Martial Arts Sportmanship

What does sportsmanship mean to you?  Displaying a great attitude to the sport you compete in, whether you win or lose? defines sportsmanship as: conduct and attitude considered as befitting participants in sports, especially fair play, courtesy, striving spirit, and grace in losing.  It looks like we both have similar definitions about Sportsmanship.

The reason why I am brining this up is because of what took place in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing during the Tae Kwon Do Bronze medal match.  Angel Matos, one of Cuba’s athletes displayed an act that is quite disappointing to the spirit of martial arts, but more importantly - the spirit of the Olympics.

Matos was disqualified from his match because he took too long getting up from the mats due to an injury.  In Olympic style TKD, rules state that a competitor can only stay down for 1 minute.  If they stay down longer, than the competitor is disqualified.  The referee ended up enforcing the rules.  Matos got upset, pushed the ref and than threw a round house kick to the refs head… making contact.  He was than escorted out of the venue and banned for life from any and all Tae Kwon Do events.  All because he disagreed with a call.  Just 8 years ago, in the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics, he had won Gold in his respected division.

Sportsmanship is taught to all athletes at a young age, and enforced as one gets older.  But, sometimes as a professional athlete one forgets the spirit of sports.  As a professional Sport Karate athlete, there were times that I got extremely frustrated about certain calls the judges made, but I never took it any further.  It’s not worth it, but more importantly, it can ruin your reputation and respect by others.

Sometimes, being a role model isn’t a choice you make, but rather a duty you perform because of your stature.  Parents are role models.  Teachers are role models.  Coaches are role models.  But so are your favorite athletes.  So, make sure you “look up” to those people who are good role models in and outside of their respected sport.

Please leave a comment

TrackBack Address.