With all of the media hype around the McGregor V. Mayweather fight right now, questioning of the future of mixed martial arts and other combat sports is starting to happen. This is due to the recent popularity in vulgar, hostile press conferences accompanied with object throwing and personal attacks, that have nothing to do with the sport. The values and respectability that martial arts and mixed martial arts have is starting to go out the window and we are starting to lose sight of what the sport is all about and we are forgetting who all is watching.
As an athlete in any sport you should respect your opponents. In a sport that is as extreme as MMA and BJJ the level of respect you have for them should be even higher because you know what it takes to compete at that level. You know everything your body and mind has been put through and you know how hard it is, so why would you not respect someone just because you are going to compete against them?
A Jiu-Jitsu match always starts with a handshake or bow and after words it normally ends in a hug. After a match, win or lose, you and your opponent go through the same things. If they beat you fair and square, good for them. It just gives you the opportunity to improve your game because they exposed some weaknesses. There is so much respect surrounding the competition and athletes as there should be.
As I am just three days out from my next competition I have the utmost respect for every athlete going out to compete. Having the mental strength to put yourself out there in the first place is incredible and having the physical ability and skill is a whole other achievement.
Let’s not let combat sports lose respect and values and let’s remember who is watching. I have some new younger kids at my gym that want to learn from us, to be like the rest of us that are training. They watch us and look at the higher belts as leaders and role models. I want to show them the right way to learn the art form in order to be successful and respectful at the sometime. So let’s all pass on what role models and respectability looks like and not lose sight of where we came from. Whether its in the cage or on the mats, its not a personal attack, its a sport.