Paying Respects

Think of a martial arts fight, what images come to mind?

Immediately, you might think of someone’s head turned and face scrunched from an intense punch to the jaw. They return a crushing leg kick to their opponent’s quad. Blood spatters from a clean downward elbow. The bell rings to end the round. These two fighters are quickly separated by a judge to stop them from fighting, but then they come back together to pay respects. 

Paying respects might not be your first thought when you think about fighting or becoming a fighter, but it’s one of the very first “techniques” that you learn as a martial artist. 

Kru G’Angelo prepping for his first amateur Muay Thai fight.

What does paying respects actually mean? 

According to an online definition, “pay respects” means: 

“1. To offer (someone) a proper or formal expression of greeting, welcome, esteem, or well wishes. 

2. To offer or express one’s condolences or sympathy, particularly to someone’s family following their death.”

While the text book definition of paying respects seems straight forward, it has a deeper meaning in the martial arts world. You can see it displayed through actions rather than words. A bowed head, a bumped fist, or even challenging yourself and others when you train, are all ways we can show respects to our instructors and our tribe. 

Respect is part of your Mind, Body, and Spirit 

Respect is a willing sacrifice of the body through training and of the mind by honoring your instructors by showing integrity off the mat.

Respect is remembering to uphold the values of our teachers by maintaining We before Me. 

Respect is the tribe. (Remembering we are a tribe will help us get through the uncertain times we all face today.)

When do we pay respects at Impact?

Here are typical times to pay respects at the Academy: 

  • Before and after stepping on the mat
  • Starting and ending class with your classmates and instructor 
  • Before and after working with a classmate/opponent in the ring
  • Before and after working with a heavy bag 
  • Before and after shadowboxing 

When you pay respects, try to be conscious of the action.

Give meaning to your action. It’s as if you’re showing gratitude without speaking words.

“I’m thankful to have a clean and safe training area.”

“I’m thankful to be a part this strong Tribe of people.”

“Thank you for partnering with me and challenging me.”

“Thank you for being there for me and not complaining.” 

“I’m glad I made time to focus on myself.” 

Ate Anitamae and myself paying respects to each other after our black belt performance.

Did I miss anything? What does paying respects mean to you? Email me at, I’d love to hear your opinions or questions! 

As always stay safe, healthy, and strong.