This great piece doesn’t relate to any one specific martial art, it relates to ALL martial arts.
About your Sensei. The person you refer to as Sensei is in that position for a valid reason. It seems today I hear a lot of former students or ex-black belts disrespecting their Sensei for a myriad of reasons. In order to better help you understand why a Sensei deserves your respect let me lay it out for you.
The Sensei is the one who has dedicated their life to the art they teach you. You will never have as many years of dedication in because you came after them.
The Sensei is the one who spent many days and nights opening their dojo, cleaning it, making it better…for YOU.
The Sensei is the one who has made sacrifices you will never understand just so you have a place to train, to learn and gain in your art.
The Sensei is the one who, often at great costs, has given up their free time, their family time…time they could be out doing many other things just so you can learn and train.
The Sensei is the one who has invested thousands of dollars in their own training just to learn how to teach you properly.
The Sensei is the one who has often broken bones, but still showed up to teach class. Torqued muscles, tendons and had strains but still showed up to teach class. Had a migraine, was sick, had a bad day…but still showed up to teach class. All these things are excuses why you miss class.
The Sensei often goes without so that the dojo and students will be taken care of. This means they give up having nice things at times, vacations, going out to dinner, hanging out with friends and family…all so you can learn Karate.
The Sensei has spent more time in a dojo than most of you that train with them have been alive.
The Sensei is the one who is always there for your training…
The Sensei quite often sees a need and fills a need for their students. They see that poor kid who has little of anything and needs sparring gear and they just go ahead and get it for them. They see the student who is struggling to come up with funds to buy their own weapons for Kobudo and just buys extras so they can participate. They see their adult students losing their jobs and says “Don’t worry about paying til you’re caught up”. This is the role the Sensei plays and it demands respect.
I can sit here and think of a thousand more reasons why you should never, ever disrespect your Sensei too…but, in all honesty, I shouldn’t have to. I shouldn’t have had to even write this blog…but, then again, people live in a shallow world these days. Perhaps we should step out of it, be bigger and better, and then the world will change. Respect your Sensei, take care of your Sensei, honor your Sensei…because, one day, your Sensei will no longer be around.
By Steven M Franz, Rokudan
Shorin Ryu Shorinkan