Craig Pumphrey Asks Local MMA Community, “Do you show respect?”

Craig Pumphrey

Craig “The Professor” Pumphrey

During all my travels I have met a lot of powerful people and people of influence who receive respect because of the position they are in. Often times in the MMA world, and in many martial arts circles, we forget about such influence & respect. We forget the instructors we learn from have paid a price to get where they are within the art they hold rank in. No, I’m not talking about money, and I know there are dollar bill black belts out there who literally “bought” their black belts. I’m speaking about the ones who through trail & error, blood & sweat, over many years, learned the techniques required. I see students come to class and forget all about the showing of respect such as bowing before they step foot on the mats, or before entering the dojo. Showing respect to the instructors is almost a forgotten traditional sign which has been replaced with today’s modern evolution in the fighting arts. I must admit when I teach class this is not something that I demand, yet as a student moves forward in their instruction it is something an observant student should notice. So, if you are reading this and you are a student in the fighting world remember a few things: Bow before entering the dojo area, Bow to your instructors before starting your workout or class, Bow before you leave the dojo area, and Bow to your instructors at the end of your workout or class. These are universal signs of respect in Martial Arts which is simply showing respect.

The instructors we have among us are often faced with many obstacles when teaching others. They have to find out the learning curve of each person because everyone learns differently, some fast, some slow, and some really slow. You have people who are not able to physically perform some of the techniques due to certain limitations. Then you have some people who simply can’t afford to take classes and as an instructor and business owner this too is an obstacle to tackle. I have several students myself who fit many of these issues and it makes things difficult when you have a variety of students with a mixture of unique problems. There are some simple things a student can do to help when it comes to some of these issues, for example cleaning. If a student can’t afford to pay for all the classes there are things you can do to offset some of the financial dues. Show up a little early, clean the mats or dojo area before and after class, take out the trash, straighten things up, clean the kick pads, mitts etc. These are things someone does everyday and rarely do these things ever cross our minds. We show up to class, do our thing and then we leave not giving it any thought as to who had everything ready before we even got there. If you can’t afford to pay for every class simple things like that means a lot to an instructor or owner. Being thoughtful is not a natural trait you’re born with it’s a thought process that you make yourself do, and it means a lot.

Coaches work extremely hard to make fighters better and a lot of time is put into every workout/class mentally & physically. Many times the fighters get all the respect, honor & praise while the coaches, instructors & physical trainers are overlooked. For most coaches, this is okay with them and they are comfortable with being behind the scenes. They get their reward when their fighter wins a match. When the fight is over, and the workout is finished, and everyone is tired and wore out, this is when simple signs of respect go a long way. I have trained many fighters and I know when the workout is over and everyone is packing up to head home, my day is still not over. When everyone leaves I still have at least an hour or so cleaning mats, heavy bags, gloves, and equipment. Then when all this is finished I have to plan out the next class with another set of students with a whole new set of goals, strengths & weakness’. So I can tell you this, a simple sign of respect means a lot!!

The next time you go to your gym or dojo show a little respect to your coaches & instructors. If you can help clean up before or after class that would show the instructors something money can’t buy…………….Respect.

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