? People will respect individuals, groups, and activities if they feel they can grow from their interaction with them.

Martial Art schools and instructors should take heed that people should not be expected to immediately give you respect. It must be earned by one's leadership abilities, examples, accomplishments, ethics, and ability to develop students. Respect may be able to be accomplished within a very short period of time or it may take a lengthy time. Remember, it is not the responsibility for the student to give you respect as it is a responsibility for the instructor or school to earn it. If one has done enough to the satisfaction of the student, the student will openly give his respect. And every person is different.

An instructor, school, or activity cannot control and force students to give respect. It will only cause one hardship with regard to one's students. The appearances may be that of respect, but it is done out of fear not self-determined. When respect arrives, it will be a feeling they will gradually and eventually have for you. It can easily be evaluated and determined by how one's students respond. One will be able to view the progress. Think about the last time someone demanded you do something. How did you feel about it? The same premise is applied to respect. Inspire your students through your legitimate leadership abilities, and you will earn it!