Have you ever been in a karate class with someone you didn’t like to work with? Perhaps that person had hit you a little too hard in a prior class, or perhaps they were so much better than you that you didn’t feel comfortable working with them.
On the other hand, have you ever noticed that someone in karate class didn’t want to work with you? Perhaps they made a gesture when they were called up to spar with you that indicated they were unhappy. Or, perhaps when selecting classmates to partner up with, you frequently don’t have anyone who comes over wanting to work with you.
There is a huge difference between being the person who is respected and the person who is feared. You want to make sure that you are capable of sparring anyone you face in class, but only up to their level. As an advanced belt, there is nothing to be gained by overwhelming an inexperienced fighter. The best fighters can dial up the intensity when needed, but can dial it down to the appropriate level of the person they are working with.
When you leave class, you want your fellow students to respect your ability, but not fear it. As instructors, we know when students are hitting too hard or are not working well with others, and we try to talk with them to help them understand that this attitude will not benefit them in the long run.
While in class, your job is to learn and improve your skills. You accomplish this by working together with your fellow students. You support them, and they support you. Working effectively with your fellow classmates, you learn the skills you will need to become an advanced belt. If you are not working well with your fellow students, you are not helping them to learn and thus you are not showing everyone that you have developed the skills necessary to be an advanced rank. Skills like focus and control, patience, being able to instruct and helping your fellow students are requirements to achieve upper ranks in karate.
So, be mindful of how you work with your fellow students. Be mindful of how hard you are hitting and if you are a productive member of class.
Bullies are feared. Warriors are respected.
The true martial artist will be a warrior and not a bully!