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Old 07-24-2006, 07:13 AM   #18
Rocky Izumi
Dojo: GUST Aikido Club
Location: Salwa, Kuwait
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 381
Re: Financial Obligations and Sensei

Nice to hear from you Peter. I would like to add one thing to what you wrote. I don't think that there has been as much change in etiquette from the past to now as many people feel, except perhaps, in the intensity. I suppose that in common etiquette between strangers the relationships are bound by contractual obligations but anyone doing business internationally knows that contractual relationships mean nothing out here in the wild world. It is still run by under the parametres of good "business" and "interpersonal" etiquette. This, I think, does not change between what is good business etiquette and good budo etiquette. It all seems to turn of simple common sense. I Sensei of a Dojo has a real responsibility to his/her students because they are teaching something that can change their entire life or get the killed. Just like with parents who have total responsibility for their children. Due to that responsibility of the Sensei/parent, the student/child must have a corresponding responsibility back. The student/child does not have the resources/knowledge of the Sensei/parent so they cannot recriprocate to the same level and the responsibility is spread over all the students/children. Some students/children do not participate in the responsibility to the Sensei/parent. It is not up to the Sensei/parent to intervene but up to the other students/children since it is their combined responsibilties which one or more may be shirking. Eldest son/daughter, Dai-sempai may have to intervene if the other siblings are quarelling but hopefully the Sensei/parents don't have to intervene or all the students/children must pay the penalty of taking the lessons all over again. But hopefully, the Sensei/parent doesn't point out one particular student/child to punish for the lack of learning a lesson since really, it is the fault of the Sensei/parent if the student/child never really learned the lesson.

Taking care of a visiting instructor is just that. The responsibility for the dojo/family/business never leaves the Sensei/Parent/President. The visiting instructor is just that . . . a guest. So they should be treated as a guest. No one invites someone to dinner and forces them to pay for their own dinner. Likewise, no would invite an instructor to teach a seminar, then expect them to pay for any of their expenses. At the same time, as a guest, the visiting instructor must be careful not to impose on the Sensei/Parent/President so he/she will try to be at the beck-and-call of the hosts. If the hosts want you to try a food you hate, you still have to eat it like you relish it or you will offend the hosts. The only way to get out of something like that is to plead doctor's orders. So, if you plan for the visitor to teach 20 hours a day during the seminar, the visiting instructor will have to try and comply the first time. However, they may always find excuses to not visit you ever again if you treat them that way. The same would apply for honorariums and any other way you treat the visiting instructor. The only reasons they would come back if mistreated is if they felt they had some responsibility to you or if they simply enjoyed themselves so much that they wanted to come back. That includes honorariums and such.

On the payment of fees, if someone does a favour for you and you feel you owe them something, it would be a very crass person who goes up and asks that friend how much want for their service. If it is true friend or even a good business relation, they would just say, "well, give me whatever you think it is worth or whatever you can afford." If it is someone who comes up to you and says that you, their friend, owes them so many dollars for the favour, you would probably lose them as a friend or business relationship very quickly. For sure, you would never trust them again and never ask them give you a hand ever again. So, a visiting instructor should never ask or mention money for their assistance. That would be crass. At the same time, as the receiver of the favour, you know that you owe that person something, so you give them what you think is the right amount to give. That amount is determined often by what that service would be on the open market.

The same goes for good dojo etiquette, good business etiquette, good family etiquette, or simply good social etiquette. It's rather simple, really. I think people make too much of the issue and forget to simply think and use their common sense. It is that, or this world has lost sense of what is good social etiquette in general. But, I still see people behaving properly and treating each other politely so I don't think that it is a loss of good social etiquette. It seems moreso that we may have come to be able to distance ourselves from each other so that our relationships are no longer social interactions. We don't see each other as people, as individuals, so we are able to treat them as non-persons and behave towards them in a strictly contractual basis. Perhaps this dehumanisation is also why it has become so easy for some kids to go around shooting people.

I know, I am rambling. I will quit here before I really get way off topic.

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