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Mark Uttech
07-15-2008, 09:14 AM
Onegaishimasu. From time to time I read posts where someone mentions "my sensei", when it is pretty clear that there is no way that person trains regularly with that particular sensei. So my question is, what makes a sensei 'your' sensei?

In gassho,

Mark

dbotari
07-15-2008, 09:34 AM
Onegaishimasu. From time to time I read posts where someone mentions "my sensei", when it is pretty clear that there is no way that person trains regularly with that particular sensei. So my question is, what makes a sensei 'your' sensei?

In gassho,

Mark

Or to rephrase the question, if I may Mark, what makes you [insert "your" sensei's name] student?

It is my belief that the relationship is a two way street. I can't call a person "my" sensei unless they are willing to call me "their" student.

Only my opinion ,

Dan

mwible
07-15-2008, 10:03 AM
The only person i call MY sensei, is my direct instructor who has taught me sense i bagan my study of Aikido a little over 2 years ago. Joe Mcclure sensei. Sure, there are others i could label "MY" sensei; possibly the shihan who teaches in Ashland Virginia not too far away from where i live, or maybe even Sensei Roy Y. Suenaka, the Head of Wadokai Aikido. But i wouldn't address them as such, because only one person has always been there over the past 2 years to teach me Aikido, and thats Joe Sensei.

in aiki,
morgan

jennifer paige smith
07-15-2008, 12:12 PM
He is the one who is now my human 'signpost on the way'.
Now my road has more than one sign, all helping me continue on the path.

Mark Uttech
07-15-2008, 12:18 PM
Onegaishimasu. 'signpost' is a good way of putting it, since the translation for 'sensei' is "the one that goes before you"

In gassho,

Mark

Dunken Francis
07-15-2008, 04:05 PM
I think the person who teaches you your basics and starts to turn your whiteboard of a brain into a notepad for Aiki! In my case I was lucky enough to have a very senior instructor (50+ man..) who not only opened every aiki door he could for us but encouraged us to go out and seek "input" from others. A true 'Sensei' in my opinion.

Joe McParland
07-15-2008, 06:24 PM
I have learned things from people who would not have me as a student, and I have been claimed as a student by those whom I would never call "my teacher."

I have learned from people who will never know I exist, and I have learned from instructors who have taken special interest in me and I in them.

This "my" is a very strong word though. A lantern does not own the moth, a moth does not own the lantern, and neither owns the light between them; but, on the patio every night, there they all are, doing their thing quite naturally.

aikidoc
07-15-2008, 08:02 PM
Dunken: Nice soft breakfalls. I wish I were that flexible.

Shannon Frye
07-15-2008, 10:38 PM
Nicely put. Straight forward, yet so eloquent. ;)

Shannon

I have learned things from people who would not have me as a student, and I have been claimed as a student by those whom I would never call "my teacher."

I have learned from people who will never know I exist, and I have learned from instructors who have taken special interest in me and I in them.

This "my" is a very strong word though. A lantern does not own the moth, a moth does not own the lantern, and neither owns the light between them; but, on the patio every night, there they all are, doing their thing quite naturally.

lbb
07-16-2008, 09:55 AM
This "my" is a very strong word though. A lantern does not own the moth, a moth does not own the lantern, and neither owns the light between them; but, on the patio every night, there they all are, doing their thing quite naturally.
Yeah, "my" certainly does cover a spectrum of relationships. Anyone ever read The Dispossessed by Ursula LeGuin? Great book, about an anarchist, anti-propertarian society where possessive pronouns exist, but aren't really used because of the connotation of ownership. This leads to constructions like, "the hat I use," which are certainly clunky; OTOH, I wonder if phrases like "my sensei" and "my student" aren't an indication of where a clunkier but more accurate phrasing might not do well.

Joe McParland
07-16-2008, 11:01 AM
Yeah, "my" certainly does cover a spectrum of relationships. [...] OTOH, I wonder if phrases like "my sensei" and "my student" aren't an indication of where a clunkier but more accurate phrasing might not do well.

Well, in MY opinion, ... ;)

If a martial artist says "my sensei," I throw a subconscious flag and listen for more detail. I am wondering to what degree the student defines himself in terms of things, relationships, and so forth that he sees as external to himself. I wonder if I'm talking to a free thinker or if I'm talking to the unauthorized (or maybe even authorized) mouthpiece of a person or an organization. I wonder if I'm talking to You or if I'm talking to your clouds.

In contrast, a college student saying "my professor" generally doesn't elicit the same reaction, since "professor" seems less charged with guru-ism than "sensei." A college student saying "my mentor," however, may leave me wondering.

