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  • Master Angel Gonzalez

The Importance Of Honor In Martial Arts

In the modern age of mixed martial arts, where outlandish bravado and themes such as disrespect, trash talk, and ruckus are regarded as the norm, there is one distinguishable value that separates superficial martial arts from true, authentic martial arts, honor.

Honor is one of the most important values of true martial arts because it speaks directly to an individual’s core morality. It is one of the highest moral principles and all true martial artists should practice exhibiting honor throughout their martial arts journey.

Simply put, honor is the act of living out the values of respect, duty, loyalty, integrity, courage, and selflessness in everything that we do.

To conduct yourself with honor means to strive to live your life giving your absolute best in all aspects. This is an integral theme in martial arts because as martial artists, we always aim to be the best we can be and reach our full potential.

Essential to our growth and development, honor is a prevalent teaching in martial arts, passed down from generation to generation. There is a reason that martial artists bow before anything we do, and it’s to show how much we honor the past, present, and future of our discipline.

Today, the American Karate Institute shares three important reasons why having honor is essential to your martial arts training.


The knowledge and tradition of martial arts is passed down from generation to generation. It is a collective experience that has been handed down from master to student through decades and centuries. In order to hand down this knowledge, the value of honor must be prevalent.

To honor someone, such as a senior or a predecessor, is to acknowledge his journey and the achievements he has been able to garner. This is extremely important because martial arts is not just about the destination, but more about the journey.

Each one of us traverses a unique path to our full potential. By honoring this path, the trials we may face, and our innate ability to rise above adversity, we do justice to the human spirit. In the same way, we honor those who have come before us, who have traveled this path and share with us both triumph and defeat.

As a right of passage, honor allows us to not just carve our own destiny, but also to show respect to the experience of others. By exhibiting honor in everything we do, as martial artists, we are given a right of passage and the privilege to share our own journeys with the next generation.


Martial arts is a long and arduous journey, albeit one that is filled with fascinating discoveries, enlightenment, and fulfillment. Having honor means respecting this journey and not rushing the results. Everyone who has trained in martial arts wants to reach their full potential. However, true martial artists know that the journey is much more important than the destination.

One of the most important parts of respecting the journey of martial arts is constant improvement. This is a daily goal for every martial artist. By improving at least 1% each day, we make forward progress no matter the obstacles.

The truth of the matter is, our paths are latent with trials and tribulations — moments, when we feel like the hurdle in front of us, is impossible to clear. But martial arts helps us face our fears, stare down the limitations that bind us, and teach us how to shatter them. As soon as we discover that we are capable of more than we think we are, martial arts opens the door to a whole new world of possibilities.

As true martial artists, the opportunity to learn and grow never stops. It is a lifelong journey. No matter how far you have progressed, there is always room for improvement. This is the code that martial artists live by. Strive to improve every single day, and respect the journey that you are on.


Every human being is capable of achieving greatness. No matter the goal, no matter the dream, if we pour our body and souls into whatever we decide to undertake, success is only a matter of time.

In the same vein, honoring our failures is equally as important. By embracing our shortcomings, we discover areas of improvement — little nooks and crannies where we can tweak our training methods ever so slightly to improve on our weaknesses. By taking every failure and setback as a learning opportunity, we never truly fail.

This forward progress eventually brings us to who we are meant to be. By unleashing our full potential, we honor the power of martial arts and the effect it has on our lives.

Martial arts is an amazing companion in life, one that will see us achieve more than what we think we are capable of. Honor is a huge part of the journey.

As a martial artist, strive to exhibit honor in everything that you do, and the results will follow. Live by this code and carry the tradition of honor in martial arts throughout your journey. Share it with the people around you and change the world.


At the American Karate Institute, we teach a way of life. Our Miami martial arts school and MMA Classes has developed a well thought out curriculum that teaches more than just the art of self-defense. We delve deep into our students’ technique, skill set, intelligence, intuition and overall physical fitness. Contact us today if you’re interested in mixed martial arts and self-defense classes and schedule your free-trial class!

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