Building a culture of respect: One of the favorite moments of my coaching career occurred at the ADCC world championships.
My student Garry Tonon squared off against the very talented Dillon Danis, student of the great Marcelo Garcia.
The two had a rivalry and met in the first round of the tournament. After a fierce exchange of technique, Mr Tonon prevailed with a very powerful heel hook.
In a gesture that made me far more proud than the actual victory, Mr Tonon immediately went over to check if his rival was alright, then went to bow and shake the hand of his great coach and mentor – showing his respect for all his wonderful achievements in the sport.
I dare say that that bow and handshake made me more proud than all the leg locks, armlocks and strangles my students have performed put together. Respect for an opponent is the foundation of the martial arts. It is what distinguishes the martial arts from mere violence.
If a man fights another with hate in his heart – it is a fight. If he does so with respect in his heart – he is a martial artist. Remember – in the end, whatever trivial differences there are between teams and schools, they are insignificant compared with the many similarities- there is so much more that unites us than separates us.
Building a culture of respect is the basis of our enterprise.