There are many kinds of respect: respect for oneself, respect for others, respect for the environment, etc. To respect means “to show regard and consideration.” Respect is like a good stance while doing a Kung Fu technique: it is the base that all goodness is built upon. Out of all the different kinds of respect, self-respect is the most important. How can we treat others with respect if we do not respect ourselves?
With self-respect, we are able to stand up against obstacles, to “struggle bravely against adversity.” Without self-respect, we become hesitant, confused, and afraid. Self-respect means that we take care of our minds bodies, and spirits. It means we are centered and in touch with our qi. It means having integrity; doing the right thing even when no one else is watching. It means we are clean and have good hygiene, and keep ourselves and our surroundings organized. It means we don’t poison our bodies with drugs and alcohol.
Respect for others grows out of self-respect. It means we respect our parents or guardians, because they helped bring us into the world and teach us how to live. It means we respect the rights and properties of other people. It means we respect nature. It means we are courteous and polite with other people even if they are rude or difficult. It means we are slow to anger and quick to forgive.
The world is full of people who do things because everybody else does. They think that if they get away with lying, stealing, or cheating, it makes them clever. When you have respect, you are brave enough to do things the right way, which is usually the hard way. When you have respect, you become an example of how things SHOULD be done. Kung Fu can teach you to be strong enough to stand up for what you believe is right. It is up to YOU to become a person of good character for others to follow, not a follower of selfish and thoughtless ways that lead to dishonor.