So, it's not the "my," per se; rather, it's where the "my" may point.

kidoman
07-16-2008, 01:45 PM
Mark, I believe to refer to one as "my sensei: it's meaning is much more than one that has gone before me. Also we can learn from anyone. That does not make that person my sensei. I believe "my sensei" is someone that we take an oath and or our intention is to follow and to believe in what they are doing.

I also believe the word MY is highly overused and overrated. What is important is that if you are truly Sensei' s student you and sensei will know. That's all that matters.

Kim S.
07-16-2008, 05:33 PM
If a sensei calls me his or her student, then he or she is "my sensei" and is willing to take the heat when I embarrass him or her. That is my sensei. Also, "my sensei" is any sensei in my current dojo that I regularly train under (and/or with depending on the situation).

It is also best to consider what viewpoint the Japanese culture has on a proper student/teacher relationship.

odudog
07-16-2008, 09:27 PM
My sensei is the person who gives me permission to test.

Joe McParland
07-16-2008, 09:32 PM
My sensei is the person who gives me permission to test.

Mike, you have my permission to test.

jennifer paige smith
07-16-2008, 10:57 PM
You Are! You Are!

Oh, I thought for a second the thread was "Who's your Daddy".My bad.

Joe, you got me laughing again......

Josh Reyer
07-17-2008, 12:17 AM
Yeah, "my" certainly does cover a spectrum of relationships. Anyone ever read The Dispossessed by Ursula LeGuin? Great book, about an anarchist, anti-propertarian society where possessive pronouns exist, but aren't really used because of the connotation of ownership. This leads to constructions like, "the hat I use," which are certainly clunky; OTOH, I wonder if phrases like "my sensei" and "my student" aren't an indication of where a clunkier but more accurate phrasing might not do well.

Don't think of them as "possessive pronouns", think of them as "genetive pronouns".

Walter Martindale
07-17-2008, 12:34 AM
I don't own the sensei at our dojo. hence - not "my" sensei..
or is he...

When coaching, I refer to the athletes I coach as just that - the athletes I coach, or the crew I coach, but I try to avoid "my crew" because I'm just the guy they let coach them at that particular time. They pay fees to a club to row, I'm paid to coach - who owns whom, and who owes whom a professional program?

With volunteers, it's different to some extent, but essentially, I pay dojo fees, and the organisation provides me a place to train with a volunteer who's carrying a higher rank than me, but as a volunteer, he can up stakes and leave any time he likes... So, we train, we thank him for the training and practice, and we keep coming back.

It's more complicated and at the same time more simple than that, but it's time to shut down and go for a workout.
Cheers,
Walter

Josh Reyer
07-17-2008, 02:00 AM
Jeez, folks, do you own your parents? Do you own your boss? Do you own your workplace? Yes, it's called the "possessive pronoun" but it doesn't indicate pure possession, it simply indicates association.

Discussion on whether "my" is the appropriate term for one's sensei is really diving headlong into "Aiki-bunny" territory.

SeiserL
07-17-2008, 03:27 AM
Sensei Dang Thong Phong of Tenshinkai Aikido at the Westminster Aikikai Dojo in southern California.

Because he brought me from a big old white man in a white belt to a big old white man in a black belt.

Because he had the patience and courage to teach me, I will forever be in his debt and refer to him as "my Sensei".

Mark Uttech
07-17-2008, 07:50 AM
I also believe the word MY is highly overused and overrated. What is important is that if you are truly Sensei' s student you and sensei will know. That's all that matters.

And you will study each other from both near and far.

In gassho,

Mark

lbb
07-17-2008, 08:14 AM
Discussion on whether "my" is the appropriate term for one's sensei is really diving headlong into "Aiki-bunny" territory.
Pfft. No one's telling you what to do or what to call anyone; no one's "should"ing on you. I think it's an interesting point of discussion, that's all. No need for you to be calling names.

Angela Dunn
07-17-2008, 08:24 AM
For me it has a duel meaning. Literally it is whoever is in charge of the class I am attending at that point.

However I always class the first person who taught me as My Sensei.

Joe McParland
07-17-2008, 08:41 AM
Jeez, folks, do you own your parents? Do you own your boss? Do you own your workplace? Yes, it's called the "possessive pronoun" but it doesn't indicate pure possession, it simply indicates association.

Discussion on whether "my" is the appropriate term for one's sensei is really diving headlong into "Aiki-bunny" territory.

I asked the word My
What he meant by that. Alas,
She did not answer.

It seems that words do not speak for themselves after all! ;)

Mannix Moya
07-17-2008, 08:47 AM
my sensei is Jun Carandang (the bald guy)of Manila Aikido Club/Philippine Aikikai
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v426/9MX/sensijun.jpg

cheers!

Karen Wolek
07-17-2008, 10:42 AM
The only person I call my sensei is the guy who has been teaching me aikido almost every single day for the past six years. I don't know why someone would call someone their sensei if they don't train with them regularly.

kidoman
07-17-2008, 10:51 AM
And you will study each other from both near and far.

