Many Confucian intellectuals believe that by giving respect, you can earn respect. Cause and effect. You reap what you sow. You give kindness you get kindness. Does it work like that? Let me use a popular phrase ring sport fans use when telling their Kung Fu lovers that Chinese Kung Fu doesn't work: It doesn't work that way. Proven too many times in history especially the Chinese side of mankind's story.
So since giving respect doesn't earn respect, how should we earn respect? We improve ourselves until we can show people we're strong, rich, high tech, orderly and civil.
Self improvement is something that everyone yearning for respect should do, and can do. You don't have to battle people's guns, fists or tongues to do self improvement. Leave the stressful war fighting and the cultural war to the experts if you're not one yourself. No one's going to hurt you for studying or making money... Or even better to help your people and your country. And if you're not already doing it then you're to blame if you dread the lack of respect given to you.
For Kung Fu practitioners, all the more you should work on improving your physique to the old school standards. Stay away from toxic people and ignore them if you can't. But know that you're different from your studying and money making counterparts, in that your aim for self improvement is to fight in competitions.
Yes, the other way is to FIGHT IN COMPETITIONS for respect. By winning competitions and showing your tenacity your substance in a confrontation, you win respect. This is the missing warrior spirit, not taught in school. I don't remember hearing that in the army too.
If you want to fight for respect, that is not against Chinese martial principles. Don't let people tell you it is. However you need to produce both desire and substance, the virtues are about balancing diligence with self respect, not cherry picking certain values over others.
The fundamentals of respect is self respect. Chinese people call it 自爱, self love. You have to fill your heart with self respect first. Love yourself and what you do. Love your Kung Fu and have faith in it.
The sign of many Chinese people not loving, not loyal, not having faith in Kung Fu as well as other aspects of Chinese culture, can be very negative and discouraging. In the tunnel vision the lack of self love self respect may lead to private unhappiness, but to other people it is a sign of weakness and vulnerability. Why are you doing it and identifying with it if you don't respect and love it?
When I do my forms, I show people I am proud of my Chinese Kung Fu heritage. As for me myself particularly, those weekend warrior practitioners can't tell me my stuff doesn't work. They spend all their time mugging going to cram schools for academic qualifications they can't engage me physically. Even for Western modern sports science I am better educated and experienced than them. I have tried most fitness trends that's came out, many even before they're known and accepted by the local population.
When showing people your confidence and your self respect, you are standing your ground. You put up a spiritual bonfire that you're something you're not a pushover. Your spiritual bonfire has to be physically substantial, it is not just about putting up a tough front.
Step 1. Self Respect
Step 2. Build a Respectable Image
Step 3: Fight for Respect
Respect is important to the spirit and it goes around, comes around in many ways. If people don't see you respecting yourself, they probably won't feel you're worth respecting because you lack that spiritual foundation. If you respect people but is not respectable yourself, you can't expect respect from others. And there's the very precious respect that can only be fought for to win over, are you ready to fight?
Respect Among Chinese People
Are most Chinese people good at respecting others? Do they show interest in other people's activities and strengths, that they pay attention to them and praise them? I've stated in my previous articles that most Chinese children and parents are brought up to be tight lipped with praises, yet chant 'respect' all the time. If you're spiritually closed and do not want to interact with people positively, you're most likely not emanating much respect yourself like the millenia old moral textbooks say you should.
There is the class divide. Upper class, middle class, lower class. Most Chinese people are status conscious. Branded fashion. German cars. Japanese fine dining. Holding white collar workers in high regard and blue collar workers and service staff in lower regard.
'Mummy, I want to be a degree holder to make our family proud. I don't want people to see us selling food, frying noodles.'
'Daughter, marry a rich man so you no longer need to suffer the tough life of our lowly educated fruit seller family.'
It is evident that Chinese society needs much more respect among themselves. Food and agriculture workers and blue collar workers should not be looking down on their own professions. The middle class and upper class should similarly respect these workers for their role in the country's economy and infrastructure.
Now that I have highlighted the various areas that needs more respect, let us work on it, within ourselves, and outward to the people we interact with in daily life.
Article By Leroy Kwok