The picture and quote attached to this article was being shared around Facebook today. It caught my attention because it speaks to the core of real self-defense in our modern society. The quote may speak of how men should be treating the "special" women in their lives, but the message goes much deeper. The quote illustrates the type of respect and dignity we should be treating everyone in our lives with, if we call ourselves martial artists.
In the martial arts we are taught, or should be, that we are to show respect "to our juniors and seniors". Often times this lesson is glossed over, it is assumed that everyone knows what the word "respect" means and how to live the word. This in not the case. Modern media, be it music or television and film, has eroded the current generation's understanding of "respect".
Looking closely at the quote, Tom Hiddleston's words illuminate the real meaning of "Respect". His quote may be focused on women and those "special" women in our lives, but the concept can, and should, be applied to everyone in our lives. If you really want to show respect for someone, start by showing them that they matter. Help them see the value they bring to you and into your life. Make sure your words echo their value to you. Speak goodness and love into your relationship with them. Words have great power, make sure your words to them serve to lift them up, not break them down.
These actions and words of respect should be your priority. Always strive to preserve and uphold their dignity, make that person you hold in respect feel as though they are royalty. These are things we should be learning to do as martial artists, learning to live in a way that builds others up, demonstrates respect for our fellow humans and creates a more peaceful and healthy environment for all. Good self-defense begins with the ability to show true respect for others.