It is your response to winning and losing that makes you a winner or a loser. ~ Harry Sheehy

Good sportsmanship is when athletes, coaches, parents and referees treat each other with respect and dignity – win or lose.  Displaying good sportsmanship is not always easy, as children and parents can often be upset or disappointed at a loss.  Learning how to accept defeat gracefully is an important skill that will serve you throughout your life.

Learning good sportsmanship is as important to your training as learning moves and techniques, and it can also be a factor in determining promotion to the next rank.

Some great tips to display good sportsmanship include:

  1. Treat others with respect – your teammates, your opponents, your instructors, the referees.
  2. Always play by the rules and be fair.
  3. Encourage your teammates and congratulate your opponents.
  4. Manners are important – shake hands, bow, say yes sir or ma’am.
  5. Accept defeat with dignity.
  6. Win gracefully.

It is important to remember that you aren’t only representing yourself, you are representing your club. If you behave badly it reflects on not only yourself, but your instructors, teammates and your parents.

Good sportsmanship can begin with small gestures and efforts, such as shaking hands with an opponent before and after a match, acknowledging the efforts of another component and accepting defeat gracefully.

It’s not acceptable to ever get angry about losing. Losing is actually a great opportunity, as it means you have been shown you need to improve. It may be what you need to push yourself harder. It’s easy to get comfortable with our skills at a certain level and sometimes we need a extra push to realise we can always keep improving.

Winning is great in that it can help motivate us and show us that you need to continue to train hard in order to be successful. In any case, win or lose, it’s very important to smile, shake your opponents hand and thank them. This will inevitably make you a great sportsman, a better Martial Artist and a better person in life.

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