Many people associate the positive values of humility, discipline and respect for ones instructor and fellow students with the traditional martial arts. This is one of the most important reasons why parents decide to enroll their children in kids martial arts programs.
Where did this tradition of respect in Jiu-Jitsu come from? Those of you who know a little about Jiu-Jitsu history know that the roots of Gracie Barra Jiu-Jitsu come from the original Japanese schools of ju-jitsu and judo. In those early schools of ju-jitsu (common spelling in Japan) that the Masters were frequently not making much money from teaching and the teacher – student relationship was based upon the desire to share knowledge and to learn from the master. Students would pay their respect to their teacher by helping out to maintain the dojo. This is a tradition that is continued today in some Jiu-Jitsu schools where students clean the mats after class.
The founder of Judo, Dr. Jigoro Kano saw martial arts as a way to preserve the knowledge of the samurai and as a means of cultural preservation after a period of great cultural upheaval in Japan. Kano’s vision included Judo as part of the education system in Japan. A means of character development through training martial arts. These origins implanted the importance for respect in the students in Jiu-Jitsu from the very beginning.
Respect for the art. We recognize that “we all stand on the shoulders of giants” in that we owe acknowledgment to the great masters of Jiu-Jitsu who created and developed the art that we love, through decades of hard work and sweat. In Gracie Barra schools, there are photos on the wall of Grand Master Carlos Gracie Sr. and Master Carlos Gracie Jr. Part of the class ritual is a bow of respect to the images of the founders of Gracie Barra. In this symbolic act we connect to the origins of Jiu-Jitsu and respect the creators and innovators that made this all possible.
The relationship of instructor and student is based on mutual respect between the two. The instructor respects the open attitude, the hard work and sweat of the student. The student in turn respects the knowledge and experience of the instructor and respects the rules of the school. These instructor-student relationships can endure decades and be among the most meaningful relationships in a person’s life.
How do you see the role of respect in Jiu-Jitsu?