The BKF Four Nations Championships 2019 is nearly upon us. Between the 25th-26th, Britain’s most talented competitors will be under one roof battling it out under WKF rules. Karate fans will be able to witness talent at all ages, from as young as seven all the way up to senior and veteran teams.

Events like this go beyond showcasing karate and all its benefits. They also help reinforce something that is prevalent in karate at its foundation - respect and self-discipline.

Respect and karate

Respect is one of the cornerstone life skills. Without it firmly cemented in our lives, getting along with others isn’t easy. This skill is all about taking someone else’s feelings, needs, thoughts, and ideas into consideration. It means placing value on the people, places, and things around us - including ourselves. When dealing with inevitable confrontations and disagreements in life, you take the position of others into account.

Karate encompasses these values and builds them from the first day you begin. When you start to show self-respect and see your own value, self-discipline naturally follows. This is real power - in and out of karate.

What better way to show the world these values than through humble competition. That is exactly what the BKF Four Nations Championships is.

The importance of bowing

Every match begins with a bow towards their competitor. It is a symbol of deep respect for their willingness to compete and their knowledge, skill, and rank - regardless of your own. This shows the audience that karate doesn’t cultivate fighting culture. Far from it. Instead, it fosters an environment and space for respect towards those around you.

Ranking system

Differing ranks in skill and experience between practitioners doesn’t stop the flow of respect. When kids first start to learn karate, they are taught that not everyone is the same but still demand respect. It’s still given regardless of rank, age, gender, height, or various other factors that make us all different. In this way, karate teaches us to respect and celebrate our differences as human beings.

Humility and competing to grow

The fact that nobody can win every match reminds us of the importance humility plays in respecting ourselves and those around us. Karate sees losing and failure as a vital part of personal development and encourages humility no matter the result.

If you’re watching the upcoming BKF Four Nations Championships 2019, look at how respect underpins the entire competition and how it encourages us to learn from our own, and each other's, mistakes - leading to better performance and more meaningful lives.

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