In gassho

Mark

Absolutely,

Domo arigato

jennifer paige smith
07-17-2008, 11:45 AM
The only person I call my sensei is the guy who has been teaching me aikido almost every single day for the past six years. I don't know why someone would call someone their sensei if they don't train with them regularly.

Long-distant relationship with a commitment.

lbb
07-17-2008, 12:33 PM
Long-distant relationship with a commitment.

Friends with...no, wait, let's not go there.

Lan Powers
07-17-2008, 02:08 PM
You Are! You Are!

Oh, I thought for a second the thread was "Who's your Daddy".My bad.

Joe, you got me laughing again......

Careful Ms. Jen.....
You are painting QUITE colorful word pictures here!! ;)
Or I am just rolling around in the same old mental gutter as usual.
>shrug<
Lan

Bryan Sproles
07-17-2008, 07:36 PM
As I said in my introduction, I learned Minami-ryu JuJitsu from Jack Garrett sensei - he was my first martial arts instructor, and even though I don't train with him anymore, I would absolutely call him "my" sensei, because there was an association - I was training under him, he was the teacher.

It doesn't matter (to me) that I'm not actively training with him any more - I've decided to train in Aikido instead, and while he is an accomplished Aikidoka (4th dan, I believe), he primarily teaches JuJitsu. He really earned my respect as a great teacher, and that's why I would always call him sensei.

Very soon I hope to be starting up as a regular student with NOLA Aikido (work schedule still to be worked out), and once I start training regularly there, I feel it will be appropriate to call him "my" sensei - again, it's an association, not a possession as Mr. Reyer pointed out so succinctly.

-Bryan

Lyle Bogin
07-18-2008, 11:43 AM
When I introduced my 2 year old to Imaizumi Sensei and he welcomed him onto the mat, that sealed it. Honorary title for life.

Mato-san
07-18-2008, 11:50 AM
The guy who showed me how to do a forward roll from a seated position when I was wearing a track suit with no Aikido experience, the same guy who taught me to slice bamboo (held by tissue paper and knives) with a blunt ken. Same guy who said I will teach you to walk and then you design your own dance moves. Same guy who gave me rank on my birthday. That is someone I am proud to call "my" Sensei ,bad grammar and all! Forever in debt to an individual so giving.

dalen7
07-21-2008, 02:29 AM
The true question is who do you call your instructor? ;)

No, Im just joking around - but here is why.

As I put in another post, for us the Sensei title is not given out until 3rd dan, which is equivalent it seems to master here - (they train years here to reach that level)

My instructor is a 1st dan, so he is not 'technically' what we would call Sensei, but Sempai. (Again, as mentioned its all a matter of semantics.)

But the interesting bit is that on my ranking certificates, I have 3 signatures, and the field that says 'instructor' has my teachers instructors signature, even though I train with him only at seminars. (I suppose its because he is a Sensei and my teacher is still 'sempai'.)

My teachers name, as well as the name of another sensei is in the witness field.

Anyway, thought it was interesting that, on paper, that my instructors name was not in the instructor field. But this may actually be normal. - on a Dan test, isnt the highest ranking dans name present put in the instructors field? (In that case, if I stay in Hungary and test here, I will have one of the Japanese Shians name as my instructor I suppose.) :)

Peace

dAlen

Mato-san
07-26-2008, 11:18 AM
The true question is who do you call your instructor? ;)

No, Im just joking around - but here is why.

As I put in another post, for us the Sensei title is not given out until 3rd dan, which is equivalent it seems to master here - (they train years here to reach that level)

My instructor is a 1st dan, so he is not 'technically' what we would call Sensei, but Sempai. (Again, as mentioned its all a matter of semantics.)

But the interesting bit is that on my ranking certificates, I have 3 signatures, and the field that says 'instructor' has my teachers instructors signature, even though I train with him only at seminars. (I suppose its because he is a Sensei and my teacher is still 'sempai'.)

My teachers name, as well as the name of another sensei is in the witness field.

Anyway, thought it was interesting that, on paper, that my instructors name was not in the instructor field. But this may actually be normal. - on a Dan test, isnt the highest ranking dans name present put in the instructors field? (In that case, if I stay in Hungary and test here, I will have one of the Japanese Shians name as my instructor I suppose.) :)

Peace

dAlen
Not sure how the rest of the systems work,
I am only a custom to our dojo policy but here our 3rd dan (and anyone ranked over yourself) are sempai and the certificate has only Kancho`s name and business hanko on it, he is 7th dan, he is the only guy in the dojo refered to as Sensei. The dojo has split from a huge organisation in the past 2 years. Politics are nothing to me at this point in my Aikido venture...just learn as much as I can and honor my Aikido roots.