Showing Modesty

Two teens showing modesty


The quality or state of being unassuming or moderate in the estimation of one’s abilities.

During childhood, I always loved to run races with other kids. It was fun to play and exciting to see who could be the fastest. However, there was one kid who no one ever wanted to race. Everyone seems to have known one in their own childhood. Whenever this kid wanted to play, he would tell us, “I bet I can beat you all!”. When he won, he would brag and rub it in everyone’s face. This continued all year, and eventually it got to a point where no one would race him because of his poor sportsmanship.

It’s amazing how much children can mature in one year. The next year when we started races again, he wanted to join. Remembering last year and his poor sportsmanship, no one really wanted him to race. After the dozenth time of him asking, we eventually told him he could run one race with us. No one wanted him to win, and we all agreed to run as fast as we could so he wouldn’t get a chance to brag again.

Again, he won. This time, however, there was no smug bragging, no remarks of how slowly we ran compared to him. For the first time since he began playing with us, he turned to us all, smiled, and said “Good race.”

It was mind-blowing. It had never crossed my mind before that someone could win and still have good sportsmanship. Though there were still occasions where he would show off his speed, he made an effort to stop bragging and to be less assuming in his own abilities. Even though he still won almost all the time, we were happy to let him race with us.


Modesty is a virtue that all karate students should strive for. It can be hurtful and upsetting to others if someone brags about their abilities or even worse, considers themselves superior. When a karate student is modest, they will not assume that they are the best ever. Instead, they know that they can always find something to improve. This perspective of one’s abilities is excellent for continually getting stronger and more proficient in their training.

Stephanie Rodenhiser is a 4th Degree Black Belt at Buzz Durkin’s Karate School, having trained since she was eight years old. She teaches students of all ages and especially enjoys teaching kids and adults who work hard and develop great outlooks on life.