Whether it is AYSO Soccer or Little League Baseball, the first lesson we are all taught is to be a Good Sport. This means shaking hands after a game, playing by the rules, and congratulating the other team for their good effort. Why? Because nobody wants to play with a poor sport.
The same goes for combative sports. Touching gloves begins a fight. It is your way as the fighter to tell all who are watching that it is an honor to be there and it tells your opponent that you are ready to begin.
If you truly love the sport and truly love competing, you put in the effort for months and months or sometimes years ahead of time. You watch videos of your opponent’s style, you have a coaching team that helps you understand each competitor’s holes in their game, and you make sure that your body is in such amazing shape that you don’t gas out. Yes, most of this is so that you will win, but in the art of fighting, it’s also to show your opponent that you believe in them and respect their hard work to get where they are.
Watching the fight on Saturday between Ronda Rousey and Holly Holm, I thought about the fact that Ronda didn’t touch gloves with Holly. Not for the reason that Holm would be effected by it, because she clearly wasn’t…in fact, it seemed Ronda needed to do that more to convince herself that she had effectively intimidated her opponent–which clearly she had not…
No, rather, the reason I couldn’t stop thinking about it is because of the respect I have for athletes and fighters. If any of you have done a sport…specifically Martial Arts or boxing, you realize the importance of your competition and the way you treat your competitor.