08-06-2000, 08:09 PM
Several things have been written lately about Sempai-Kohai relationships; some not too nice, and unfortunately true…but I'd like to say something positive. I have not been training for very long, and lately have hit a few sempai who've helped me practice getting along with difficult people more than I like, but for the most part they have been wonderful. Those men and women took extra time, often out of their own training or time with their families, to help me. There is not a single technique (in my admittedly limited repertoire) that is not associated in my head with one or several sempai. Some, like ikkyo, have so many attached to each little nuance that I can almost recount all my seniors just in moving through that technique---it's like a living, growing scrapbook. The same can be said for seminars, where luckily I often get seniors' help, and instructor's pointers. I do try to move around a room, so no senior gets 'stuck' with me more than once, and find most yudansha are more than happy to go slow with a short white-belt on Sunday mornings :). On the days that I find it difficult to get along with 'difficult people', I also remind myself that everyone, including sempai, is human and I may just be the difficult person they are trying to tolerate at the moment.
I too, have yet to run into a sempai that has not been totally helpful to this teenage (and quite incoherent) white belt. Without them, I would be nothing...