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Offered by Willy Strohmeier, Colorado Karate Club

There was a time when being considerate and respectful of others was the general norm. Our parents drilled it on us, our school teachers repeated it, and society reinforced it. As of late though, it may seem that courtesy may be going out of style.

Rudeness, on the other hand, appears to be catching on in many circles. From Facebook and Twitter, to the roadways, the school, and the office. No one seems able to escape it. Just the other day, our 17 year old daughter was treated to some colorful insults by a ‘lady’ who did not appreciate her driving skills (or lack thereof). And our 11 year old daughter, who was also riding along, made sure to tell us all about it… How sad it was to hear.

But being courteous does not mean that we agree with or like everyone we meet; rather, that we are kind enough to show respect, even for those who (at least in our mind), may not be deserving of it.

In his 20 principles of Karate, Gichin Funakoshi founder of modern karate – stated that Karate begins and ends with “Rei”, which is the name of the slight bow and also means respect and courtesy. Our Karate students learn therefore the importance of respect for everyone, their instructors, their peers, and even for their adversaries. More importantly though, is the fact that the kindness and respect we show for others, reflect more on our own character, than on those who receive it.

Teaching our children well about courtesy, respect, and kindness is the first step; but if we are to reverse the trend, we must all remember that courtesy is not something others must earn from us, but a gift which we ought to freely bestow on everyone we meet.

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Colorado Karate Club