Sean Orchard wrote:
"Sempai X" though, is a whole different ball game. "Sempai" is not an honorific, it isn't rank related, it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with teaching, and the vast majority of us practicing in the west don't do the sempai/kohai thing or even understand it.
The way dojos in the UK use "sempai" as a title, meaning "almost, but not quite, sensei" is just plain tacky. Tacky and embarassing. So there.
Actually, some schools (particularly in Karate) use Sempai as a title, meaning a "Senior", for the step between student and teacher, usually 1st and 2nd Dan.
In my opinion, if you teach, then you are Sensei, but each to there own.